Sake is Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice, which typically contains 15-16% of alcohol content. One of the great features of sake is to match every kind of meals, including meat dishes, sea foods, vegetables, dairy products or whatever you eat. It is particularly distinctive when you eat raw sea foods, such as sushi, sashimi, oysters, etc. I personally have never met a good combination of sea foods and alcoholic beverage better than sake. White wine leaves a smelly aftertaste. Hard liquor kills the delicate taste of sea foods. Instead, sake is modest and pushes the taste of sea foods in front.
There is a variety of sake with many different tastes. You can enjoy warm sake, cold sake or other ways of drinking sake, depending on what you eat and what the season is. Some sake has a taste of rice more. Some sake has a very weak small of alcohol, so I tend to drink much in such case. Japanese sometimes drink sake for a medical purpose. There is an old proverb, saying “Sake is a chief of all medicine”.
Sake was originally a sacred beverage to offer to the Gods, produced by mediums as a part of religious ceremonies. Even now, sake is used in some ceremonial occasions. For example, the sake, offered to the Gods, is believed to be hosted by the soul, and to be shared among people who participate in the ceremony. There is another meaning that those people can drink the same beverage with the Gods. Another example is that bride and groom swear their lifetime marriage to the Gods at wedding ceremony, sharing a cup of sake.
As Japanese habit of drinking sake has a religious background, Japanese originally believed that to get drunk is to reach a higher status of human to enable them to contact the Gods. Nowadays, nobody believes that drunk people’s extraordinary behavior is a deed of the Gods, but drinking habit remains to put down roots so deeply in their daily lives that Japanese is quite generous to drunk people, not seen in other countries.