Skip to main content

Tomo Maeda, owner of Tomigaya’s “Sakebozu” thinks about a new way to taste sake



A circle of friends connected by goof-touch! The “FIST BUMP” corner of the radio program “GRAND MARQUEE” features people who live and enjoy Tokyo in a relay format.

On April 26, GuruConnect of skillkills introduced Tomo Maeda, owner of “Sakeria Sakebozu” in Tomigaya. We interviewed Mr. Maeda, who advocates new ways to enjoy sake and food, about the specialties of the “Sakeria Sakebouzu” menu and unexpected ingredients to be paired with sake.

A New Sense of Combining Sake with Fruits and Spices

Takano (MC): Mr. Maeda, GuruConnect mentioned that you are stoic and have a long beard.

Maeda: I don’t know if I am stoic, but I definitely have a long beard (haha).

Takano: He is very stylish.

Celeina (MC): It is braided and dyed red.

Maeda: If I leave it alone, it gets in the way. It’s been a little over three years since I started braiding.

Celeina: Is your beard that long if you don’t cut it?

Maeda: I hear it grows on some people.

Celeina: First of all, since you are the owner of “Sakebozu” I would like to ask you about your cuisine. I understand that you went to a technical school for food and beverage, and after that you gained experience in several restaurants before opening “Sakebozu” in Tomigaya. Sakebozu serves sake and craft beer, and the menu consists of five dishes that can be left to you, with an a la carte menu that you can add to.

Maeda: In terms of preference, I like my sake warmed up. Of course, there are cold sake as well. Sake with a strong acidic flavor is probably the most common.

Takano: Do the five dishes you leave to us change depending on the day?

Maeda: That’s right. In each month, there are ingredients that are somewhat in season, but if I see something coming in at that time, or if I see someone coming in and think, “That person has been here before, so I want to add one more thing to this area,” I customize it.

Celeina: What is the dish that you recently served that your customers enjoyed the most?

Maeda: Right now, it’s at the end of the season, but it’s like bamboo shoots that have been de-stemmed and fried a little bit, and grilled sea squirts that have that saltiness and umami flavor.

Celeina: Wait a minute. I’m drooling (haha).

Takano: I looked at your Instagram and it looks so delicious. The pictures of your dishes make me hungry.

Celeina: Also, GuruConnect told me yesterday, what is “split water heating”?

Maeda: Sake originally has a certain degree of alcohol content, so there are many restaurants that mix sake with water and heat it up. At events such as “ondo” where people are enjoying music, the sake is so good that it takes all the flavor out of the drink, so we try to slow it down a bit and have people drink it watered down and heated up.

Takano: That’s great. It’s not like mastering the taste, the music, the atmosphere, and everything else.

Celeina: I also like to drink sake, but I don’t know much about the types and flavors. Is it easy for someone like that to go to Sakebozu and order sake?

Maeda: Yes, that’s right. It is difficult to tell them in detail what you like, and it is also difficult for me to tell them what kind of sake I like and what brand I prefer. When they arrive, I ask them roughly whether they like it cold, warm, room temperature, strong, chic, light, etc. I also ask them how they feel about the selection and how they feel about ordering. I would ask them if they were familiar with the drinks they were ordering, and how they felt when they chose them. I imagine that they are used to drinking it.

Takano: Mr. Maeda communicates with us and guides us. Well, that is wonderful.

Celeina: Going back to the cuisine, I heard that you use a lot of fruits and spices in your dishes.

Maeda: Yes, I originally liked spices, but I also make dishes by replacing the acidity and sweetness of the food with the acidity and sweetness of fruit. Plus, I think beer is often used to pair with spicy dishes, but I think it would be interesting to have people enjoy it with sake.

Takano: That’s interesting. I had always had the image of sake as being associated with Japanese food.

Maeda: Of course, sashimi and that type of food go well with sake, but I think it would be more meaningful for people to come to our restaurant if they could enjoy sake in a different way.

Takano: How do you develop the food?

Maeda: It’s a fantasy. I think about the name, or in the case of a common combination, I might think about using fruit for the acidity here or a little spice to accentuate the taste.

Celeina: By the way, the name of your restaurant, Sakebozu, is very easy to remember.

Maeda: The restaurant itself is a bit confusing, and many of the dishes are a bit “meh?” So I thought I would at least make the name of the restaurant easy to understand. I had named my cell phone address “Sakebozu” for a long time, so I just went with that.

Celeina: So your cell phone address became the name of the restaurant.

Maeda: That’s right.

Takano: Are you a sakebozu yourself, Mr. Maeda?

Maeda: That’s why I can’t even change my hairstyle (haha).

Takano: I have a shaved head. You are wearing a cap today, but it is easy to see.

Celeina: Now, I would like to listen to a song that Mr.Maeda chose for us to listen to at this time of the day.

Maeda: It is a song called “Still” by Marter. I don’t understand the meaning of the English lyrics, but his voice itself sounds like a sound. When I listen to it, I feel like I am in a forest or in nature. Sometimes, when I want to be in that kind of mood, I listen to this song.



NiEW recommends alternative music🆕

NiEW Best Music is a playlist featuring artists leading the music scene and offering alternative styles in our rapidly evolving society. Hailing from Tokyo, the NiEW editorial team proudly curates outstanding music that transcends size, genre, and nationality.