A Sip of Sake is China’s first documentary series focusing on Japanese Sake co-created by Qiyi Culture Communication and PINOR. I have recently finished watching this series and want to share some of my thoughts.
I watched the first season about sake where they mainly introduced breweries from Kyoto and Nara. The episodes that caught my attention where the first and the second ones which were about Aoi Tayu and the “birthplace” of sake: Shourekiji (正曆寺).
This is my first time to learn about “Tayu“(太夫). Geisha are divided into classes (ranks) just like every other aspect of the society, including: Geigi(芸妓), Geiko(芸子) ,Oiran(花魁) and Tayu(太夫). Only Tayu were allowed to to perform at the most prestigious families houses in old times. Tayu has the highest rank in Kyoto’s geisha culture and are the rarest kind. There were only 5 Tayu in the past 150 years. Aoi Tayu, who was introduced in this documentary, is the youngest Tayu. Her elegant demeanor definitely put everyone to shame … Teeth Blackening was practiced in Japan traditionally and Aoi Tayu is of no exception – she said it was a ritual to her and showing her respect to the audience.
The second episode was about Shourekiji (正曆寺) in Nara, which is also known as (one of) the birthplace of sake. Sake is actually related to Huangjiu (黄酒; Literally means “yellow wine”) in China. No doubt both Chinese and Japanese LOVE their rice wines! Koji (mold used to ferment sake) did not exist back in the times and that’s why in the movie Your Name there were Kuchikamizake (口噛み酒). They were made from people chewing the sake. Sounds gross but hey, it’s a way for fermentation!
I myself preferred the Aoi Tayu series of sake introduced in the documentary. This collab sure looks like something that would sell – I sure hope I do get a chance to taste this sake!
All in all, the other episodes of this documentary did not really leave a great impression to me, but it is still quite worth your time considering all the knowledge I learnt from watching it. The first two seasons are aired already and the third season is under production. If you are interested in learning more about sake, definitely do not miss this documentary “A sip of SAKE”!