Some readers might think that backing off with a plea of “I’m not great with sake…” and asking for a sugary cocktail instead is the height of femininity, but the author remarks that this is so yesterday as a technique to attract the gentlemen.
Mayumi Eguchi has been writing about sake for 20 years, and claims that it has become increasingly popular among women in the last few. She believes that one factor is the changing of the guard at breweries, with younger successors stepping up to replace their retiring parents and producing more experimental styles.
Her new project in collaboration with illustrator “Haruko” is a manga titled 酒と恋には酔って然るべき (Sake to Koi ha Yotte Shikarubeki, “It’s Only Natural to get Drunk on Sake and Love”). It centres on Matsuko, a 32 year old single OL [office lady, kind of a general-purpose secretary?] who isn’t shy about her love for sake. It’s both a modern love story (with a slightly sadistic and not immediately obviously interested junior at work who also drinks sake, where the moral is that in a world of increasingly indecisive men it’s the right time for women to make the first move) [#japanesesocialproblems] and a parade of the sake brands the heroine encounters.
Matsuko collects one-cup sake, the small 180 ml glass containers with pull-off lids. These are often seen as drinks for older men [the equivalent of picking up a can of lager with your lunch?] but it’s a format served by many a famous label. Pro tip – it’s also incredibly convenient for popping into the microwave when you want o-kan (heated sake).
The first chapter features the Suehiro brewery and their one-cup sake named for the famed scientist Hideyo Noguchi from the sake-producing region of Aizu in Fukushima Prefecture, and later chapters showcase Aramasa’s No. 6 (see Failed author turns “Steve Jobs” of sake) and the Kiyashō brewery’s Jikon tokubetsu junmai.