Sake Nation “Noto Peninsula Earthquake and Sake Breweries ①”

By Kosuke Kuji
As the glorious New Year of the Dragon dawned on January 1, 2024, the voice of a TV anchor sadly urged viewers to “Please evacuate,” “head to higher ground quickly,” on the evening of New Year’s Day. 
The news reported the 2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake. 
Right after the earthquake occurred, a “Major tsunami warning” was issued around Ishikawa prefecture for the first time since the Great East Japan Earthquake, a tsunami warning was issued along the coastline of the Sea of Japan, and a tsunami advisory was widely issued.  
The sun had set, and it was dark outside. 
The New Year variety entertainment show switched to a special news report led by NHK, as various TV programs switched to news when major disasters strike to provide regular updates.
The new year started off as a tragic journey.    
The status of the tsunami was not known for a while after the major tsunami warning was issued. Aware of the damage incurred by tsunamis after the Great East Japan Earthquake, I prayed for the safety of survivors. My heart anguished over not knowing the latest status of victims on site following the disaster. 
Noto peninsula is also known as one of the three major regions of master sake brewers (toji), named “Noto Toji.” Home to nearly ten sake breweries, Noto peninsula is also home to my younger colleague’s brewery. From this issue on, I will share stories about the Noto Peninsula Earthquake and local sake breweries in the next several reports.