It is called NEO JAPANESE STANDARD. The name tells it all. Masaru Arikawa’s sake bar-cum-dining venue is all about setting a new Japanese standard to sake and dining experience.
What is so unique about NEO JAPANESE STANDARD? It can be summarized to 4 points.
i). Sake served with 3 different sizes: A wide selection of sake – more than 50 kinds – is available from 3 sizes (60ml, 90ml 150ml), allowing guests to conduct a “tasting-like” drinking to try as many kind of sake possible. In most of traditional sake bar/restaurant, it is served in one size – 180ml.
ii) Decor: The ambience is so-called modern and warm – a wooden counter stretches at the center of restaurant and it is complimented with tables along a wall. If no one knows the background – it seems like it serves wine and tapas (which they actually do.) It certainly does not fall into a typical Japanese ambience, where sake is frequently served.
iii) Food: Masaru does not believe in “pairing” of food with sake and he firmly believes, “eat whatever you want with your favorite drink”. With this philosophy, the food menu spans from Japanese to a fusion of Spanish – catering a wide range of selections.
iv) Location: Located 5 minutes away from Chiba Station – NEO JAPANESE STANDARD is the only restaurant that serves a wide range of “good” sake and it is open until 0500, everyday. (Even when a typhoon struck the area – it remains open.)
Despite the uniqueness of the joint, Masaru admits that he had no interest in sake and even F&B industry until in his mid-20s. Back then, he rarely drank alcohol beverages and frankly speaking – he did not enjoy eating out as well. But one day, he was taken to a sake dining restaurant and it literally changed his perception of the industry. The restaurant is called “Aonisai.” (to be featured – another amazing sake-centered eatery.)
“To me, dining out is to eat and drink – that is it. There was nothing more to expect. But Aonisai made me realize that it can be a part of entertainment. Everything – food, drink, staff, hospitality – was beyond my expectation.”
That was the moment when he decided to put sake as a core of his life work. And there was a reason to it.
“Ever since when I was small, I wanted to do business in overseas. From the experience I had in Aonisai, I decided to use sake and F&B as a basis to excel myself in overseas.”
After his commitment, he turned himself into F&B industry and after 4 years, he opened NEO JAPANESE STANDARD in September 2014. The name tells it all – Masaru is trying to set a new perception of Japan with sake and thus, NEO JAPANESE STANDARD.
Before approaching to overseas, he has set our two benchmarks for 2016. One is to open a branch in Narita to cater non-Japanese population (in transit travelers or aviation industry). Two is to hold a club event with a concept of fusing fashion / club music / sake. (More update on these two projects will follow on the website.)
2016 seems to be more and more exciting for sake and its surrounding – thanks to people like Masaru Arikawa.