New Year's Eve and お正月 are just days away, so I wanted to equip you with a yo-ji that you might have the opportunity to use soon! Before we get into why and how you can use it, let's check out the kanji.
You'll come across 杯 most commonly as the counter for cupfuls. 「生1杯」 is one way that you can order yourself a beverage. When it stands alone, however, 杯 is read/pronounced さかずき(sakazuki) and means "sake cup."
盤 are trays or bowls, which you might recognize from 大盤振舞, and gets included in all kinds of kanji compounds, including those for "pelvis," "cave-in," and anything having to do with disc-shaped things, like records. You can check out those compounds here.
狼藉 we already know from 落花狼藉, which is what I love about studying kanji and yo-ji, the more you learn, the easier learning gets. But for the sake of letting this post stand alone, 狼藉 is "violence; chaos; disorder."
So the "chaotic disorder of plates and sake cups?" See where this is going?
1. The aftermath of a (drinking) party.
2. A mess that evidences the cause of the mess.
3. Lying scattered about as after being violently disturbed.
In Japan, the whole holiday season coincides with 忘年会 season. A 忘年会（ぼうねんかい; bounenkai) is an end of the year party, usually celebrated within work circles, or other non-family circles. People who meet for volleyball practice, or 英会話 once a week have 忘年会s, but I have yet to come across a family 忘年会 where the extended relatives and hangers-on are brought in, and I'm a pretty accomplished hanger-on. Please, tell me about your 忘年会 experiences in the comments, so we can compare notes.
The point though, is that if you're looking to brandish your yo-ji skills in front of the people you work with, this would be perfect to work into a conversation at the end of a 忘年会 or any 飲み会 for that matter.
The other opportunity in which I've been able to use it is also a seasonally relevant one: discussing the differences between Japanese and American New Year's celebrations.
In Japan, the New Year is greeted in a jovial, not quite sober but not quite raucous way that starts at 12:00am on January first. Temples all over Japan do what's called 除夜の鐘」 （じょやのかね; joya no kane), and they ring the temple bell 108 times. In many places, visitors to the temples can take part, ringing the bell to sound the New Year.
The following day might include a trip to a shrine, but it's largely dedicated to laying around in front of the TV, eating special New Year's cuisine (お節料理) and drinking special New Year's sake (おとそ) which is like Goldschlaeger sake.
When somebody asks me about American customs for New Year's, I generally say, "Well, it's all about New Year's Eve, and not really about family. People throw huge drinking parties with their friends, watch the ball drop, hope for a New Year's kiss, and get really drunk."
If you get asked about New Year's day, try any sentence that you can think of with 杯盤狼藉. It's probably true.
Due to heavy drinking the night before, Americans spend New Year's Day asleep in houses cluttered with the remnants of New Year's Eve festivities. They're not so much hung-over as they are WRECKED!