How do they do it? There are so many tasks and so few kurabito. Our Mukune International Sake Brewing Program intern team of six has doubled the work force at Daimon Shuzo. The experience of the last day and a half has given me an immense appreciation for the efficiency of the operation of this sakagura. To say that the craft of sake making is arduous and demanding would be an understatement. But the real difference maker is the coordination, timing, and teamwork.
We've washed, soaked, steamed, and cooled rice for a variety of uses (and we'll do more). We've made and moved koji. Made boxes and labeled bottles. Washed and cleaned our equipment and the materials used in the process. We'll do that many times more as well. Along with the physical, we've also be given an inside look at the science and management of the process. It is astounding what the full time kura team accomplishes in creating and packaging a variety of different sake (each with it's own unique "recipe" requiring different logistics and timing). All is seamlessly integrated following a flow of steps that bends and turns according to time, temperature, and taste.
At the figurative end of the day, we've had a literal taste of the satisfaction that a toji feels as he samples the free run sake that is the first to flow out of the Yabuta (the machine that presses the fermented mash and yields the fresh undiluted, unpasteurized sake). At the literal end of the day, we've also experienced the blissful exhaustion that comes from a labor that produces such an exquisite beverage. I know that I've never slept so well.