Month: October 2016

The Story of U-Boat 1206 and a Toilet

This is not a story of heroism or of any war glory action we have come to expect in a World War II story, but rather a sad and humiliating tale of the capture of U-Boat 1206. The year is 1945 and it begins like this: After departing from occupied Norway, Captain Karl Adolf Schlitt sets sail with his crew of 50 men with an order to go towards the Atlantic and destroy any British and American ships. “Easy enough,” thought Captain Karl and away the happy crew went. Not so happy was the crew after a few days when Captain Karl made the biggest mistake of his early and short lived career. This is what happened. U-Boat 1206 was one of the first German U-Boats to have advanced plumbing systems. Before the advancement Captain Karl’s sub came out, it was only possible to use the toilet when the submarine was on or near the ocean surface. When the sub descended and one had to go, it was either holding it or using the communal …

Brewing Made Perfect with “The Birth of Sake”

The making of saké the traditional way has not only been overshadowed and overcome by the usage of machines, which can produce the drink at a faster rate, but in Erik Shirai’s documentary film “The Birth of Saké”, the original way of making Japan’s national drink is dying out. Set in the Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan, the Yoshida Brewery remains a strong hold in making saké the same way it has for the last 140 years. In order to do so, from October to April the workers must live, eat, and dorm  together away from their families working from five in the morning to well into the night. Disregarding machines and under the direction of the Toji, or brewmaster, using touch, smell, taste, and sight is essential in order to perfect the drink. But traditional brewing and the consumption of saké is decreasing in Japan. As the documentary progresses, albeit rather slowly at times, Yachan, the heir of Yoshida Brewery, finds himself with the dilemma of trying to preserve the tradition of saké making, along with …