The late Jerry Garcia, former Grateful Dead lead guitarist, was once asked in an interview if he would like to be considered a great musician. With characteristic modesty, he waved the idea off as something in which he had no interest. After a moment of thought, however, he responded: "I would like to be considered a competent musician. Yeah, competent. That would be nice."

By now you are likely glancing at the top of the page to be sure you are reading the right column. What has this to do with nihonshu? Although Jerry was not likely a big sake drinker, the issue of competence being important is the common thread.

There are all kinds of sake pubs. Rustic, stylish, mellow, wild and great value are some of the qualities prized by tipplers. And, of course, great food and great sake are almost unspoken requirements. But all we really need is a sake pub that is competent. Like Ryohana.