As the snows melt to become pure water enriching the lands in spring, it’s also the season of “rice-planting.” The view of young rice seedlings being planted in orderly lines across vast rice fields is one of Japan’s seasonal landscapes. For the next 6 months, rice farmers tirelessly nurture and protect the rice plants from disease, insect pest, and changes in weather such as typhoons. Autumn is the “rice reaping” season, when heavily laden ears of rice are harvested from their golden fields. Raised with care, Japan’s delicious rice is born from this harvest.
“Rice milling” is the process which cleans the harvested rice into luminous white grains of rice. This is an extremely critical process which decides the rice’s savor. First going through strict quality inspections, safe “rough rice” still in husks are selected, then hulled into “brown rice”. Foreign bodies and ill-formed or colored rice grains are discerned under special lights and removed by air blasts. The selected grains are then polished into white rice. Utilizing highly advanced Japanese technology, the beautiful, uniformly shaped high-quality white rice is the culminating proof of “JAPAN QUALITY”.
Beautifully polished white rice becomes the plump and shining “gohan,” or cooked rice. The staple food “gohan” is simply delicious in its sweetness, freshness and aroma. The savory taste and texture obviously matches Japanese cuisine, but also goes well with various other culinary dishes across the globe such as Western-style food, Chinese cuisine, curry, and so on. Furthermore, cooked rice is delicious even when cooled, and often enjoyed in packed lunches and onigiri (rice ball). “Gohan” is the appealing, world-class culinary style of Japan.
Sake (rice wine) production starts from first making brewer’s rice, raised only for sake. After harvesting and passing safety inspections, foreign bodies and ill-formed or colored rice are removed before selected grains are milled. The rice is steamed to make malted-rice, and then fermented to cultivate yeast. While gradually increasing production volume in several stages, the mixture goes through fermentation over a long period of time. Through the accumulation of “JAPAN QUALITY”, which includes precise climate control in sync with Japan’s four seasons, complex processes and the experience of chief sake brewers, the first drop of sake is born between 60 to 80 days after the rice is milled. “SAKE” is the result of painstaking effort, made possible only in Japan.