VJCC Turns Annual Sake Social Event Into Virtual Experience

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Contactless deliveries of bento boxes for VJCC’s Sake Social.

The Venice Japanese Community Center continues to adapt its events and activities in vibrant and creative ways to serve and engage their members during the pandemic, most recently transforming their annual Sake Social into a virtual soiree.

On March 20, guests of the Sake Social received bottles of premium sake and an exclusive bento box from Aki Restaurant, curated by co-owner Scott Hada, via contactless drive-through delivery at the center. Later that evening, they joined a virtual tasting session led by Hada.

Scott Hada of Aki Restaurant gave a talk on the sake varieties he selected for the event.

During the event, he revealed that his grandfather, Isamu Hada, once worked in a sake brewery and passed along his knowledge and love for the craft to him. He went on to describe each sake he hand-selected for the Sake Social, the histories of the breweries they were produced by, the origins of their names and the techniques used to create them.

Hada took guests through the tasting process, providing details about the flavor, clarity, aromatics and optimum ways to best enjoy them. He also made recommendations for a variety of dishes each selection would pair well with, including items that were included in the bento that guests received earlier that day.

An elegant evening for members to learn about and enjoy sake and Japanese cuisine, the VJCC’s annual Sake Social also serves as a special fundraiser for the center, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. It is the latest event to be successfully adapted into a virtual setting, following last summer’s VJCC Virtual Festival, which drew over 4,500 views from community members and supporters around the world.

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