Sake drinking culture in Japan, you choose your cup. The waitress brings out a tray for you to choose. Regardless of restaurant. Maybe sometimes the glass is more chic. Regular customers have their own favourite sake cups.
You almost never pour sake for yourself. Even if the decanter is right in front of you. Someone has to serve you, while you hold the sake cup up with both hands. Never leave the sake cup on table. If serving straight from the bottle, the label must face up.
All chopsticks must rest on the chopstick stand, if not using. Never stick it in the bowl of rice. In any chop-stick cultures, including Chinese dining etiquette, never stick the chopsticks into the rice, while not in use, as they resemble joss-sticks used in ancestor worship.
Japanese chefs entertain with small talk. Later in the evening, we saw this Japanese couple share their alcohol and food (beef) with the chef. Beef that was from the restaurant cooked by the chef. Warm kind of feel. Everyone sits around the counter. A kappo style or open kitchen style restaurant is where the chef prepares the food in front of you. All these food preparation photos are taken while I was sitting in front of the chef, not invited to the kitchen.
Its a Japanese philosophy of being up close and personal with the chef, and food preparation and a lot of respect for the chef’s professionalism, and kitchen hygiene. Not to forget showmanship. No messy kitchens.
In a ryotei, on the other hand, is more formal, with well trained waitresses usually in kimono, boasting a tatami room and a Zen garden, as seen in Hyotei Kyoto below. These gardens are tiny, but well planned in terms of landscaping for every season, and different views from different angles, with a tiny pond. The waitresses were very accommodating when I wanted to take photos of the garden. Must be quite a common request.