The Niigata Business Journal features a new (to me anyway) sake collaboration – novels.

Horoyoi Bunko (ほろよい文庫, “tipsy books”) has two very short novels set in the traditional sake production area of Nagaoka, presented alongside sake to drink while reading them.

Tokyo-based meet&meet and TISSUE Inc. started the project with the aim of encouraging more Japanese people to enjoy sake as one of their country’s traditional products. Pairing sake with a book, in other words packaging sake with a story, shows readers the links between sake, the place where it’s made and the people who make it.

The first stories are realistic tales of a young woman and the everyday life of a local in Nagaoka, a traditional sake production area in Niigata. The “first round” has a male narrator, where he thinks he’s met the one for him, while the “second round” follows a woman reflecting on how she feels she hasn’t arrived yet. While the two stories are separate, they’re also both love stories and so can be enjoyed on their own or even more deeply when read together.

The sake are carefully selected junmai ginjō brewed by the long-established Ofuku Shuzō in Nagaoka. The “man’s bottle” for the first round is a typical junmai ginjō with light and clear flavours, while the “woman’s bottle” for the second round is sharp with a short finish reminiscent of a Niigata winter, both chosen to accent the stories in the accompanying novels.

The sake and novel sets cost JPY 4,400 each or JPY 8,800 for the two. (Prices include tax).

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