Today is the big day: Takjoo Journals turns one year old! I have to say that I feel pretty good about this accomplishment. I never tried my hand at blogging before this because I didn’t have anything that I was passionate enough to write about, or, if I was passionate enough (Korean baseball!), someone was already doing it better.
Takjoo Journals is a labor of love that I realize, despite my efforts to get the word out and get people interested, only really pertains to a small audience: English speakers who live in (or visit) Korea. Fine by me; I’m doing this as much for my own amusement as anything else.
But, with a year of blogging behind me, I realize Takjoo Journals needs to evolve in some respects. So, here it is. My laundry list. My ten, er two, commandments. My new year’s resolutions.
- If I quibbled about this before, I want to set the record straight. Aspartame sucks. It really, really sucks and it makes everything terrible. (If you don’t know what aspartame is, it’s an artificial sweetener that is often used in makgeolli because many brewers feel that it stabilizes the flavor profile of their brew, giving consumers a more consistent product. You check out the post to read more on the subject.) Did I say aspartame sucks? If you see a bottle that has aspartame—check the back for 아스파탐—I have just one piece of advice for you: don’t get it. Some people object to aspartame because scientific studies have shown that there is a possible link to cancer. Others point to research that says aspartame changes the microbiome chilling in your gut. And if these weren’t enough to change your mind, there is the very simple fact that aspartame tastes absolutely horrible. It’s chemically-fake flavor tinges everything with a metallic aftertaste that you will notice long after you’re done drinking. This is all to say that from this point forward, Takjoo Journals will NOT review any bottles using aspartame. Sure, there might be an exception here or there but for the most part I’m done with aspartame makgeolli.
- In the past year, Takjoo Journals tried to put out a new review, link to a news article, or op-ed piece every five days or so. The brunt of the posts was reviews. However, with the new No-Aspartame Directive, you, gentle reader, will have to satisfy yourself with fewer posts. No need to raise the alarm—I believe you will find the posts to be of a higher quality and more relevant. Here is what you can expect in 2015-2016:
- More reviews of what many joomaks call “premium” makgeollis.
- More joomak (read makgeolli house) reviews.
- More linked news articles posted in a timely manner. (By the way, if you haven’t read what Takjoo Journals is calling the Makgeolli Manifesto, please do yourself a favor and check out the post and the accompanying article from The Hankyoreh.)
- More op-ed pieces. You can find these on the right side bar or in the Random Notes & News. I’m proud of all of them, especially Korean Breweries & Alcohol Museums, Dongdongju Explained, Homebrewing Makgeolli in North America, Makgeolli in Jeonju, and The Maksa Cocktail.
- Finally, Takjoo Journals will have more content related to my homebrewing experiences. To date, I have only tried my hand at brewing three times so this section of the blog will be like a learner’s journey into what does and doesn’t work in the world of makgeolli brewing.
If you’re an original fan of the blog, thank you for sticking with me. And, if you’re new to this ridiculous farrago, I hope Takjoo Journals is something you can find enjoyable or, at least, useful. I truly appreciate any and all feedback, so please leave me a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can.