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The first English language book about Japan's favorite distilled beverage, shochu, requires funds to finish design and marketing.
The first English language book about Japan's favorite distilled beverage, shochu, requires funds to finish design and marketing.
134 backers pledged $7,410 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$7,410

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Hello! 

こんにちは!本キャンペーンに関しては、簡単ではありますが日本語でも紹介しております。下のページをご確認ください。

※キックスターターの日本語解説はこちらをご参照ください。

As expected, Japanese cuisine was recently awarded world heritage recognition by UNESCO. When you imagine dinner at a Japanese restaurant, do you picture platters of sushi enjoyed with small cups of carefully poured saké? Most people probably do.

But what if I told you that most parts of the world have yet to even meet one of the major players in Japan's dining and drinking culture? It's a distilled beverage that is second only to beer in terms of annual domestic consumption, and it is literally everywhere in Japan.

Have you ever heard of shochu?

No matter how you answered, please keep reading. We want you to be a part of introducing the rest of the world to something truly special.

Japan's best kept culinary secret?

The shochu industry has a hard time keeping up with demand here in Japan, so there are precious few distilleries trying to enter international markets at this point in time. However, the brands that have headed overseas early are finding swift popularity in restaurants and bars from Sydney to London to New York. Over the next several years they'll be popping up in restaurants and liquor stores not far from you. 

"The Shochu Handbook" is a detailed introduction to the world of Japan's lesser-known drink, and it will be the first ever published in English. The book provides everything needed to get one's head around this complex tipple.

Even if you've never even heard the word "shochu" before, there are many different ways in which it will tickle your curiosity.

Did you know...

...that more shochu is sold and consumed in Japan than nihonshu (saké)? 

...that there are four shochu varieties that are regionally protected by the WTO just like those afforded to Champagne, Scotch whiskey, and Gruyere cheese?

...that shochu is reportedly one of the lowest-calorie mass-produced alcoholic beverages one can drink? 

...that shochu combats blood clots nearly 50% better than red wine?

...that shochu is made from literally dozens of base ingredients? 

...that the basic facts about shochu, everything from how it's made to how to describe it, are routinely misrepresented and misunderstood in the press/Internet outside of Japan?

This book will appeal to those who are interested in everything from alcohol in general, to food and drink pairing, to making liqueurs at home, to Japanese culinary culture. Furthermore, it aims to demystify shochu for people who can't easily read Japanese while giving them simple ways to talk about the varied tastes and aromas involved. 

By pledging, you will be updated on all significant efforts to bring the world of shochu to new people and places. To my mind, the best thing about pledging to this campaign is that, years from now, you'll be able to say that you played a part in bringing an integral facet of Japanese culinary culture to an appreciative international audience.

Basic Book Details:
Author: Christopher Pellegrini
Photography: Marcus Lovitt
Paperback: 157 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1940745282

Table of Contents:
Preface
Introduction
1. What is shochu?
2. How is honkaku shochu unique?
3. How is shochu made?
4. Types of shochu
5. Reading the label
6. How to serve shochu
7. Shochu pairing and sharing
8. Recommended shochu
9. Shochu recipes
10. Basic Japanese for shochu drinkers
Glossary
Further reading

How will my pledge money be used?

"The Shochu Handbook" will be offered in both e-book and paperback versions, and initial costs for actually getting it formatted, printed, and marketed will total more than US$8000.

The reason why this is going to cost so much is the fact that I made the bold decision to go it alone. I opted against signing with a major publisher because, like a growing number of authors these days, I don't want to surrender my intellectual property rights to an entity that knows nothing about my topic nor cares very much about promoting the book.

In other words, I haven't received an advance, I don't have the luxury of relying on a publisher's distribution network, and I have decided to employ a team of designers to make sure that this project is as professionally formatted and sturdily printed as any other publication on a bookstore shelf. That's why I need your help to get this project published and printed at a level of quality that we can all be proud of.

However, after looking at other books that have been successful on Kickstarter, it seems like US$8000 is a bit too ambitious. As you may already be aware, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition, so if we don't reach our goal, then your pledge will be nullified, and the book's publication will be delayed indefinitely.

Therefore, I have set my goal at a very cautious US$2500 because that amount will at least ensure that the artwork gets done in a timely manner. It should also cover most of the remaining formatting and design costs. 

Anything above and beyond US$2500 will begin to help fund an international marketing push that is intended to do two important things: a) see "The Shochu Handbook" appear in a bookstore near you, and eventually b) encourage alcohol distributors worldwide to start sourcing shochu and awamori for their local clientele. 

Join me in giving the world the necessary lingo to welcome shochu's imminent arrival as it sets sail for new markets outside of Japan.You'll be happy to hear that the book is nearly finished--we're 90% of the way there! The manuscript is currently being proofread and edited, and we're aiming for publication in late February or early March, 2014. 

If you've read this far, then THANK YOU for your interest, and please spread the word about shochu and this Kickstarter campaign!

Rewards!

We've got some great, limited edition incentives ready for you, and they're just aching to be boxed up and sent around the world. Just so you have an idea of what's on offer, here are some of the photos that were taken by the book's official photographer, Marcus Lovitt. In the reward tiers to the right you'll find value at every level. 

The rewards are from my personal collection and are featured in the book. In other words, that rare shochu server you see on page 76 could be yours! All kilned reward items are brand new and should contribute mightily to your drinking pleasure. (Because the kilned rewards are handmade, the item(s) you receive in the mail may differ from what's pictured below.)

Gara with two tasting cups (Shochu Angel Reward).
Gara with two tasting cups (Shochu Angel Reward).

The above gara (and two others like it) make an appearance in chapter six of the book. They're traditional decanting vessels used in Kumamoto Prefecture, the home of the WTO-protected shochu appellation, Kuma Jochu.

Mt. Fuji glasses (Shochu Guru Award).
Mt. Fuji glasses (Shochu Guru Award).
Striped shochu "dimple" cups (THE SHOCHU FANATIC AWARD).
Striped shochu "dimple" cups (THE SHOCHU FANATIC AWARD).

These "dimple" cups are my go-to vessels for enjoying shochu at home with friends. I love the simple, colorful design, and the dimples make them easy to hold onto. You can just barely see a dimple on the right side of the red cup in the above photo.

Shochu cups.
Shochu cups.
Shochu kettle with 2 tasting cups (Shochu Kettle Reward).
Shochu kettle with 2 tasting cups (Shochu Kettle Reward).

These kettles, called joka in Japanese, are an immense part of shochu culture in Kagoshima Prefecture, the most southern part of Kyushu Island. They feature throughout the book but are specifically referenced in chapter six which discusses different ways to serve shochu.

Small shochu server with two cups (Shochu Fanatic Award).
Small shochu server with two cups (Shochu Fanatic Award).
Medium shochu server with two cups (Shochu Guru Reward).
Medium shochu server with two cups (Shochu Guru Reward).

The two shochu servers pictured above are kilned vessels that are used to dispense maewari or unmixed shochu. High-volume servers are common on the bar counters of finer shochu bars from Okinawa to Hokkaido, and photographs of these beautiful pots are featured throughout the book.

Shochu cups. Rare. Heavy.
Shochu cups. Rare. Heavy.
Shochu cups with 焼酎 (shochu) pattern (SHOCHU SAVANT AWARD).
Shochu cups with 焼酎 (shochu) pattern (SHOCHU SAVANT AWARD).
Original bilingual "Shochu is good" button (available at several award levels).
Original bilingual "Shochu is good" button (available at several award levels).

Don't hesitate to contact me if you have specific questions about the incentives. What I can honestly say about all of them is that they are rare, and most of them cannot actually be purchased anywhere. I'm ecstatic to be able to share them with other people who are interested in shochu from around the globe.

本のタイトル:「焼酎ハンドブック(The Shochu Handbook)」

本書は、世界中の人々に日本の焼酎、そして泡盛を紹介するものです。焼酎に関する諸外国での誤解や不理解を、本書を通して正していきたいと思っています。

僕の名前はクリストファー・ペレグリニ(Christopher Pellegrini)、焼酎アドバイザーです。そして、僕が執筆した本書は、世界初の、英語による本格的な焼酎のガイドブックとなります。

今回のキャンペーンは、本書を世に送り出すための後援金集めを目的としています。集められた寄付金によって、本書の製作・出版にかかる費用がまかなわれます。

また、一定の金額を寄付してくださった方々には、お礼として素敵なプレゼントを差し上げます。

それでは、日本在住のみなさまにとっても魅力的なプレゼントを一部ご紹介します。

$10 or more (10ドル以上寄付の場合) E-BOOK PACKAGE: Everything above plus one (1) free copy of the e-book.(本書の電子ブックをプレゼント)

$25 or more (25ドル以上寄付の場合) THE SHOCHU INSIDER PACKAGE: everything above plus: 1. One (1) HD digital download of a beautiful image by the book's photographer, Marcus Lovitt. Print and frame it, or use it as the wallpaper on your tablet [Kickstarter Exclusive]. 2. Download of 15 pages of supplemental shochu info (including industry updates) not included in the book [Kickstarter Exclusive]. 3. I will write a one-of-a-kind, shochu-themed haiku for you. Consider it a love poem. Delivered via Kickstarter, Twitter, or Facebook (your choice).(上記のプレゼントと共に 1. 本書のフォトグラファーのマーカス・ロビット(Marcus Lovitt)氏による美しいイメージをHDデジタルでダウンロード 2.最終的には本書に含まれなかった焼酎に関する様々な情報のダウンロード(約15ページ) 3.本書の著者が寄付者一人のために書いた焼酎をテーマにした英語俳句)

$45 or more (45ドル以上寄付の場合)THE SIGNED BOOK PACKAGE: This is THE SHOCHU INSIDER PACKAGE plus: 1. One (1) copy of the paperback book (signed or unsigned, your choice). 2. A guaranteed invite to the book release party. 3. One (1) 1.75"x2.75" rectangular, pin-on, bilingual "Shochu is good" button [Kickstarter Exclusive]. [S/H outside Japan, please add $10 to your bid.] (上記のプレゼントと共に 1. 本書のペーパーブック(著者のサイン入り) 2.出版記念パーティーへのご招待 3.「焼酎はおいしい」と書かれたオリジナルピンバッジ(4.5×7cmサイズ))

Risks and challenges

The likelihood of publishing this book is a balmy 100%, but the timing and reach of the finished product will largely come down to the amount of funding that we gather here as we round the bend and head towards the finish line.

The only challenge that remains in our path is getting the book's design and formatting completed in a timely manner. Accordingly, it probably goes without saying that Murphy's Law could come into play and delay publication. For instance, one detail that has already caused a small amount of consternation is preserving the Japanese script used in many parts of the book for explanation purposes. I anticipate that there will continue to be hiccups in this area, but it won't prove to be anything more than a minor nuisance.

However, time is really the only factor that is still up in the air. Even if this Kickstarter campaign does not succeed, I will eventually find a way to publish this book.

The shochu website mentioned in the rewards section (http://shochu.pro) is currently under construction and will require constant maintenance. I will be personally responsible for this process, and it will not pose any problems for me. I have designed and contributed to several websites in the past. Please go to http://tokyoswallows.com/ to see a website that I built and have been running successfully for several years. The shochu website's birth coincides with the release of my book, but its relevance will endure and increase well after this campaign has come to a close. It will provide helpful information about the industry as well as consultation services and recommendations for places to buy and enjoy shochu.

As for shipping items internationally, I have plenty of experience with this. The back corner of my home office is teeming with bubble wrap and all manner of foam cushioning. You can click and pledge with confidence!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Access to all project updates. Thank you!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    E-BOOK PACKAGE:
    Everything above plus one (1) free copy of the e-book.

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    42 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    THE SHOCHU INSIDER PACKAGE:
    everything above plus:
    1. One (1) HD digital download of a beautiful image by the book's photographer, Marcus Lovitt. Print and frame it, or use it as the wallpaper on your tablet [Kickstarter Exclusive].
    2. Download of 15 pages of supplemental shochu info (including industry updates) not included in the book [Kickstarter Exclusive].
    3. I will write a one-of-a-kind, shochu-themed haiku for you. Consider it a love poem. Delivered via Kickstarter, Twitter, or Facebook (your choice).

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    11 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    THE SIGNED BOOK PACKAGE:
    This is THE SHOCHU INSIDER PACKAGE plus:
    1. One (1) copy of the paperback book (signed or unsigned, your choice).
    2. A guaranteed invite to the book release party.
    3. One (1) 1.75"x2.75" rectangular, pin-on, bilingual "Shochu is good" button [Kickstarter Exclusive].
    [S/H outside Japan, please add $10 to your bid.]

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    ADVERTISING OPTION A:
    1. 125X125 ad space on my shochu website (http://shochu.pro/), an information portal for both shochu distillers and consumers. The ad will appear on the homepage and alongside most articles. The ad will run on the website for six (6) months after the public release of the book (your ad will go up as soon as you send it to me, so you could get one or two months for free). Renewal possible by mutual consent.
    2. One (1) free digital copy of the finished book.
    [Note: I reserve the right to reject ads for websites/businesses/organizations that I dislike, such as gambling sites, dating sites, the Yomiuri Giants, etc. Please contact me if you have any questions.]

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    THE HOMEMADE LIQUEUR AWARD:
    this is THE SIGNED BOOK PACKAGE plus:
    1. One (1) extra copy of the e-book (that's two in total). Give the gift of shochu to a loved one!
    2. Download of a short video in which I show you how to make one of the homemade liqueur recipes from chapter nine [Kickstarter Exclusive].
    3. Two (2) extra HD digital downloads of photographer Marcus Lovitt's beautiful imagery from the book. That's a total of three of the book's photos [Kickstarter Exclusive].
    4. Your name (plus a link to the SNS profile of your choice) listed on the "Important People" page of the http://shochu.pro website.
    5. Free advance download of "Chapter 1: What is shochu?" [Kickstarter Exclusive].
    [S/H outside Japan, please add $10 to your bid.]

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    Pledge $145 or more About $145

    THE SHOCHU FANATIC AWARD:
    This is THE HOMEMADE LIQUEUR AWARD plus:
    1. One (1) Tokyo Swallows baseball cap! My beloved, aptly named team scores a mention in Chapter 8 of the book. Get the same, personally-designed cap that I wear to games at Jingu Stadium in Tokyo [Limited Edition].
    2. There are three small kilned shochu servers pictured in the book, and you can have one (1) of them! All three of these unique servers hold 0.8-1.2 L of your favorite tipple, include two cups and a wooden pedestal, and are the perfect presentation for shochu at your next dinner party (pictured left).
    3. A flock of striped "dimple" shochu cups is pictured in the book, and you can have one (1) of them! Choose either red or blue (pictured left) [Limited Edition].
    4. One (1) extra "Shochu is Good" button (two total) [Kickstarter Exclusive].
    [S/H outside Japan, please add $20 to your bid.]

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    Pledge $265 or more About $265

    ADVERTISING OPTION B:
    1. 728X90 banner ad space on upcoming shochu website (http://shochu.pro/) that will help with promotion of the book. The ad will appear at the top of all website pages. The ad will run on the website for six (6) months after the public release of the book. Renewal possible by mutual consent.
    2. Two (2) free digital copies of the finished book! Give one or both as a gift.
    [Note: I reserve the right to reject ads for websites/businesses/organizations that I dislike, such as gambling sites, dating sites, the Yomiuri Giants, etc. Please contact me if you have any questions.]

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $295 or more About $295

    THE SHOCHU KETTLE REWARD:
    This is similar to THE SHOCHU FANATIC AWARD except that you get:
    1. One (1) extra Tokyo Swallows baseball cap (that's two in total) [Limited Edition].
    2. Instead of the small shochu server, you get one (1) of the actual shochu kettles pictured in the book! Comes with two tasting cups.
    3. An army of "Takachiho" branded shochu cups are pictured in chapter four, and you can have six (6) of them [Limited Edition].
    4. 20+ minute Skype/Google Talk call to discuss the intricacies of shochu (or most any other topic, really).
    5. One (1) extra copy of the paperback book--signed or unsigned (two total).
    [International S/H included.]

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    Pledge $345 or more About $345

    SHOCHU GURU AWARD:
    This is similar to THE SHOCHU FANATIC AWARD except that you get:
    1. One (1) extra Tokyo Swallows baseball cap (that's two in total) [Limited Edition].
    2. Instead of the small shochu server, you get one of the two MEDIUM kilned shochu servers actually pictured in the book! Comes with two (2) kilned drinking vessels and a wooden pedestal. The server itself holds 1.5-2 L of your favorite tipple, and it's the perfect presentation for shochu at your next dinner party.
    3. There are four Mt. Fuji glasses pictured in the book, and you can have two (2) of them [Limited Edition].
    4. 20+ minute Skype/Google Talk call to discuss the intricacies of shochu (or most any other topic, really).
    5. One (1) extra signed copy of the paperback book--signed or unsigned (two total).
    [International S/H included.]

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Funding period

- (14 days)