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Oct 2008 | Vol. 8 MUSO NEWS
Water, Air & Microorganisms
Uchibori Fruit Vinegar Set

Dr. Uchibori

Uchibori Brewery in Japanese Alps
Old Uchibori Vinegar Brewery

There is always a fine line between the balance of life like “love and hate” or “good and evil.” The same thing is true for microorganisms that play an important role in the production of Japanese fermented food. When it comes to speaking fondly and enthusiastically about microorganisms, there is nobody better to listen than Dr. Uchibori. Dr. Uchibori is the chairman of our vinegar manufacturer, Uchibori Vinegar, Inc., has been in the vinegar production business for 132 years. We had the chance to hear his passion for microorganisms when we visited their newly built plant located in the heart of Japanese Alps in July 2008.

Before going into the details about fermented foods, let’s briefly understand the history of vinegar manufacturing. Vinegar has been made for thousands of years. Traces of it have been found in Egyptian urns circa 3000 BC. In Japanese, vinegar is called “SU” which is written in Chinese characters as “Making Sake.” Traditionally vinegar is made with rice in Japan.

Production of sake and fermenting sake into vinegar can only be achieved with the activation of microorganisms, namely koji molds (aka, aspergillus oryzae, which is very distinctly cultured in Eastern Asia for many years) and acetic acid bacteria. It just takes one error and molds can spoil the foods and be lethal to our health. However, by handling molds skillfully, enzymes secreting from molds can perform two main tasks in the fermented food production:
1) bring out flavor by breaking down protein to amino acids and
2) saccharification (breaking down starch).

Although fermentation technology has been advancing through the ages, vinegar manufacturing cannot be completed without the help from microorganisms. In the heart of Nature’s bounty and with superb quality spring water and air offered by the Japanese Alps, Uchibori’s endeavor of seeking a better environment for microorganisms will never end as long as there are good quality vinegars to be made for the customers all over the world.

100% Matters; 100% Soba Noodles available in organic!

Drying Soba


Soba Field

With the cooperation of Yamamoto Shokuhin Co., Ltd, one of few 100% buckwheat noodle manufacturers in Japan, we are proud to announce that 100 % soba noodle is available in organic version today. It is certified organic according to the regulation (EEC) 2092/91 and USDA National Organic Program.

Buckwheat has been eaten in the form of noodle (soba) since the 17th century. It has continued to be one of the staple foods in Japan today. It’s a common practice to eat soba on New Year’s Eve. There are so many different hypotheses of how this practice came into existence. One is metaphorical -saying that eating long and thin noodles will make your life long and and/or eat cut soba to discard all the misfortunes of the year and not to carry over them to the following year…

Soba is considered to be Super Food. There are many minerals and vitamins found in soba. Among them, the most talked about nutrients is rutin. Rutin is a type of polipheno, also known as citrus flavonoid glycoside. For humans, rutin attaches to the iron ion Fe2+, preventing it from binding to hydrogen peroxide, which would otherwise create a highly reactive free-radical that may damage cells.
The list of Soba comsumption benefits includes:
1) It is an antioxidant that plays a role in inhibiting some cancers.
2) It strengthens the capillaries, and, therefore, can reduce the symptoms of haemophilia.
3) Rutin, as ferulic acid, can reduce the cytotoxicity of oxidized LDL cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.
Now you can understand what health benefits soba can offer to you!

Now, here’s a little anecdote. It may be a little culture shock to hear, but in Japan nobody is quiet when eating soba. We actually make a big slurping noise. It is not considered to be rude but rather unconscious cultural behavior everyone practices. According to the recent news report slurping noise is actually a sensory experience enhancing the whole noodle eating experience. And not to mention, distinct aroma of 100 % buckwheat will also make your soba noodle eating experience something special. Therefore, don’t be shy about making big slurping noises with our organic 100% soba!


Takashi KusumotoSince I joined Muso 7 years ago, I have learned a lot about food, macrobiotics, environment and etc... through my job, and had opportunities to meet many interesting people all over the world. I am truely grateful and feel lucky to be in this position and would like to continue learning.
I have been going to macrobiotic cooking classes with my colleagues twice a month since last fall, and am looking forward to attending advanced classes in October. I enjoy learning about macrobiotic cooking very much!
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photos taken by Ayano

Name Ayano Satogami
9 Star K i Eight White Soil
Favorite Muso Products Organic Shoyu, Organic Tamari, Bonsoy
Favorite Movies Documentary films
Recently watched film: BLACK GOLD
Hobbies and Interests Taking pictures, Travelling, Climbing Mountains