On Sunday 3/11, the one-year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami in Northern Japan, Yoko and I helped organize a cross-cultural exchange between bartenders from Japan and San Francisco. Held at Prizefighter Bar in Emeryville, it was an intimate gathering of old friends, and new.
Tomokazu Kai (Heuga Bar) and Masako Ikegami (Bar Shake) had won a bartending competition in Tokyo, and their prize was a trip to NYC, SF and Vegas. Neyah White, ambassador of Yamazaki Whisky envisioned an event -- much like a 'salon' of the 17th-18th century Europe -- that would bring together these bartenders with his Bay Area colleagues, to share knowledge and exchange new techniques and ideas.
And indeed this turned out to be an afternoon of cultural knowledge exchange. Kai-san and Masako-san from Japan, along with four SF bartenders (Jon Santer; Ryan Fitzgerald; Thad Vogler; Jeff Hollinger) made and presented their own signature drinks, all while talking about its history, evolution, and techniques of how they are made.
Please take a look at a slideshow of the afternoon, with photos by Umamimart's own Erin Gleeson. For captions, please enlarge the slideshow (bottom right corner) and click on "Show Info" on the top right corner. If you are on an iPad or iPhone, please access the photo gallery here.
Many thanks to Neyah White, Satoru Shimizu, Jon Santer, Dylan O'Brien, Joe Stillwater, Johnny Lopes, Erin Gleeson, and Yoko Kumano's righteous Japanese-English skillz. Thanks to all the guests for joining us! We look forward to doing this again soon.
*Top photo by Erin Gleeson.