News site carries a press release for a new book written by an International Kikizake-shi [a qualification from the Sake Service Institute somewhere in the region of “sake sommelier”, although there’s another qualification with that name] who allegedly loves sake so much that when she drinks too much she ends up talking about sake in English.

And she released a book about it on 8 December 2020, titled Nihonshu Otaku no Horoyoi Eigo [日本酒オタクのほろ酔い英語, Tipsy English for Sake Otaku].

The book promises to expand horizons by enabling readers to express the appeal of sake in English, thanks to communication tips from an International Kikizake-shi.

The book is part of the affordable and accessible EJ Shinsho e-book series from established language education publisher ALC. The books are based on special editions of their monthly magazine English Journal or popular columns from its companion English Journal Online, which are aimed at English learners at a range of levels.

There are a few things that Japanese people always find themselves asked about when they meet foreigners. It’s natural to want to know more about your friends and the country they come from. So even if you can speak English it’s hard to keep things going if you can’t talk about Japan itself.*

Why not talk about sake?

In the book, ultimate nihonshu otaku and qualified International Kikizake-shi and sake educator Ayumi Fujishiro imparts basic sake knowledge and English expressions to introduce sake to others. The book is recommended for anyone who likes alcohol, is interested in working with English or practicing their English. You can practice your English, learn about your own Japanese culture and how to use it as a topic of conversation – why not do all that while enjoying some sake?

The book covers:

  • The differences between sake and wine and how to explain sake in English to non-Japanese
  • The expression horoyoi [ほろ酔い, tipsy, slightly drunk in a pleasant way] in English and explaining the different types of Japanese alcoholic drinks
  • Why you shouldn’t talk about ‘smell’ and expressions for the aromas and flavours of sake
  • The popularity of sake overseas and figuring out what type of sake non-Japanese like
  • The work of an internationally active sake pro who uses English, the International Kikizake-shi
  • Explaining sake drinking temperatures such as yuki-bie or hana-bie in English
  • Expressions for kyūkanbi [days to rest your liver/stay off alcohol], “Drink responsibly” to enjoy sake
  • What to call shōchū in English and learning about drinks all around the world in English
  • Explanation of difficult sake terminology that not even pro interpreters know**

Author Ayumi Fujishiro (born 1989 in Tokyo) graduated from the Dramatic Arts Course, Faculty of Arts and Letters at Kyoritsu Women’s University and qualified as an International Kikizake-shi and sake educator with the Sake Service Institute. She works with IPPIN PTE LTD to import, sell and distribute sake, and to develop the groundbreaking sake TO GO service that delivers within the hour to anywhere in Singapore. She has also worked on popularising sake in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and India. Her favourite manga is If My Favourite Pop Idol Made It To The Budokan I Would Die by Auri Hirao.

The book was published on 8 December 2020 and costs JPY 550 including tax, available as an Amazon Kindle ebook only.


*A rather blatant “we see your anxieties and we’re going to poke them” move. Japanese marketing isn’t particularly subtle in my experience.

**Curious about this one. You can be an amazing professional interpreter and still not know a specialist area (like sake). Pro interpreters accept this as a matter of course – knowing a language inside out doesn’t mean you know every specialist area – so it feels like hype.

I’m more likely to pick this book up than the one in the last review I looked at (What the Business Elite Know about Sake as Culture), if only to see what English is being suggested, although the marketing is off-putting as usual.


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