Japanese for Douche

I hope one of my roommates walks in right now.

The apartment is empty and I’m typing away, bumpin’ some J-Pop, and eating peanut butter straight from the jar. I am a writer. This is my method.

But the J-Pop is new. The J-Pop is accompaniment while we discuss one of the greatest Japanese traditions Americans have ever bastardized: Sake!

Let’s be clear. Sake is Japanese. Sake bombs? American. The centuries-old rice wine that has adapted to survive recessions and wars, connotes family and community, and has strong ties to the Shinto religion? Japanese. The decades-old tradition that was invented by sailors*, connotes college freshmen and cheap sushi, and has strong ties to drunken shouting in public places? Made in America, baby (*Unsubstantiated, but google it. Quite a few people seem to think it was).

Now, I know nothing about sake. Sure I’ve read the Wikipedia page and perused a few articles on it’s history, but sake as a classy sipping drink is neither where my strengths nor my interests lie. I’m here today because I recently went out for sushi with some coworkers and found out that there are still people out there who do not know how to sake bomb!

This is preposterous! What were you doing in college? How do you eat sushi? Sober? I’m sorry, but the fish you were too lazy to cook plus the cheapest carb around, all wrapped up in a salty, crunchy piece of green paper? It’s clearly drunk food. And with drunk food comes drunk, stupid, asinine activities. So without further ado…


1. The waitress will bring you large bottles of some Japanese beer (often Sapporo) and little white carafes of sake. Watch out, they’re hot!

2. Pour your beers. A sake bomb generally requires about a third of a beer, but I’ve seen people go half a beer and all the way up to full. If this is your first time, start easy. Remember, this isn’t a gentleman’s sport. It’s a chugvomitman’s sport.

3. This part is important. Pour someone else’s sake. And let someone else pour yours. Remember the whole “connotes family and community” thing I mentioned before? This seems to be the only noble thing to have seeped through into the American update. Even so, under our supervision, the tradition has deteriorated from “Here, loved one. Let me pour your sake as a gesture of kindness and togetherness” to something more like, “Dude! Duuuude! Don’t pour your own sake! Such a noob, jeez! Pour MINE! Give me MY sake! MINEMINEMINE!”

4. If you have chopsticks (fingers crossed that you do; there’s no reason to ever sake bomb outside of a sushi joint), place them parallel, or forming two sides of a triangle, on top of your beer glass. NOW, balance the shot of sake on top of them.

5. SLAM THE F***IN TABLE! … Sorry, got carried away. Oftentimes, a cheer is done first. It can be a rhythmic “Sake, sake, sake!” or a 1-2-3 count in Japanese: “Ichi… Ni… San… Sake!” Then there’s my personal favorite, the call and response: “When I say sake, you say bomb: Sake!”, “Bomb!”, “Sake!”, “Bomb!”, “SSSSAKEEEE!”, BOOOOMB!”. Whatever chant you choose, on the last syllable of the last word, everyone slams the table with their fists, causing the shot glass to jump, the chopsticks to fall, and the shot of sake to plummet into the glass of beer.

6. Chug up. It tastes weird. Not only do the tastes react to each other questionably, but the hot sake and the cold beer don’t have time reach a temperature equilibrium as you drink them. This can be really confusing to your mouth and throat (This is a strict “No ‘That’s What She Said’ Zone”, so back off!). Oh, and watch out for the “sake somersault”. I won’t ruin the surprise, but it’s a doozy!

And that’s it! Six easy steps! Never embarrass yourself again. And definitely never again let innocent restaurant-goers enjoy their Japanese food in peace! Perhaps we’ll explore sake’s classier side another day, but this is all the time we have right now… so J-Pop! Play us out!

(Technical difficulties are keeping me from embedding the video, which I know makes for a very anticlimactic end to the article. But trust me. Click through. This is better than that Ludacris video.)

~Don Julian

P.S. Fine, it’s as good as the Ludacris video. Maybe not better.






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