Did you know that there are certain rules around drinking sake at a Japanese-style pub or restaurant? These rules aren’t too difficult, either, so why not take a moment to learn them?

1. Pouring drinks When pouring someone a drink from the tokkuri (serving bottle), you generally hold it with your right hand, using your left hand to support the bottom. With the back of your right hand facing up, gently pour the bottle. Only pour people sake if there is a small quantity remaining in their cup.

2. Receiving drinks When another person pours a drink for you, you should hold up your cup with your right hand and place your left hand lightly on the bottom of the cup to support it. Once they pour your drink out, take a sip before placing it back on the table. Placing the drink right back down on the table can be taken to imply that you refuse the person’s offer, so can be construed as rude. If you cannot possibly have any more alcohol, try the following:

– If someone is about to pour your drink, place your hand over the cup and say “I’m full.”

– Leave the cup full (emptying your cup is taken as a sign that you want more)

3. Handling the pouring bottle

– Do not shake it

– Do not peer inside it

– Do not drink directly from it

– Do not mix its contents (even if receiving more of the same sake, do not mix it into an existing container)

Additional etiquette on Japanese sake:

http://www.japansake.or.jp/sake/english/howto/manner.html