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Using wooden sake box (masu) 2020/1/15 18:12
I was staying at a hostel in Hiroshima during the New Year. Guests were served sake in a pretty wooden box/cup (masu) which we can bring home as a gift. I'm not into sake but I love the experience drinking with the fragrance of the hinoki wood, so much that I bought a bottle of sake upon returning.

And today I found out that the box is meant as a vessel for the cup, not to drink directly from there! I was in denial since it was served by Japanese staffs in Japan, so it's not customarily wrong.

My guessing is since the cup should not be washed with soap due to preserving the quality of the wood, hygiene is the main reason why it's not used as a direct drinking cup especially in a public establishment. The hostel might serve it directly since the cup is new and personal.

Hope to have more insight on this, at least so it won't be embarrassing when I brag about the cup and sake to friends :)
by Moccy  

Re: Using wooden sake box (masu) 2020/1/16 10:54
u I found out that the box is meant as a vessel for the cup, not to drink directly from therev

That's not necessarily true. Yes, there is a style of serving in which a glass/cup is placed in the masu and the glass/cup is filled to overflowing, with the extra sake filling the masu and later drunk from it. However, sake can also be poured directly into the masu, with no glass/cup involved.

It is true, however, that wooden masu aren't commonly used in restaurants, because yes, wood an be hard to keep clean. I wouldn't say you're taking any serious risks using one yourself, though, but in the same way that restaurants are likely to shy away from giving diners wooden spoons or forks, most restaurants that use masu use ones that are lacquer or plastic.
by . . . . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Using wooden sake box (masu) 2020/1/16 11:18
You can drink out of the box (masu), there is nothing wrong with that. However, the shape of it makes drinking inconvenient. Some restaurant serve sake in a glass in a masu, to catch any over-served (spillage), in which case you first take few sips out of the glass and pour whatfs in the masu into the glass.
by Nonn Bay (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Using wooden sake box (masu) 2020/1/16 12:47
Thanks for the clarification! Phew, glad I can enjoy the cup how I meant it to! The cup from the hostel was brand new, so that's why they served it directly into the cup.

The shape indeed was a bit tricky to drink it from. I sipped it from the corner edge, but I kind of appreciate it since I can sip it a little while whiffing the wood aroma. But I think it's not very good for unfiltered sake, it somehow left a slight whitish residue at the corner.
by Moccy rate this post as useful

Re: Using wooden sake box (masu) 2020/1/16 16:21
I remember being offered some sake at a shrine in Arashiyama and it also was in a wodden masu, which was not personal. At least I donft remember that you were allowed to bring it with you.

But yes, nowadays it seems sake is mostly drunk out of glasses or porcelain cups. (And probably also some other material).

Enjoy your sake!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

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