Saké culture cannot be seperated from Japanese culture. But it is being adapted to this changing world in which foreign cultures embrace it, technology allows it to develop in new ways, and social interactions change.
Saké plays an important part in many Japanese ceremonies, social events and special occasions. A quick review of saké history reveals that today's amazing high-tech products are actually quite different than their predecessors from centuries past. And yet saké still symbolizes the splendor of nature and the celebration of life, just as it has for centuries.
An important aspect of saké's legacy is saké etiquette. Although saké appreciation is blossoming in western countries, many westerners are unaware of the wonderful traditional saké serving and drinking customs. These traditions transcend saké drinking and ceremony, and inform the behavior of those adhering to the old customs.
In particular, respect is the essential theme promoted by saké customs. Respect for elders, superiors, higher ranking co-workers - this is the central theme of saké pouring and toasting protocols. Respect for the rice and water which nature has provided. Respect for the craftsmanship and caring exhibited by the toji. And respect for the significance of celebrating life's important milestones.
These are the values which saké imparts to us as we enjoy saké and life itself. So enjoy a cup of sake, and be grateful for all the wonderful things in your life. Enjoy!