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 Melinda Joe

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Melinda Joe
Melinda Joe is an American journalist in Tokyo. A certified wine and sake professional, she writes about Japanese drinks in her Kanpai Culture column for The Japan Times and blogs at tokyodrinkingglass.blogspot.com.
For Melinda Joe's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Virgilio Martinez (left) and Santiago Fernandez, head chef at Tokyo's Maz, are finding massive success bringing elevated Latin American cuisine to Japanese diners.
LIFE / Food & Drink
Feb 18, 2024
At two-starred Maz, ‘the experience extends beyond the meal’
“We see Maz as a kind of ‘culture house’ for Latin America in Japan,” says head chef Santiago Fernandez.
A native of Seoul who grew up in Shanghai, Hana Yoon moved to New York to attend the prestigious Culinary Institute of America when she was 20 years old.
LIFE / Food & Drink
Feb 4, 2024
In Japan’s age-old capital, a young head chef stirs the pot
Upon her arrival in Kyoto, Yoon spent four months delving into the distinctive varieties of “kyōyasai,” vegetables grown in Kyoto and its suburbs.
What's old in Tokyo libations is new again at Heiwa Doburoku Kabutocho Brewery, where sake's cloudy, rustic predecessor takes center stage.
LIFE / Food & Drink / Kanpai Culture
Dec 24, 2023
At 2023’s close, Tokyo bars enter a new golden age
This year’s cocktail trends offer a spirit-forward reflection on the past as well as glimpses of the future.
Hidenori Izaki, one-time winner of the World Barista Championship, brings coffee to new heights at Cokuun.
LIFE / Food & Drink
Nov 26, 2023
Tasting the 'Zen of coffee' at speakeasy-esque Cokuun
Drawing inspiration from fine dining and tea ceremony, Hidenori Izaki brews coffee with exceptional hospitality and speakeasy-style mystique.
Blue Bottle Studio Kyoto's tasting sessions combine excellent coffees, curated music and a technical display of barista-ship.
LIFE / Food & Drink
Nov 26, 2023
Blue Bottle Kyoto gives coffee the 'kaiseki' treatment
The menu unfolds with each course crafted to present a different facet of coffee culture.
The Chairman's steamed flower crab with aged Shaoxing wine and chicken oil
LIFE / Food & Drink
Nov 5, 2023
Seeking 'the perfect combination of Chinese and French cuisine'
Chefs Daniel Calvert and Danny Yip are old friends, but for the first time this month, they're collaborators.
Fumiyuki Kinsu (left) and Shun Sato are the driving forces behind Censu's wine-loving approach to Japanese cuisine.
LIFE / Food & Drink
Oct 8, 2023
Censu: An izakaya where wine outshines beer and sake
Censu’s eclectic cuisine is rooted in Japanese culinary vernacular but takes in the breadth of chef Shun Sato’s diverse experiences abroad.
The refined fusion cuisine at Toki reflects the delicacy of Kyoto’s famous kaiseki (multicourse Japanese haute cuisine).
LIFE / Food & Drink
Sep 17, 2023
Does whisky have a place in Kyoto's fine dining? Hibiki says yes.
My meal opens with a sparkling mix of soda and Hibiki Blossom Harmony, a blend finished with grain spirit aged in cherrywood casks.
At the inaugural World Lambrusco Day held this June, the sparkling wine took center stage beneath the Eiffel Tower.
LIFE / Food & Drink
Aug 20, 2023
Passe or sparkling, Lambrusco can get you through a Tokyo summer
Fizzy, fruity and tantalizingly affordable, the sparkling red wine from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region is a convivial antidote to the summertime blues.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KANPAI CULTURE
Jun 25, 2023
Life is beautiful with libations from Bulgari Bar
The cocktail menu designed by bar manager Andrea Minarelli showcases spirits from Italy and Japan.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KANPAI CULTURE
May 21, 2023
Bobby’s Free pop-up mixes fresh Barcelonian and Prohibition creations
Open through July 10, this Catalan watering hole spices up Ichigaya nights.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KANPAI CULTURE
Feb 28, 2023
Celebrated chef Natsuko Shoji's vie en rose
Fresh from the achievement of being named Asia’s best female chef last year, Natsuko Shoji wows diners with an adventure into the world of Dom Perignon Rose.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KANPAI CULTURE
Dec 11, 2022
The Okinawans helping black kōji to thrive
Nearly destroyed during the destruction of World War II, the enigmatic mold central to awamori lives on.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KANPAI CULTURE
Oct 23, 2022
Virtu’s new master mixer looking to shake and stir up the classics
After stints in Bermuda, Seoul and Beijing, bartender Keith Motsi has come to Tokyo.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KANPAI CULTURE
Sep 18, 2022
Ash's cocktails and coffee lack a major element: waste
Shibuya has no shortage of watering holes, but how many source ingredients from the leftovers of other bars and restaurants?
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KANPAI CULTURE
Jul 17, 2022
Drinks first: Reverse engineering the traditional pairing menu
Who says bartenders have to play second fiddle in the pairing menu business?
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
May 22, 2022
Award-winning alchemical delights at Japan’s best bar
Fresh off being named Japanu2019s top spot for a tipple, Ben Fiddich and its imaginative owner have much more planned than just the next top-shelf drink.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KANPAI CULTURE
May 15, 2022
Make rice, not war: Chefs and brewers cook for Ukraine
Some of Japanu2019s top chefs, brewers and distillers came together to support Ukraine with nothing more than rice and seaweed.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KANPAI CULTURE
Apr 12, 2022
Sake springs eternal at Yumegokoro Shuzo
Welcome in the season with warmer weather, longer days and sake as fresh as a sea breeze.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KANPAI CULTURE
Feb 12, 2022
Tour Japan's luxury ryokan without stepping a foot outside of Tokyo
The "Essence of Japan" series brings several "okami," the female proprietor of a traditional inn, from across the country to act as guides to regional specialties.

Longform

Hideo Shimoju points to a possible site that his fellow neighbors may relocate to. Such relocations have happened before, but not preemptively.
In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves