I’m sure this question’s answer is something along the lines of “these words are used in several different ways, so it’s all correct.” Nevertheless:
In Level 10 vocab, お酒 is given the primary meaning of “Sake,” as in the specific beverage. A note is made that it can also refer to alcohol generally. Then, 日本酒 is given the primary meaning of “Japanese style alcohol.” A note is made that one big type of Japanese style alcohol is sake (specific rice wine beverage), so it can mean that specifically too.
I’m pretty flexible with just going with the flow on WK. I understand that it’s tough to put into exact words how vocab is used in context. I’ve decided to ask a question about this one because it directly goes against something I thought I had learned by accurate observation when I lived in Japan, and I want to make sure I am not picking wrong words due to confirmation bias. I plan on ordering lots of alcohol in Japanese and don’t want to be misunderstood.
When I first arrived in Japan, I tried to order “sake,” the specific rice wine drink. I pronounced it correctly but the server was extremely confused. We looked at a menu together (I was able to read and pronounce hiragana and katakana but had no context for use). We determined that I was trying to order 日本酒. I quickly picked up after that that “お酒” on menus just meant alcohol generally, which is why he was confused when I kept just asking for alcohol, and 日本酒 was what I wanted if I wanted the specific type of Japanese rice wine that Americans (and maybe other foreigners) call sake.
WK’s explanations definitely allow for my understanding to be ACCEPTABLE (i.e. the vocab says お酒 “can” mean alcohol generally, and 日本酒 can specifically refer to sake (specific type of Japanese rice wine)), but it seems to just accept those as possibilities. My experience, through 2.5 years of probable confirmation bias, was that those words were ONLY used in those ways.
Please don’t think I am asking why WK is wrong. I understand that it is something I am missing about how the words are used in the real world, and I’d love to hear what your experiences are on this topic.