The internet is quite a treasure trove. So much information right at your fingertips. Every once in a while, however, you stumble upon something that is, well, just plain special.

While doing my usual internet sake “research”, I came across some fun info at the Kiku-masamune sake website called “Manners for Sake Party“. Sounds fascinating. Let’s take a closer look…

Manners for Sake Party
How to Handle “Sake” Pitcher

pitcher_1.jpgWhen pouring sake into other people’s cups, hold the sake bottle in the middle of the body and try to use only one hand to pour.
Some people use both hands to serve sake in an attempt to show respect.
The correct way however, is to pour with one hand.*: For women, however, it looks more elegant to touch the left hand to the bottle when pouring sake into people’s cups.

When pouring from a bottle without a pouring lip, make sure the pattern or design on the bottle is on top and visible.


shake_bottle.gif Look into or shake the bottle ••• It is considered very bad manners in order to check if there is any sake left.Correct way ••• Just give the bottle a light shake.


Ok, ok… so I might have touched my left hand to the bottle when pouring, maybe once or twice, but that doesn’t make me less of a man. however – well – only one handed pouring from now on. And I keep my tokkuri shaking to a bare minimum, I swear! moving on…

Manners for Sake Party
How to hold “Sake” cup and the drinking way

ikkinomi.gifWhen drinking sake, pick up the cup, bring it toward you, pause slightly then moving the cup up parallel to your chest, bring it to your mouth and drink.

IKKINOMI ••• Emptying the cup in one gulp is both bad manners and bad for your health.

<< Let's savor the taste of the sake on your tongue while drinking. >>


cup_4.jpg Make sure to hold the cup when you are served sake; the same goes for when serving sake to other people.OKITSUGI ••• To pour sake into a cup set on the table, or to accept sake with your cup set on the table is bad manner.


Um, well, I can’t say I’ve never, ever ikkinomi-ed. BUT, now that I know how unhealthy it is, i’m quitting ikkinomi cold turkey. Also, I’m afraid I must admit that I Okitsugi quite often. whoops. Bad Bad Manners! I wonder what else there is…

Manners for Sake Party
How to serve “sake”: Offering and Returning

There are also additional manners for FORMAL BANQUETS

serve_1.jpg receiving Sake If a sake cup is preferred by an older person to a younger person, the cup must be accepted with both hands, and the words “CHODAI-SHIMASU” should be said in thanks.


serve_2.jpg When you would like a superior or someone older to offer their sake cup, say “ONAGARE-O-ITADAKIMASU”, and use both hands to receive the cup. Never hold your own cup out to a superior or someone older for it to be refilled.


serve_3.jpg Returning The Cup
If there isn’t, he should align his hands when returning the cup and say “ARIGATO-GOZAIMASU” or “thank you very much”. Using just one hand is also acceptable. When a person who accepts a cup of sake from a superior or someone older returns the cup, he should first clean the cup if there’s a washbowl nearby.


Note to self: avoid formal banquets if possible.

Well, I always thought if I simply avoided serving sake in disposable cups, I’d be able to sidestep any sake faux pas, but obviously, there is a lot to learn about “sake party manners”!

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