Japanese Hand Blown Sake Cups | Takeshi Tsujino | Contemporary
Ceramics, bamboo, lacquerware — these are quintessentially Japanese materials. However, Japan is quickly gaining a reputation for being at the cutting edge of an entirely different medium: glass art. Glass blowing is an art defined by tradition, though in Japan, glass blowing as an art craft is relatively new compared to other countries. In studio glass making, there is a set of techniques taught to nearly every glass blower, and ones skill in the trade is dependent on the ability to perfect those finite techniques.
The Japanese have historically viewed this transparent, hard material as foreign and somewhat exotic, and they have only recently made sculptural and utilitarian glass part of everyday life. This pair of hand-blown glass sake cups reflects a unique Japanese aesthetic, in which the interior colors are extraordinarily fluid, with no two pieces ever the same. According to Takeshi-san, “High quality products have no meaning if people don’t use them.” Takashi established his glass studio named, “Fresco”, in Izumi City in 2001. When held up to the light the fluid color is beautifully illustrated in light and dark amber, with white accents, and a clear glass rim. Both pieces are in excellent condition with no breaks, chips or repairs. Dimensions: 3-0” dia. x 2-1/8”h
SAKE CUPS: There are two primary ways to serving sake. The first, and easiest way is simply to treat it like a white wine — serve it in glass as you would any crisp white wine. I recommend making smaller pours only because the Japanese feel this is more social, and supports long conversation.
The other enjoyable way of serving sake celebrates it’s role as part of the aesthetic experience of a Japanese meal. Like many aspects of traditional eating and drinking in Japan, sake consumption has its own particular aesthetic and set of specialized serving, (Tokkuri), and drinking vessels, (Guinomi).
From priceless, century-old handmade pottery to modern hand-blown glass, sake cups and bowls are celebrated, (and collected), as a core part of the Japanese experience of drinking sake, especially as part of a formal dining experience like the multi-course kaiseki meal.
On occasion, (in restaurants, mostly), sake can also be served in a square wooden box, with or without a glass sitting inside of it, overflowing with sake. This over-pouring is done to wish prosperity. If served in a box, (masu), (usually for some celebratory reason), the box is simply treated like a cup that is most easily drunk from the corner. If the box contains a glass brimming with sake, it is best sipped without hands until the glass can safely be picked up and used without fear of spilling. Once the glass is empty, the overflow can be drunk from the box and the process begins again. This overflow of sake is a wish for prosperity, so it not unusual for the server to pour a generous amount of sake.