Living in a time when we can fill our life with almost limitless information, some find it hard to enjoy a quality rest-time. In Japan, this may be one of the reasons why relaxing daily activities like going to the sauna has become popular among Japanese who are generally known for leading a busy city life. Other Japanese traditions like Japanese tea appreciation is now also considered a way for one to slow down in a peaceful mindspace.
In fact, the same can be said about Japanese sake - although some might believe that Japanese sake, a lot of which is strong in alcohol, is a beverage targeting heavy drinkers, we want to propose a different approach to Japanese sake that can open our eyes - our other senses even - to the possibility that sake is a drink just as appropriate for a relaxing time.
We may all be familiar with the idea of food pairing - this time, on top of a delicious treat, what if we also add in some ambient music?
The true essence of Japanese sake
Way back in the past, Japanese sake was mainly made only with rice and water, and thus earned the name pure-rice sake (Junmai-shu). However, it was since the Meiji era that brewers began to add brewer's alcohol into the sake as a way to reduce their manufacturing cost in the face of a rise in liquor tax.
From then on, Japanese sake, especially those readily available in common Japanese-style pubs, was gradually considered a beverage for heavy drinkers. But as we all know, nowadays the variety of Japanese sake has been largely expanded, offering even low-alcohol and fruity-taste options, which contributed to the popularity of Japanese sake in the mainstream market.
The Genuine Charisma of Japanese Sake and Ambient Music
Given that ambient music is a genre of music containing melody that enhances a cozy atmosphere, it has been said that listening to ambient music can even help raise one's concentration and imagination.
Just as how we naturally feel refreshed from the moment we hear the "whoosh" sound while opening a can of beer, we can then imagine how to enrich our sake experience with the element of music as well.
One may say that this works especially well for sake since it is a beverage that promises different phases of changes in flavor - imagine submerging ourselves in the smell and taste of the rich, fruity aroma as we take the first sip, while also taking the time to cherish the aftertaste while having ourselves surrounded in the calm atmosphere created with an ambient music track...
Why not even choose a track that can remind you of, or, allow you to imagine the climate and mood of the origin of that particular sake?
At the same time, one can choose to enjoy your sake not in a chilled state, but rather in a normal or even heated up temperature to enjoy the special lingering taste of sake. One of our most popular Japanese sake, "Hotto", is a good example of how some sake is especially appropriate to be enjoyed as a hot drink. It is interesting how hot sake like "Hotto" promises a completely different drinking experience - you can almost feel like the aroma and the warmth it brings can gently grow in your body from the inside out. Imagine what a nice track of ambient music can add to that!
A Unique Combination of Sound and Taste
It's not difficult to recall how, when we take in a particular kind of food, our meal experience is associated with the unique type of sound we naturally make during the meal. Some common examples can be when we are having a bite of some fresh vegetables, or a fried dish like tempura, or the sound of steak sauce being poured onto a hot plate... Just the thought of the sound alone can easily make our mouth water!
It is not surprising, then, that there are in fact specialists who dedicate their work in understanding how sound impacts our sense of taste. Results from these studies reveal that eating with loud music on can make food tastes less salty or sweet - a conclusion that proves useful to flight companies which then decide to adjust the taste of their flight meals while taking the impact of the flight's engine sound into consideration.
Even from our own personal experience, it is not hard to acknowledge the potential impact that music and sound can bring to our dining table. Next time when you are enjoying a cup of well-made Japanese sake, why not consider adding some more flavor with a track of ambient music of your choice?