February 2014

Year of The Horse – A Good Sake Year?

Posted by Beau Timken in 2014, February, Year of the Horse
Firstly – every year is a good sake year! But in terms of “The Horse” let’s take a look: 

The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as 'Qianli Ma', a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters). 

Year of the Horse Sake StyleStrengths
People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely.  

SAKE TRANSLATION: Drink a lot of sake this year so you can fulfill your ancient designation as a blabbermouth! 

Weaknesses
They cannot bear too much constraint. However their interest may be only superficial and lacking real substance. They are usually impatient and hot blooded about everything other than their daily work. They are independent and rarely listen to advice. Failure may result in pessimism. They usually have strong endurance but with bad temper. Flamboyant by nature, they are wasteful since they are not good with matters of finance due to a lack of budgetary efficiency. Some of those who are born in the horse like to move in glamorous circles while pursuing high profile careers.  They tend to interfere in many things and frequently fail to finish projects of their own.  

SAKE TRANSLATION: Even though your wallet says No! Start buying more expensive sake all year long! 

Fortune Foretelling in 2014
Overview: It is their order to encounter the Year of Birth (Benming Nian), a year to offend “Taisui’, the god in charge of people’s fortune. In 2014, their fortune in all aspects will fluctuate, so will require great care. They may feel more stressed out, in which case they are advised to talk about it with close friends or councilors, and take part in group activities. Faced with any difficulties, they should be strong to overcome them all. If they treat people around them friendly and behave righteously, they will get through the year smoothly. 

SAKE TRANSLATION: If you piss off your boss or a loved one then sooth the tension with a nice gift of sake. 

Career: Horse people are easily offended this year even for trifles, and seem not to keep a harmonious relationship with colleagues. Sometimes they doubt themselves too much, leading to a gradual loss of confidence. When finishing a task, they seek confirmation again and again from people around them. In this case, it is suggested to be confident and talk more to family instead of complaining to colleagues. Just keep a low profile, get along well with your boss and be careful of tricks by mean people and then achievements in your job will come. 

SAKE TRANSLATION: This year drink alone. 

Wealth: Their financial fortune will be unstable in 2014. It seems that there will be much unexpected cost. Thus to make ends meet comes first When managing money matters, they should consider accepting others’ suggestion. It is necessary to be careful to make any investment. Businesspeople should make a full scheme before making a large amount of investment, because the market will be changeable in the year.  

SAKE TRANSLATION: Listen to Team True Sake when they recommend cheaper sake! 

Relationships: The fortune in love life for horse people will be just so-so. If they would like to get married in the year, it is strongly suggested to select an auspicious date according to the dates of birth of the bride and the bridegroom, or they will suffer a lot in marriage. Singles may meet several people that they have feelings for, but none of them are doomed to be their Mr./Ms. Right. If faced with a dilemma, they’d better refer to the idea or suggestion of their relatives and friends. Husband and wife will argue a lot in the year; a focus on communication and mutual understanding can avoid it. For all lovers, mutual trust is the secret for an everlasting relationship. 

SAKE TRANSLATION: This year drink alone. 

Health: As they offend “Taisui” this year, they may suffer some discomforts. Some insidious diseases like dermatosis may happen. To avoid that, they’d better have a full physical examination. Besides, they also need to be careful to avoid unexpected injuries by knives and others sharp items. Females should pay attention to problem in urinary system and males need to care more about their stomach. Adjusting their emotions and traveling outside will help with their health as well. They also need to remember not to eat too much for each meal. 

SAKE TRANSLATION: This year drink alone. 

Lastly, and as I am a “golden Horse” born in the year of the Horse, I thought it would be slightly funny – and I mean ever so slightly to write about horses, which I dearly love and have been riding most of my life. 

In the February ’07 True Sake Newsletter I wrote a really cool piece about the Year of the Boar (pig). I wrote down ten pork recipes and paired them with ten sakes, and I remember receiving a lot of replies to the newsletter. In this regard, I cannot produce ten horse meat recipes, but I will tell you about one of “those” times in Japan when horse indeed was a course! 

After a long day of tasting and then a longer evening of drinking a friend took me to her favorite izakaya in Shinjuku. We were loaded. (Sadly it was the night that my sake note book fell out of my pocket in a cab and I lost it forever). After waiting for a counter space to open we took two premo seats right in front of one of the chefs. We ordered and were given two very large pours of sake an then it was search and destroy time on the menu. 

Year of the Horse Sushi StyleMy friend asked the chef what was good and he said something that I didn’t hear. But as he noticed me he leaned over and said, “Do you eat everything?” Of course I shot back, and then followed that with a “bring it!” First came the raw chicken sashimi, which was superb. Then more sake. Then out came what looked liked raw beef! Okie Dokie! 

Without hesitation I snapped up a piece and dipped it into the heavily garlicky sauce and downed it! Slightly chewy and a bit oily whatever it was tasted flavorful and delicious. I attacked another piece and asked my companion if it was beef, and she began to laugh. No! I looked at the chef and said, “It’s really good, but what is it?” He didn’t say a word, rather he made a sound that sounded remarkably like a horse. Oh man! 

Good luck to everybody during this year of the horse! 

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