Pembroke Springs Retreat

Madam wrote her first blog post in May 2007 while she was living in Japan, studying Japanese cuisine (eating) and learning about sake (drinking). She currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia, and explores the local food and drink of the Chesapeake Bay watershed (eats, drinks). After her most recent trip to Japan in February 2011, she was designated an Advanced Sake Professional by John Gauntner’s Sake Education Council.

Besides drinking, appreciating, and teaching others about sake, Madam has a day job in book publishing. She also writes posts about glimpses of Japanese culture in the areas around Washington, D.C., and about all manner of odd things.

Are you looking for posts about Japanese foodPosts about sake?


The blog name, “You, madam, are no Sei Shonagon,” refers obliquely to the quip, “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” If you don’t know the origin of that quote (without Google), you are probably young. Madam congratulates you on your youth and vigor.

Current header photo: sake brewing at Masumi (Miyasaka Brewing Company), Suwa, Nagano, February 2011.

Here’s the passage that made Madam nuts for Sei Shonagon’s Pillow Book (trans. Meredith McKinney):

It must be time for a meal to be served, for now come the jumbled sounds of chopsticks and spoons, and then the ear is arrested by the sudden metallic clink of a pouring-pot’s handle falling sideways and knocking against the pot.

Note: Every photograph on this blog was taken personally by the author (or by her husband). If you would like to use a photo for your site, please act neighborly by writing her a quick note. She loves to see where her babies live.