Today Julie and her family picked me up at the hotel and showed me a splendid day in Sendai. Her husband, Heizo, gave me a tour of his family’s sake factory; the Isawa’s have been making sake for over 300 years.
We began at the site of the older factory in Sendai, a building 150 years old, and then traveled to the newer site where he gave me an excellent tour and explained the steps in sake manufacturing. I sampled sake in various stages of fermentation, and also nibbled some processed rice.
For lunch, we ate at a Japan version of Hometown Buffet, but one with much better food. Euka helped me choose from the vast array of food; she also checked off all of my selections on a menu so I could see how much I ate. Highlights included an egg soft boiled in the onsen (hot spring) waters, and dried tofu. Thankfully, I did not have to eat any natto.
We ended the day at the family home and Wakako showed me her pet dog (Celie), hamster, bird, and fish. Heiki shared some delicious treats from Kyoto, and Euka made me some matcha tea.
A truly memorable day. I feel like old school chums with Julie, and I enjoyed getting to know her beautiful family. I know we’ll visit each other many times, either in Japan or Yosemite.