KANPAI NY A Celebration of Japanese Food, Drinks and Culture!
Kindness to Oni Day
In 2011, we started a new holiday in response to Setsubun called Kindness to Oni Day. Seven days (one week) after Setsubun (Feb 3rd), we celebrate Kindness to Oni Day (Feb 10th), and invite the oni in from the cold to share a cup of hot tea or sake. Because, after all, perhaps oni are really misunderstood creatures! Although meant as a fun concept, it is also meant to be an opportunity to think about and discuss the idea of forgiveness and reconciliation, and working to build a dialog with (and understanding of) those who are different from us. We don't think the holiday has caught on yet, but we'll keep trying!
We Love Yumiko Kayukawa
In 2011, we asked artist Yumiko Kayukawa if we could use images from her amazing body of work on our homepage as the "monthly image". Luckily for us she agreed, and soon a special collaboration was underway. The goal was to not only add an amazing image to our newly re-designed homepage, but more importantly, to introduce our readers to Yumiko's special and important work. It's worth noting that all of the images are paintings from her body of work (2006-present), and were created for her 20 solo exhibitions (and dozens of group exhibitions) over the years. When we added the first image to the homepage (in February 2011), we needed to credit Yumiko, and thought it would be more impactful (and also more "kawaii") to add "We Love" before her name, and "We Love Yumiko Kayukawa" has been on the homepage ever since. For us, the "project" aspect is to find the perfect image, which matches the month (or at least the season) each month. Each image has a link to Yumiko's website, so make sure you click the image and learn more about her work!
My Sake Cup
In 2011, we interviewed sake brewery owner Naotaka Miyasaka of Miyasaka Brewing Company (the maker of Masumi) for our 5 Questions interview series. His thoughtful and humorous description of his favorite sake cup helped to inspire our My Sake Cup project, in which we ask sake industry professionals to tell us about their favorite sake cup. Ultimately, we hope to compile the answers into a book sometime in the future.
In March 2015, we looked out the window on a snowy day and were inspired to write some haiku, which we started posting on our Twitter page (and then on our blog page). We wrote dozens of haiku throughout the late Winter, Spring, and Summer, describing our observations of the animals, plants, weather, and the natural world. Our goal is to write haiku throughout the year, documenting the changing of the seasons. We hope to compile the haiku into a book at some point in the future.
In April 2015, we launched a new feature/page called We Love, in which we write about aspects of Japanese culture that we love (or at least feel are important to write about), every week (once a week), with a theme each month. Before writing about our first topic (sakura), we compiled a list of all of the aspects of Japanese culture that we love, and then organized the list into a specific order, categorized by "themes". Although we introduce each topic once a week, we actually have more than a year's worth of topics ready to be written about! We hope to compile We Love into a book at some point in the future.
In April 2015, we asked sake bewery executives Keith Norum (Masumi/Miyasaka) and Hisashi Kobayashi (Musashino Shuzo) to take some photos of life in and around their sake breweries in Nagano and Niigata for our new photos page, and both agreed to be contributors to the site. The first photo that we received was a photo of an ume tree in front of Masumi/Miyasaka (from Keith), and the page was soon underway! The goal of the project is to feature (new) photos of Japanese life and culture around the world in a photo blog format, with contributors in both the U.S. and Japan (and eventually other countries). Each photo is posted in chronological order, with the photographer's name, location, date, and time.
The Seven Sake
In July 2015, in honor of the seventh month, and inspired by Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai, we introduced The Seven Sake - Seven essential sake for every sake list. When selecting The Seven Sake, the goal was to find seven important and relatively easy to find sake, representing different styles and flavors of sake (and coming from different prefectures). Although just seven sake, The Seven Sake includes junmai daiginjo, junmai ginjo, ginjo, junmai, kimoto, yamahai, nigori, genshu, namachozo, and namazake from six prefectures. The Seven Sake is designed as a fun way to think about and promote sake. We will update The Seven Sake annually in July.
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