Drinking Sake – The Difference Among Cultures

by Brian Carroll on June 6, 2012

My experiences with Sake in sushi restaurants primarily have revolved around one concept I was "educated" on back in college - "Sake Bombing."  For those of you unaware of what this entails, here's some simple directions:
  1. Take pint glass with about 6 ozs of beer (Sapporo, Asahi, etc...)
  2. Pour shot of sake into sake shot glass
  3. Place chopsticks on top of pint glass
  4. Place sake shot glass on top of chopsticks
  5. After a brief Sake chant in group unison, slam fists on table, watch sake shots drop into beer and DRINK until finished
  6. Repeat, repeat, repeat, etc... is how it usually goes on
For some reason, I was a bit surprised to find that when I explained this concept to other travelers, they'd never heard of it.  But just as they were unaware of some Sake "traditions" in the States, so too was I about their sake-related traditions in their countries. From a Spanish and Frenchman I met, they noted that when they drink Sake in a restaurant, at the bottom of each cup, when it is empty, you will find either a woman or man.  Now the kicker to this is that when the Sake is filled, the aforementioned woman (or man) derobes, per se!  I'd never heard about that and had to look online to see that such glass sets existed for me to fully believe it.

Can you guess what happens when it's turned over?

But now that I think about it, it makes some sense to me, especially among the French...As I recall being in Paris at the end of highschool, my friend and I came across souvenir pens where a female would be dressed or not based on which direction the pen was held.

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