Source: Gaijin Pot
One cannot simply escape Japan’s 飲（の）み会（かい） (drinking party) culture. Whether it’s with your colleagues, clients, or casual acquaintances, drinking parties feel essential to get everything done in Japan, from making friends to business deals.
We shouldn’t really be relying on alcohol to talk to other people. Regardless, many cultures hold on to the idea that a quick glass of liquor helps muster our courage or eases a particularly hard day, and Japan’s drinking culture is no exception. They even came up with a clever word for it in the 80s: 飲（の）みニケーション or nominication (drinking communication). It’s a clever combo of the verb 飲（の）む (to drink) and the English word “communication.”
Happy hours allow us to ease tensions, reveal our true selves (not necessarily our best selves) and ultimately, develop rich bonds with others. In other words, alcohol is the perfect truth-teller to lubricate social relationships.
Whether we like it or not, Japanese nomikai culture will probably go on for as long as Japanese people believe grabbing a beer (or four) is essential for employee morale. That “after-work” drink with your coworkers might even be an unspoken requirement for some traditional Japanese companies.
If you’ve got to show your face to climb the corporate ladder, do remember that no one can force you to drink that cup of sake if you don’t want to.
The COVID-19 pandemic basically forced all of us to turn into hikikomori (social recluses) for the unforeseeable future. Japanese authorities are calling for pubs and izakayas to close and for people to stay home. It has …continue reading