This Kura is 185 years old and it’s beautiful. 185 year old timber soar to hold the wooden ceiling. Walls of windows and open cantilever roofs let in a beautiful light. It is a place of shadows and light. Old and new.
It is also a place of contradictions. Rooms of intense heat and chilling cold. Old Edo looking tools, unusual modern machines and futuristic computers sit side by side. Tradition and technology waltzing together to make Sake.
But there is more going on. If you look closely. The pressing machine is periwinkle blue. The brush’s are day glow green. Christ ,the fork lift is Fuschia. The colors have been chosen as carefully as a painter would put paint to canvas. An artist has been here.
That artist is Yasutaka Daimon, Toji and owner Daimon Shuzo. Clearly his wonderful sake is a work of art. But why these details of color, like wildflowers, in this traditional Kura? The more you get to know him. The more it all makes sense.
Born the first son of the brewer, he fled Japan to see the world. Opening up to the possibilities beyond Japan and sake. He lived in a floating world of Travel and spirituality until he decided it was time to return.Bringing back with him, souvenirs of the world: love of Art, Food , spirituality. Which he applies daily to the life in the kura.
There are surprising touches everywhere. Who would expect to see Matisse, Rothko and Klee prints in this almost 200 year old Japanese Kura. Or a Buddhist prayer affixed to a state of the art Koji computer. These touches humanize this building.Clearly he respect tradition, like hand washing the rice ( Ouch,my back!) instead of using a rice washing machine ,which he already owns. But he also believes in the modern. Using traditional methods combined with a desire to shepard sake into the future.
Like the modern artist’s he loves so much. They had a reverence for the past but were looking for a new way of expression. So too is Daimon-san.