Episode 82 Show Notes
Episode 82. Japan is well known as an exceedingly polite country but along with this comes a bevy of rules and regulations to guide manners and behaviors for just about every social situation. This applies to sake drinking as well with a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to drinking culture. This week Tim and John explore the world of sake etiquette and all that that entails. From how to pour sake to how to receive sake, do you know the rules? The more formal the situation, the more likely it is that the sake etiquette will be more strictly adhered to. Beyond just being polite, sake etiquette also helps us dive deeper into understanding Japanese culture as a whole. For example, the idea of “wa” or group harmony is at the root of some ideas that drive sake manners. However you slice it, sake manners are important. With that in mind, let’s listen in and learn to mind our Ps and Qs while sipping sake!
Skip to: 00:19
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy
Skip to: 03:36
Learn all about sake etiquette on this webinar from Timothy:
Brewery: Takenotsuyu Shuzojo
Rice Type: Miyamanishiki
View on UrbanSake.com: Takenotsuyu Junmai
NOTE: Use Discount Code “REVOLUTION” for 10% off your first order with Tippsy Sake.
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Episode 82 Transcript
ohn Puma: 0:21
Hello, everybody. And welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s first. And I, I think still America’s only sake podcast. I am your host, John Puma from the Sake Notes, the administrator over at the Internet Sake Discord the kohai to Tims senpai.
Timothy Sullivan: 0:43
I like that. And I am your host, Timothy Sullivan. I am a Sake Samurai, a sake educator, as well, as the founder of the Urban Sake website. And every week, John and I will be here tasting and chatting about all things, sake and doing our best to make it fun and easy to understand. Yes. So John, you know what? I am still missing Japan. We seem to say that every week.
John Puma: 1:10
Well, We’re getting there. We’re getting, it’s getting better. they’re going to start allowing business people in soon, as long as they’re staying for more than three months.
Timothy Sullivan: 1:19
That would not be me. Well let me ask you this I’m sure you remember back to your first trips to Japan. We’ve talked about them a few times on the show, but there’s a lot of rules and regulations and customs in Japan. Were you ever nervous about doing things wrong? Like not taking your shoes off at the right place or leaving your shoes on at the right place or anything like that? Anything like strike you with fear.
John Puma: 1:46
with fear. Well, the shoe thing I was kind of comfortable with, I had. Um, some, some, some neighbors around my neighborhood growing up around my age, who were, who were Korean. And so we would visit their place. We always had to take our shoes off, like right by the door. And I thought, why are we that’s so weird. And then like later on in life, I was like, actually, this is much more comfortable. Why don’t I do this at home? Um, but so I, that I was very accustomed to, I kind of got that, you know, I understood Having said that there were definitely scenarios where, you know, people are doing things and you’re kind of looking around and realize that you’re not doing what everybody else is doing. And like, oh no. And yeah. but I think the one that’s freshest in my mind was actually, uh, onto my most recent trip. And, and it’s something I did not know was a no-no at the time. And it was not something I realized was a no-no until a bit later on, I listened sake etiquette lecture that you hosted.
Timothy Sullivan: 2:50
John Puma: 2:51
I found out that when we were going out drinking with several Japanese people and they all. they ordered, some beers to get started and I am not a beer drinker and I politely declined the beer because I felt it was not the right thing to waste the beer. That’s my, that was my thought. And everybody was very polite about it. But in retrospect, finding out that there’s a lot of rules and regulations, as you mentioned, and. And I’m sure we’re going to get into this. I broke a regulation and I was, I was, you know, months later, stunned and shocked in horror that I, I screwed up very badly.
Timothy Sullivan: 3:36
Well, it happens to the best of us foreigners traveling in Japan. And there are tons of etiquette rules and regulations about how to use your chopsticks, how to enter a home gift, giving a reciprocating gift giving. And my favorite area of etiquette of course, is all about sake and drinking etiquette. So I thought that might be something fun to talk about today. And you just said you stepped in it pretty bad in Hokkaido.
John Puma: 4:05
I did step into a pretty bad, but, you know, I learned, and, and I do think that learning about sake etiquette. It’s important. You’re going to come across this sort of thing is, and if you want to be, you want to be a well cultured individual that can blend into an environment a little bit better. Uh, and you want to be drinking a lot of sake. is a very good, very good thing to know.
Timothy Sullivan: 4:28
before we go any further, why don’t you explain for anyone listening, why was it bad that everyone was initial round was beer and you ordered sake. What’s what’s wrong
John Puma: 4:38
Uh, it’s all about the “wa” Tim, all about the “wa” I broke the “wa”. And so, uh, so basically, in very layman’s terms, I broke the vibe of the table by not getting in on the same. Uh, the same event that they were doing, they, you know, it was, it wasn’t just, oh, we’re going to have a beer. It is, we are going to have a beer. The table is going to celebrate with this beer. And I was like, no, I’m good. And again, my impression was, I’m not going to waste this beer, but the way it’s taken is he doesn’t want to participate in in the, in the tables, uh, in the tables vibe. Is that a good way of putting it?
Timothy Sullivan: 5:24
well, “wa” is often translated as like group harmony.
John Puma: 5:28
I like that.
Timothy Sullivan: 5:29
yeah, so, you know, when everybody starts out, you want everyone on the same page, everyone on the same vibe and. Everyone ordering a beer. I’ve seen that quite often where it’s just easier. If everyone gets the same thing for the first round and everyone’s starting out on the same pace and yeah. So that’s the idea behind that. And that’s a pretty subtle one. That’s not a huge infraction in
John Puma: 5:53
Oh, so I won’t, I’m not going to be in, in, in the sake etiquette jail for this one.
Timothy Sullivan: 5:58
No you won’t be in sake, etiquette jail. And you know, let’s talk about why etiquette is important in the first place. Like, why do you want, why do you even care about the drinking rules? If you go to Japan and we should also say that this is for people, non-Japanese people visiting Japan and interacting. In restaurants and situations where you would be drinking in Japan. And if you’re in a U.S. Setting with a lot of Japanese people around, it’s really helpful to know these etiquette things as well. But why do you think in general, it’s important to know about etiquette and even worry about
John Puma: 6:34
Well, I mean, for starters, you’re a guest and I’ve always been told when you are somebody’s guest, you’re there, there’s an expectation that comes with that. That you’re going to be a good guest and good guests care about the customs. Like if you had a thing where somebody, you, where you don’t like people to walk around your house with shoes on and somebody walks in and you ask them to take their shoes off and they don’t, that’s rude. And you’re number one, number one, that’s just rude. You don’t want to be rude. And number two, you’re probably not inviting that person over again.
Timothy Sullivan: 7:07
Yeah. Yeah. I would say. For the majority of foreigners interacting with sake abroad, if there’s any missteps or etiquette, faux pas, I think they’re unintentional and easily forgiven by people over there. But I think taking the time to learn what’s proper, you don’t have to get crazy about it, but even just the basics, it goes such a long way to smoothing your path to good communication and good cultural exchange. When you are in Japan.
John Puma: 7:38
I think you’re totally right. As a foreigner, they don’t have a lot of expectations about you. Um, in fact, they probably have pretty low expectations and I kind of liked the idea of. You know, coming above that and like not, you know, I, I don’t like the idea of like, just riding with that. Well, they’re not going to expect anything from me, so I’m not going to give them anything. I think that that’s like, I think that’s rude, you know, I think that, um, you know, as a guest, I it’s on me to be the best guest I can be. And that is respecting customs. It’s, you know, it’s, it’s just, it’s being polite. now having said that, and we did, you know, we had mentioned that there are, there are some rules that I think are very obvious that I think a lot of people are going to be alcohol. Of course. However, there are a lot of rules, like for example, get the beer that you may not know about. You know, obviously when everybody else takes off their shoes, you know, take off your
Timothy Sullivan: 8:33
Right. Yeah, you can learn a lot from watching what other people are doing and just kind of follow, follow suit.
John Puma: 8:40
Oh, yeah, no, that is, that is the pro move. Well, I know it’s the amateur move, but it gets you really far. It’s just like, kind of look around you and do what the other people are doing. If they’re doing it, the chances are that’s what’s supposed to happen and, and go with it. And, you know, I think that with the shoes, even, uh, even in the west, we know, we know the shoe, a lot of people know the shoe thing. Um, and that’s not going to apply to every place you go. It’s a classic. Yes. It’s not going to play it. Every place you go in Japan, it’s not going to apply to every restaurant you set foot in. It’s going to apply. It’s going to apply to very few of the restaurants you actually set foot in. Um, but when you visit somebody’s home, it will very likely.
Timothy Sullivan: 9:20
John Puma: 9:20
And you want to be, you want to be cognizant of that and you want to be a good guest. You want to be the best guest you can be. So you get invited back.
Timothy Sullivan: 9:28
Yes. Yes. Well,
John Puma: 9:31
there are some rules that are a little more, you know, that are not as obvious. What’d you say that
Timothy Sullivan: 9:36
Yes, there’s very subtle rules and there’s more strict rules and there’s different levels of formality at different occasions. So there’s 50 shades of gray here, but, uh, I think that there is,
John Puma: 9:49
Phrasing, wait a minute, to use 50 shades of gray.
Timothy Sullivan: 9:55
John Puma: 9:56
You know what? You do know what that book is about Tim?
Timothy Sullivan: 10:00
It’s not about color theory.
John Puma: 10:02
No, it’s not about color or about shading. Believe it or not.
Timothy Sullivan: 10:07
Well, okay. Um, so do you know what the, when it comes to sake in Japan, what the golden rule of etiquette is? There’s one rule that towers above them all. Do you know what.
John Puma: 10:24
I do. And I learned this one from watching others. And that is you don’t pour for yourself.
Timothy Sullivan: 10:34
Bingo. You got it. If anyone takes something away from this podcast episode about sake manners in Japan, this is it. you never pour for yourself.
John Puma: 10:46
Yeah. Do you not pour your own sake now? I have definitely poured my own sake before.
Timothy Sullivan: 10:51
John Puma: 10:52
Okay. And it was like, you know, it was a simple situation where I, the first time this occurred, um, we were out with friends and This person had a poured for everybody, including themselves. So when it, when I emptied my drink, I poured for everybody, including myself. But what I didn’t realize was that my friend probably didn’t think we knew the custom cause we didn’t. And if he didn’t pour himself, he probably wouldn’t have had any sake
Timothy Sullivan: 11:20
Oh, so it was, all Americans And one japanese guy. yes. Okay. Do you know why it’s considered good form to pour for others, but not for you?
John Puma: 11:31
I don’t actually.
Timothy Sullivan: 11:32
So in Japan, there’s a lot of hierarchy and a lot of different levels of authority at Japanese companies, for example. And if you’re at a business dinner with your boss and the vice president, and you’re kind of lowly in the company, you can’t just walk over to the boss and slap him on the back and start chatting with them. But pouring somebody, sake is considered very polite and it allows people who normally wouldn’t be able to interact, uh, on a day to day basis to have some interaction. So I always describe pouring for others as a socially recognized and acceptable Icebreaker, situation. And I often view it also as a mini ritual. Like it’s so pervasive in Japanese culture that people pour for each other as a way to honor the other and bring themselves down a little bit and raise the other person up. So it’s a, it’s a mini ritual and it’s functions as an icebreaker in social situations. If you don’t know what. Pick up The bottle start pouring for everyone. And you can meet everyone at the table real quick.
John Puma: 12:38
So we’re going with the idea that everyone loves the person that’s pouring sake for them
Timothy Sullivan: 12:42
John Puma: 12:44
and immediate friendship and bonding.
Timothy Sullivan: 12:47
Yeah. So you mentioned, what do you do if your glass is empty and you can’t pour for yourself, how do you get sake in your glass?.
John Puma: 12:57
Uh, I think there’s a very, very important question.
Timothy Sullivan: 13:00
John Puma: 13:01
Especially if you sip your sake a little more quickly than other
Timothy Sullivan: 13:03
Yes. Well, the number one way in Japan to get sake poured into your glasses, pick up the bottle and start pouring for others. Even if they’re not empty, offer them and pretend you want to fill their glass. Their eyes will dart to your glass so quickly and they will grab the bottle out of your hands and pour for you. As fast as could be. So there’s, there’s this cultural understanding about pouring for others and it’s really as a, as a good guest at an event or a dinner, keeping your eye on everyone. Else’s glass is kind of the polite thing to do.
John Puma: 13:37
Uh, huh. All right. Got it. All right. That makes sense. So, you start topping off everybody. Who’s full. Somebody’s gonna be like, all right, this he’s thirsty.
Timothy Sullivan: 13:46
Yeah. And you may wonder. You know, if, if your co if everyone’s constantly pouring for each other, how do you say no? How do you like stop the flow?
John Puma: 13:57
Yeah. I mean, because if somebody else’s thirsty, they’re going to perhaps pour for you to get you to maybe help them get some more sake in their cup. So what stops you from
Timothy Sullivan: 14:09
well, if you leave about 80 or 90% full in your glass and just kind of stopped drinking at that point, when someone leans over to pour your glass, you can just say, oh no, no, let me get you. And you take the bottle and pour for them. And it’s kind of like a tacit understanding and people are not usually too aggressive about making you chug your sake, maybe, you know, in a hardcore old boys club business situation, they may do that. but in a, friend situation, people are pretty respectful about that. So,
John Puma: 14:41
Well, that’s good. Uh, what else do people need to know about this? So you’ve got your, you’ve got your sake. A you’re not pouring for yourself. You’re being very generous, and pouring for other people. When you are looking to have a little more sake, you’re just gonna pour for other people again, and kinda then hope that somebody picks up on it, which they will. And what else do we need to know?
Timothy Sullivan: 15:03
Well, there’s also a question of receiving sake. Like what’s the polite way to receive sake. Like if someone holds out a carafe or a bottle and they point it your way, and it’s obvious they want to pour for you, there is a right and a wrong way to receive the sake as well.
John Puma: 15:20
oh man. What’s what’s the wrong way to have.
Timothy Sullivan: 15:25
Well, the wrong way is to kind of lean back and fold your arms and stick your chin out and say, okay, go ahead and pour for me. That’s not the right.
John Puma: 15:33
I’ve definitely done that.
Timothy Sullivan: 15:37
The polite thing to do in, again, in more formal situations, this doesn’t apply to super casual sake pubs or whatever, but in a more formal situation, you want to pick up your glass off the table and hold it with two hands. Usually one under and one around the cup and meet the person halfway. And it’s a sign of respect to appreciate their gesture of pouring for you. And then before you set your cup down, after you’ve received the sake, it’s considered most polite to take a sip out of it. I received the sake and just slam it on the table. No, you want to take a sip and acknowledge that it’s been poured and then you would take the bottle and pour for them. So it’s, it’s, uh, it’s uh, using two hands is the most polite and that’s the same with pouring as well. If you’re pouring for someone in a more formal situation, you want to use two hands to hold the bottle and that’s considered more polite and more gracious.
John Puma: 16:35
Timothy Sullivan: 16:36
Yeah. Are you, are you ticking off all the stories in your past where you might’ve broken the
John Puma: 16:40
there are definitely a few more of these, uh, rule violations, um, that I’m guilty of. Unfortunately. Yeah, not nothing too bad. I don’t think. And again, I think that for me, and I think that in, in Western culture, sometimes the thought is when somebody is going to be pouring something, if you you’re getting out of the way, if you pick up your glass, you’re giving a. wild card to the proceedings. Like w the, you know, are you holding in the right spot? Is it making easier or harder for them? We’re sitting in there stationary. It’s easy to pour. And I think that’s the Western mentality stay out of the way and just let people do what they need to do, and then you’re going to grab it. So that’s a thing to get out of the habit of doing and pick up that glass and, and, and offer it up and offer it up and meet them halfway. As you pointed out.
Timothy Sullivan: 17:28
Yeah. And again, it’s not a requirement, but if you think about it, sake cups that the standard ochokos are pretty small. And if you’re across the table, leaning over, trying to. For the bottle and hit that little sake cup on the table. It’s pretty splashy and you know, not, not easy to do so lifting the cup up and meeting them halfway makes it easier for them to give you the honor of pouring for you. So it’s, it’s a great gesture to do. And depending on how formal the situation is, I mean, we go everywhere from like, I think like something like, a Shinto religious ceremony is the most formal. Then you have wedding receptions and things like that. They’re very, very formal, very structured. And you have to adhere to these rules a little bit more strictly, but if you’re out with your friends on a Friday night, having fun, you don’t have to worry about this stuff all that much. But again, as we said at the beginning, it’s good to be aware.
John Puma: 18:24
And I assume that if you’re out with your friends or, you know, even at a more formal function as the night wears on some of these rules may become a little more suggestions.
Timothy Sullivan: 18:36
Absolutely. Yes, you can have. A slacking off of all these rules as the night progresses and people have more sake and you’ll see people in the corner pouring for themselves and, you know, uh, it’s, it’s much more casual as things go,
John Puma: 18:54
Um, so when, when the tie starts to loosen
Timothy Sullivan: 18:57
When the jackets come off,
John Puma: 18:58
and the jackets come off, then, then we know what’s going on. Okay. you know, we’ve been talking about, uh, rules for drinking sake so much, and I do want to keep going, but I think we should take a quick moment here and drink a little sake ourselves.
Timothy Sullivan: 19:14
Yes. So we have a delicious sake that we picked up to taste today and be our backdrop for sake etiquette. John, would you like to introduce the sake that we have?
John Puma: 19:27
Sure. This is the Takenotsuyu Junmai and it’s from Takenotsuyu Shuzo jo. And this is a Junmai from Yamagata and I’m not overwhelmingly familiar with this brand.
Timothy Sullivan: 19:43
I’m very familiar with this brand.
John Puma: 19:45
wow. Nice. All right. So I’m in, I’m in a slight disadvantage. Um, the alcohol percentage is 15. The rice type is Miyamanishiki and the rice milling percentage is 60%. So it’s mill down to 60. Remaining and the sake meter value that measure of dry to sweet that we’d like to talk about it on the show is plus two. So this basically has the same gravity as water then, right?
Timothy Sullivan: 20:11
Well, zeros exactly.
John Puma: 20:13
Oh, zero is
Timothy Sullivan: 20:13
Yes. Yep. So this is Just a tick above that.
John Puma: 20:17
Just a tick up of water.
Timothy Sullivan: 20:20
So I, I always say quick shorthand, the closer you are to zero with this SMV number, the less useful it’s going to be to tell you how sweet or dry it is, the further away negative or positive you are from this number. The more likely it’s going to be useful to you. So we’ll just put a pin in that and, and see if we come back to it. So,
John Puma: 20:38
all right. Uh, and I believe the English word for this brand and brewery is bamboo. Do.
Timothy Sullivan: 20:47
Not mountain Dew.
John Puma: 20:48
Not mountain Dew bamboo do
Timothy Sullivan: 20:51
So, uh, Takeda is the Japanese word for bamboo and Sue. You must be dew. Yeah. So mountain Dew would be yama no tsuyu. All
John Puma: 21:07
uh, I really hope somebody makes a sake. I
Timothy Sullivan: 21:09
John Puma: 21:10
day now Yama no tsuyu and we’d have to get it on principle and have it on the
Timothy Sullivan: 21:14
And it’s going to be green in color.
John Puma: 21:16
Oh, no, please. No,
Timothy Sullivan: 21:19
all right, well, I mentioned that I am familiar with this sake. I have met the president of take no tsuyu many times. His name is Mr. Aisawa, and he is a big cheerleader for the sake industry. And for Yamagata sake and, uh, this, sake we have is one of the. Few exports to the U S they don’t have a huge amount of sake over here, but this is their flagship sake. So I’m really excited to try it with you. And I know you’re a big fan of Yamagata, but this is going to stray a little bit from the standard profile for the Yamagata sake. We talk about so much.
John Puma: 21:57
Timothy Sullivan: 21:59
All right. Well, Let’s get this open.
John Puma: 22:02
Let’s so. Very clear, no haze going on slightly off, uh, off clear as far as color goes.
Timothy Sullivan: 22:24
John Puma: 22:25
That’s my, that’s my takeaway. That’s, you know, very, very high. What do you like to say? hay, almost like a little bit of, hay,
Timothy Sullivan: 22:33
Yeah. golden straw. straw color. Yeah.
John Puma: 22:37
nice. Yeah. but it is a very clear Meaning there’s no obstructions. There’s no Hayes to this at
Timothy Sullivan: 22:42
Yep. And so we would say Transparent. suit. Yes. So that means there’s no particulate in there, but I have it on good authority that this is one of those underground muroka sakes. So this has not been charcoal filtered. So that gives us a, just a hint, just a whisper of a golden color to this sake.
John Puma: 23:00
Timothy Sullivan: 23:02
Let’s give it a smell.
John Puma: 23:03
Hmm. Tim you, you told me this was not going to be typical. Yamagata fare, but this aroma tells me otherwise
Timothy Sullivan: 23:13
this has, has some fruit here, but we have to see the whole thing through before we judge, but we do have some fruit on the nose
John Puma: 23:24
so much melon Yeah.
Timothy Sullivan: 23:29
Yeah. I mean, I also pick up on some of the crisper fruits, like maybe a Asian pear or. A little bit of a apple aroma as well.
John Puma: 23:41
I can get that. I get down with that.
Timothy Sullivan: 23:45
And I think in the back, there’s a back note of something, just a hint of something earthy. This isn’t a juicy fruit. Pineapple tropical aroma. It’s there’s some melon. There’s some apple and I get just a hint of something earthy in the back note.
John Puma: 24:06
Um, well, let’s let’s find out if the, uh, flavor aligns up with the aroma.
Timothy Sullivan: 24:13
John Puma: 24:14
right. I see
Timothy Sullivan: 24:15
see what I mean? Yep. So the palate is overall dry and this is more of a rice forward sake on the palate. It’s that? Gentle Miyama Nishiki is coming through and it is not that fruit bomb that we usually expect. It’s not that juicy tropical pineapple guava, you know, super melon that we get on the most classic. Yamagata sakes. This one is a little bit, earthier has just a hint of rice, but it’s very balanced and restrained. Don’t you think?
John Puma: 24:53
Yeah. I mean, it’s, it is earthy with that hint of rice, like you mentioned, but those fruit notes that you had in the nose are there, you know, it’s still present. It’s just part of a larger whole, uh, I want to say that the, the earthiness and the rice are more, more prominent in the flavor than they were in the nose. Uh, they have, they take a much bigger role, but those two experiences kind of compliment each other. Yeah.
Timothy Sullivan: 25:19
So that was, that was just why I was saying this isn’t the most classic Yamagata sake out there, but it is really delicious. Really well-crafted. And one funny thing about Mr. Aisawa, the president went the very first time I met him was at a sake trade show and he is very gregarious and very outgoing and he always wears a head to toe. Japanese kimono when he shows up at trade shows and he, he brought from Yamagata to New York. He brought bottles of his brewing water that had been bottled in 1.8 liter bottles. And he made you try the water and then try the sake. He was so proud of his brewing water that he had it bottled. And he brought it along with him.
John Puma: 26:04
That’s wonderful. That’s, That’s, pretty great. I’ve only had experience like that once. And that was, um, it’s actually in Japan at a bar, they had gotten some, sake that they were very excited to. And they also got, magnums or isshobins of the water used to make the sake, the water from the brewery. And they would, they would have us try the sake and then have the water. And it was, it was, it was fantastic water, a very nice experience. I had never had that before. That’s really fun.
Timothy Sullivan: 26:38
Yeah. If you’re not visiting a brewery, it’s kind of rare to have that experience. So that’s a wonderful thing to be able to taste the water and the sake side-by-side. We always say that when you pick up a bottle of sake, 80% is water. So it has a big impact on the impression of the sake.
John Puma: 26:57
Absolutely. now my understanding is that there is one more rule
Timothy Sullivan: 27:03
John Puma: 27:04
and we kind of already violated it Tim.
Timothy Sullivan: 27:07
we did, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t count for industry tastings. And that’s what I’m filing this under an industry tasting.
John Puma: 27:14
all right. All right, everybody heard it. You heard it from Tim. This is an industry tasting. And if you’re drinking along at home, you are also exempt from any sort of, Uh, indicators for when you’re allowed to start
Timothy Sullivan: 27:25
Yes. rules. and regulations are suspended listening to this podcast.
John Puma: 27:29
All right. Uh, now having said that, w what is that rule? What is that? That last big, last big one,
Timothy Sullivan: 27:36
Yeah, there’s, there’s a big one, out there and it has to do with the way we end our podcast every week, which
John Puma: 27:45
one could argue that maybe we’re supposed to open the podcast, but we don’t. it’s. a it’s it’s.
Timothy Sullivan: 27:52
Yeah. So what we’re talking about is our big kanpai at the end and kanpai of course, is Japanese for cheers. And this is very important when you go to even more formal events, like a wedding reception or something like that, is that everyone does a group kanpai or a group cheers, to start the drinking. And in order for that to happen, you have to wait until everyone has their sake in order to do the group kanpai And once that happens and everyone has compiled at the same time again, group harmony, everyone starting at the same time, then the party can begin. So there’s a lot of shuffling and a lot of pouring and a lot of making sure everybody is set before you do that group kanpai. at the more formal events, a kanpai is actually a little speech. So there may be words being said from the company president or from the groom’s father or something like that. Yeah. They may be very emotional speeches about the event and what’s going to happen and congratulations, and then kanpai boom. You’re off to the races. So japanese events start with a kanpai we end with a kanpai
John Puma: 29:10
oh, here we go. We’re we’re Americans. We get to do things a little bit differently. Uh, and I remember though, when, when that’s happening, that speech is happening. You, you, you hold your sake. You do not do not drink it. no matter how long the speeches.
Timothy Sullivan: 29:22
John Puma: 29:23
Hold on to it. I think a lot of Americans or other Westerners are familiar with this from wedding customers. It’s very, very normal for, uh, for everybody to have a drink for a speech from the, like maybe the bride’s father or something like that. And, and then you would not sip your champagne or what have you, until afterward. This is just a same idea, just a little bit more, um, structured.
Timothy Sullivan: 29:48
Yes. And I would say it’s ingrained for, more casual gatherings as well. Like if I went to dinner in Japan with a few friends, I wouldn’t start drinking until we had our cheers to kind of kick things off. So it’s again, just like the not pouring for yourself. I view it as pretty ingrained in society, even among close friends.
John Puma: 30:10
Excellent. Good to know. Good to know.
Timothy Sullivan: 30:13
All right. Well, do you feel more prepared now to go to Japan?
John Puma: 30:21
It just makes me more bummed out that I can’t go. I, it, it makes me excited. It makes me want to go more it’s you know, just like, uh, we’ve talked about this before that my wife and I had been studying Japanese and that she’s much more proficient than I am. This like that is, is something that gets you ready to be there. And it really gets you to want to get over there really gets you excited to go back. And, and so, yeah, talking about this just gets me, um, you know, I’m like, I’m ready. Let’s go. I want to test out all of these things that I’ve learned.
Timothy Sullivan: 30:54
Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, it’s, it’s also a wonderful way to learn more about Japanese culture. When you, when you study people’s customs and rules and etiquette and manners. Informs you about the way they think and the way their groups are structured. And it helps you learn about Japanese culture in general. So I think it’s something really worth studying. If you want to watch the video that John mentioned at the beginning, I did a lecture on sake etiquette at the Japan society, and I’ll put that YouTube video in our show notes. So be sure to check that out and you can watch a whole. Lecture on all the nuance of sake etiquette. If you want to dive a little bit deeper.
John Puma: 31:36
yeah, so there’s a lot to it. Yeah. I learned so much from that. And I’m really glad that we decided to share a lot of that with our listeners this week. I think it’s a fun topic.
Timothy Sullivan: 31:47
I do too. And There’s a lot more to learn. so maybe we’ll do etiquette part two in the future, who knows
John Puma: 31:53
There’s so much,
Timothy Sullivan: 31:54
much. All right. John was great to taste with you, and I want to thank our listeners as well for tuning in. We really do hope that you’re enjoying. If you would like to show your support for Sake Revolution, the best way to help us out right now would be to back us on Patreon. We are listener supported show, and we appreciate our patrons so much. The donations that we receive through patreon are put exclusively to the production costs of our show, editing, hosting, et cetera. And we’re so grateful for everyone who takes the time to back us on Paychex.
John Puma: 32:30
And, uh, to do so you’re going to over to patreon.com/SakeRevolution. Where you can see, uh, our tiers will be offer. And one of our offerings of course, is our monthly happy hour where you guys get to drink with us and, and. pick our brains a little bit about any sake topics that you might feel. Uh, I feel that we don’t touch on enough or maybe you just want more information about, or you just want our opinions either way. It’s a fun time. but that’s not the only way to support us. you can also. Subscribe, wherever you download your podcasts. And of course, leave us a review. It really does help get the word out about the show. Uh, also, you know, tell a friend that’s the old fashioned way still works.
Timothy Sullivan: 33:16
Good. old word of mouth. I love that.
John Puma: 33:17
Good. Old word of mouth.
Timothy Sullivan: 33:19
And as always, if you would like to learn more about any of the topics or sakes we talked about in today’s episode, visit our website. That is SakeRevolution.com. And there you can see all the detailed show notes.
John Puma: 33:34
And if you have sake questions that you need answered, we have an email address just for you. Reach out to [email protected]. Uh, so until next time, please remember to keep drinking sake until the speech is done and
Timothy Sullivan: 33:54
Kanpai! John. That was so polite of you. Good manners.
John Puma: 34:01
I’m learning every day.