Philip Harper

For Philip Harper's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Good drinks for those who wait

May 30, 2008

Good drinks for those who wait

In most sake breweries, the brewing season is over by May, a month marked by the announcement of the National New Sake Awards, the biggest public prize to which a brewer can aspire. (Those interested can taste some of the prizewinners at the National ...

Sampling an aromatic sake great

Feb 29, 2008

Sampling an aromatic sake great

The prizewinning Eikun: Kinsho-shu sake comes from Kyoto-based Saito Shuzo, the only brewery to bag the gold prize at the annual National New Sake Awards an astounding 10 years in succession. Ichigin won the accolade in 2007. The moment the cap is off, pyrotechnic ...

Daiginjo — the peak of the brewing season

Feb 29, 2008

Daiginjo — the peak of the brewing season

Look at the labels of pricier sake and you will almost certainly find the word ginjo. Meaning “brewed with particular care,” it is one of the most recognizable sake terms, and not just for nihonshu (sake) geeks. Even Japanese with no interest in the ...

Brewing sake amid a cacophony of miracles

Jan 18, 2008

Brewing sake amid a cacophony of miracles

Being a 41-year-old male puts me at the end of my yakudoshi, a period when Japanese believe all kinds of calamity are due to befall me and mine. Running to form, a family crisis meant I had to fly home to Britain on Dec. ...

Winter's the season for sake nouveau

| Nov 30, 2007

Winter's the season for sake nouveau

Sake breweries are mostly dead quiet over the summer, and are just now getting into full swing as the chilly weather makes for more brewing-friendly conditions. The kanzukuri (cold brewing) pattern of concentrating production in the coldest months of the year became mainstream in ...

Taste receptors bow to flavor god

| Jun 29, 2007

Taste receptors bow to flavor god

It used to be said that the human tongue perceived flavor in the form of four basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Then a Japanese scientist, Ikeda Kikunae (1864-1936), detected a rich, satisfying taste common to meat, cheese and Japanese dashi (stock) — ...

Different regions, different sake

| May 11, 2007

Different regions, different sake

Sake has gone global in recent years and, as might be expected, drinkers new to Japan’s signature beverage often look for parallels with more familiar tipples when choosing what to imbibe. In particular, many wine drinkers who have strayed into the sake world try ...