November 25, 2011

Shochu Stop: Shochu Advisor

by Washi Washino

shochu adviser

Hi everyone, I’m back!

Let me tell you what I was doing all this time, while neglecting this shochu column.

Two months ago, I went back to Japan to take the Shochu Advisor’s test, so I needed to concentrate on studying shochu. I did pass the test, and got the certificate. What is a Shochu Advisor? Yeah, I know, it sounds fake. Why did the Sake Service Institute make up such a silly title for shochu specialists? Nihonshu (sake) Masters are called Kiki-zake-shi in JapanKiki-zake-shi sounds so cool and serious, but even my Japanese friends don’t take “Shochu Advisor” seriously.

When I told my friends I was officially a Shochu Advisor, they just said, “Huh? What’s that? Haha! Cool cool!” Hey, just say “congratulations”, my Japanese friends! Thank you everyone for your support! Sometimes I hate the Japanese way! Just be nice! Give me a hug!

Anyway, the certificate makes me a shochu expert — like a sommelier but for shochu. I got textbooks from the Sake Service Institute in Japan two months before the test and studied for a month. I had to learn not only about shochu, but also about sake, all kinds of liquors, fermented foods, history of food culture in the world, liquor tax laws in Japan, etc. It is necessary to know the history of distilled alcohol and the difference between shochu and other spirits, and so one can understand the history of shochu and its characteristics.

When I first got the textbooks, I was very anxious. So much to study! For the first month, I avoided the books entirely — so much that I was afraid of look into my wife’s eyes, which stared at me and said, “Why aren’t you studying? If you fail…” (head shake). In fact, this mission to be a Shochu Advisor was my wife’s order. If I had not passed the exam, I would not have been able to come back to the States and face my wife!

My boss, my wife.

My examination period lasted two days, in which we took three tests, as well as seven classes (including one for tasting). It was pretty intense, because the first day would be from 10am to 9pm, and the second day was from 8:30am to 4pm. I concentrated so hard, and sat in those chairs for so long, my butt still hurts. Here is the program.

DAY 1

・Class 1: Basic knowledge and character of food and beverage (120 minutes)

・Free time to study and lunch (90 minutes)

・Test 1 (40 minutes)

・Class 2: Classification, history, indication, and manufacturing method of shochu (180 minutes)

・Free time to study (60 minutes)

・Class 3: Tasting and classification of shochu (120 minutes)

・Class 4: pairing food with shochu (60 minutes)

DAY 2

・Class 5: How to serve shochu and sell shochu seasonally (60 minutes)

・Free time to study (60 minutes)

・Test 2 (90 minutes)

・Class 6: Tasting shochu and presentation of how to serve shochu (90 minutes)

・Test 3 (60 minutes)

・Class 7: To be a professional of food and beverage (30 minutes)

・Announcement of successful applicants

diploma

After I was done, I was exhausted but also so relieved and was ready to drink. I went to a party that my friends were throwing for me and told everyone, “I became a Shochu Advisor!” They all stared at me blankly and asked, “What’s that?” Hey, just say congratulations, my friends.

friends
My NICE friends

usaya 2
Amazing dishes by Eiji-kun

pe young
After the party, I went to my one of gluttonous friend’s house and had a “Pe-young” cup yakisoba.

While I was in Japan, I had shochu just once, the night before the shochu test. After that, I drank sake mostly, because I was tired of shochu, and studying so much of it. I just wanted to drink without thinking.

I enjoyed studying shochu for this exam. I realized that all this time, I had not known anything about the drink, and was only a good drunk.

shochu shinpo
The night before the shochu test, I went to a izakaya and had some great sashimi with shochu on the rocks.

Anyway, I was glad to come back to the U.S. and to see my wife without her questioning eyes. Haha.

8 Comments

  • Anders
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Congratulations, Washi-kun!おつかれ! さすができたよ!What lies in the future now? Sake Chief? Whiskey World Champion?

    Your gluttonous friend is super hot as usual – appetizing legs on a food blog is perfect!

  • Washi
    Posted November 26, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Thanks Anders! Yeah, Hikaru-chan is getting more attractive, because now he is a dad!

  • rikadaichan
    Posted November 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Washi!
    すげー!
    I hope to see you in Berkeley next time!

  • Ben
    Posted November 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    This is hilarious!! I think you are talented to be an entertainer. By the way, you in the picture on the top look like ホリエモン。

  • Washi Washino
    Posted November 26, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks Dai-chan! Please come over to Berkeley anytime.

    Thanks Ben. Yeah, that’s true. I look like that.

  • Bryan
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Congrats Washi! Well done! Now you can help all the nerds become cool with Shochu know-how.

  • seri
    Posted December 4, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    おめでとー! アンド ウェルカムバック!
    Did you thank your ワイフ for motivating you to get the certification?

  • Scott
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Happy to stumble across your website as I was looking for places to buy Shochu! I was stationed in Sasebo, Japan from 1990-1994 in the US NAVY. Used to drink something called a Chu-hai there, which I believe was made with Shochu, Soda Water, and lime juice. Would you recommend a certain type of Shochu and name brand for me to try? I will wait for your response and am looking forward to making my own drink soon. Arigato gozaimus, and kan-pai!

One Trackback

  • By Upcoming Event: Sip + Shop: Shochu Tasting « Umami Mart on September 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    [...] guess what? Washi Washino of SHOCHU STOP will be here! He is a certified Shochu Advisor, and will be leading the conversation, and will be able to answer all your questions. As a [...]

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