Question about Manpuku's sake serving [moved from L.A. board]
I had dinner at Manpuku a few nights ago (really good, but overpriced), and ordered a glass of cold sake. The waitress served it in one of those dark grey ceramic cups w/ no handles on a little matching saucer, but she poured the sake all the way up to the brim of the cup and then let it flow over to the saucer. She did this for my friend as well. The sake was really really good, so instead of letting the sake in the saucer go to waste, I dumped it into my cup when I thought no one who worked there was looking.
Can anyone tell me if what I did was tacky in Japanese culture?
When I was in Japan a few places put a glass inside a masu and filled the glass and kept pouring until the masu was full as well. I drank the sake and poured the "abundance" from the masu into the glass.
I frequent a sake house and the over pouring of the sake into the saucer underneath is typically done during the New Year to wish the drinker an "overflow" of abundance, though it can be poured this way anytime. During New Year, the first sip is sipped directly from the glass before the glass is picked up. Picking up the glass before the first sip is super bad luck! Also for the junmai ginjo/ dai-ginjo(super-premium) the last sip is best served room temperature to fully enjoy all the nuances of the sake. The last sip is sipped directly from the saucer so that you don't "pour back" the symbol of abundance, though it's not a crime if you do.