Japan Australia Information Link Media パースエクスプレス

パースエクスプレスVol.236 2017年9月号


≫Japanese Sake specialist & grocery store manager's First Trip to Japan    

Japanese Sake specialist & grocery store manager , Sandra Gwee has been promoting Japan for a long time in Perth. This time, she finally went to Japan for her very first time. We, The Perth Express had an interview of her about the trip and have provided you with her amazing trip report.


Sandra Gwee
Sake Specialist / Manager of Lion Oriental Foods Co. and Loi’s Eastern Supermart

Why did you go to Japan?

I have always wanted to go to Japan for personal experience. Having supported and promoted the beauty of Japanese foods and Sake for so many years I wanted to see it for myself, catch up with friends, enjoy authentic Japanese food and explore the best sights in Japan and Sake breweries. It was a trip I just had to do.

Hasegawasaketen Store in Tokyo Central Station, she visited to Tokyo to Hasegawasaketen Company who helped her for "Perth Sake Event " in March. The range of Sake collection they had in Japan was amazing.

What was your first impression of Japan?

My first impression of Japan was it was bigger than I expected and actually being there and seeing it is a total different experience. Unless you know where to go and what to do in Japan you have so many choices where to start.

What was that difference between what you had imagined before going to Japan and, what you saw and felt in Japan?

Well, when I started my trip I was expecting it was going to be difficult because I travelled by myself. But I was ready to for the challenge. Japan is so busy and fast, I didn't expect I could follow the pace of Japan as it is totally different to Perth. I easily adapted to Japan's fast pace environment and could plan anything I wanted to do.

I didn't expect to do heaps of shopping simply because normally I can't find anything I like. The stores in Japan are so diverse you definitely can't stop shopping in Japan.

Food is definitely what I expected. Japanese food is different quality and taste compared to in Perth. It was so affordable as well. I didn't expect that it was going to be affordable to eat good food in Japan even in restaurants.

I didn't expect to travel that fast to see many places in each prefecture but I amazed myself and my friends that I could do it once I understood how to go. I gathered information and resources I needed to be able to alter my trip in the between. I didn't expect that I wouldn't feel tired, my mind and body just kept going. It could be because of the excitement of being in Japan in general that gave me adrenaline to conquer that many prefectures in just 11 days.

Dotonburi in Osaka, best place to eat Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki, located around Namba Station, is one of Osaka's two major city centers. It is the city's most famous entertainment district, and offers abundant dining and shopping choices.

Tell us a little about where you visited in Japan.

I went to 3 Sake breweries, Hakutsuru, Sawahime and Hakkasian and, 1 whiskey brewery Yamazaki. I went to 6-8 destinations and 6 prefectures.

Osaka Minoo - falls. A beautiful natural waterfall which you have to take a 30 minute hike to see but is definitely worthwhile. Kobe - Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum Kyoto - Kibune Shrine, Golden Temple and kawadoko dining. Tochigi - Sawahime Brewery Kawaguchiko - Mt. Fuji viewing Yokohama - Cup Noodle Museum Niigata - Hakkaisan Brewery

Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum at Kobe in Hyogo, demonstrates dedication to Sake tradition. The Sake museum is housed in a former old brewery and historical architecture.

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto's top sights to visit. Bamboo trees are 20m high and a truly wonderful sight.

The perfect stop, Suntory Yamasaki in Kyoto. Whisky lover must take the Yamasaki tour to learn about Japan's famous whisky, see the the massive American oak barrels for their storage. Understand how aged whisky is made and enjoy tasting .

What was the difference between Perth and Japanese aspects of technology, culture and nature ?

Technology: Perth's technology is slow but less complicated. You buy a cheap simcard to get a phone number and you have free Wi-Fi. In Japan fast free Wi-Fi is available but not always reliable as it keeps cutting out. You will be better off buying a simcard with data already and its capped. You can't easily get a mobile number as the process is not a simple one. The mailing system is really reliable in Japan as you send to any hotel in japan to receive your simcard and guaranteed you will receive it.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto is taken at night time for a beautiful setting and an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion Torii gates with the trail glowing red through the night.

Culture: Japan is really clean and the customs are different to ours. For example, when you go to a change room you must take off your shoes before changing and wear a cloth mask to cover your foundation to prevent it getting on the clothes you are changing into. In Hotels you must always take off your shoes and wear the slippers given to you. In Japan they have public baths which is really open to everyone. Japanese people are very accepting of this custom of bathing in natural spring water which is very good for your skin. Japanese people eat rice in the morning and fish whereas we eat toast and egg or bacon. After you finish you have to tidy up yourself and take it back to the kitchen.

In Nagoya, special breakfast by my friend is a simple traditional Japanese breakfast.

Nature: It was really diverse you want to go outside of city to see the real natural beauty of Japan, in the city you mostly find glorious food with endless selection to try. I wanted to experience the real Japan style and tradition. Japan has been always presented themselves as a piece of art through their culture and tradition.

Cup Noodle Museum in Yokohama, a great stop for history of the making of Cup noodles from Japan. The founder of Ramen in Japan was full of vision and because of this we have lovely tasty cup noodles till this day.

Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum, a well organised and can be seen interesting overview of how Sake is brewed in the good old days. Sake is more than just alcohol and tradition that comes from the roots of its hometown which famous Japanese cuisines are born.