Raise a pentagon masu sake cup and shout ‘kanpai’ to celebrate a special occasion! The masu is hand-crafted from Japanese cypress, which is regarded as a great luxury in Japan. It has a delicate, woody fragrance, and is said to complement the flavour of traditionally brewed sakes that are aged in cedarwood casks.
When drinking sake from cypress cups, first gently inhale the aroma of the sake mingled with the cypress wood. Then take a small sip, letting the sake linger on your tongue before swallowing.
The Japanese word for pentagon is gokaku. This sounds like another Japanese word, goukaku, which means ‘to pass (an exam)’. Pentagonal shaped masu are therefore a traditional good luck gift to give someone taking an entrance exam or applying for a new qualification.
Japanese cypress, or hinoki, contains an aromatic essential oil. As well as being fragrant, it has natural anti-bacterial properties. To care for your cypress masu, wipe with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly. If it needs washing, hand wash only under running water. Do not use soap or detergent. Towel-dry as much as possible, then leave to air dry completely and store in a dark, dry place.
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