I've done it. I've been certified as an Advanced Sake Professional.
The process involved traveling to Tokyo for a five-day course and absorbing lots of detailed information on how sake is made (including nerdy but interesting arcana on rice varieties, water, yeast and ferment-enhancing molds), historic sake lore, and regional differences. There was also a lot of fantastic tasting, feasting, and visits to Miyasaka, Kumazawa, and Kikuyoi breweries. Each was so different in size, style and personality, but all shared a passion for making beautiful sake.
Our small class of sake lovers, sellers, and assorted other beverage industry professionals bonded over our love of the traditional Japanese brewed drink. I know many will go on to do interesting and path-breaking things in the industry. For me, the class offers a base from which to write about sake with slightly more authority. In the process, I hope to inspire others to try this drink that is rich in taste, but also in history, culture and lore.
It's a truism that the more you learn about a topic the more you realize how little you know. I felt that way more than ever after completing this course. But the upside is that not many of those topics are as fun to keep exploring as sake!
Oh, and here's an interesting thing I noticed about the beautiful certificate pictured above. It's dated in the Japanese calendar, so the thirtieth year of the Heisei era, in the month of February. The date is given as 吉日（きちじつ in the hiragana syllabary, pronounced "kichijitsu"). It's literal meaning is "lucky day." At the end of this very formally written and impressively embellished document, there's a figurative slap on the back of congratulations from its grantors--how charming is that?