How to enjoy drinking with your boss and colleagues in Japan.

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Sep 30, 2010 16:33
I have to say, it's rather difficult, because of many duties!

As I wrote elsewhere ("Happy BBQ shocked me."), the atmosphere of drinking party is very different between Europe and Japan.

First of all, at the beginning of drinking in Japan, you have to pour beer to your boss's glass. Why? Because you're supposed to do so. In that country, person of lower rank MUST serve drinks for person of higher rank. This is part of expression of politeness in Japan. Thus, If you don't, your boss may feel a bit uncomfortable.

After serving beer, you'll have Kanpai 乾杯, just like "Cheers!" in English. One consolation in Japanese style of drinking is here. In China, if one say "乾杯!" (kanpei) to you, you must finish your glass and prove it's empty by making it upside-down. One by one, everybody at the table would say "乾杯" to you; It's endless. We use the same word, but the rule is different. You don't have to drink up a glass of beer after 乾杯 in Japan.

Then when drank a glass of beer, your boss might want pour beer into your glass. Generally speaking, you can't decline this offer. Again, this is part of expression of politeness. Person of lower rank cannot easily refuge the offer of another glass of beer from person of higher rank. If you feel really too much, you could decline, but it is acceptable only with lots of excuses. Then, your boss may say an ironical remark on you. You have to stand it.

When your boss's glass get empty, you are supposed to serve another glass of beer or something else, sake or shochu instead. You can't leave your boss's glass empty. It's your duty to find another drink. Even if you're drunk, you should pay attention to all the glasses of persons at higher rank perpetually. This means you can't relax.

Sometime, depends on what kind of group you are in, your boss or elder colleague may order you to do Ikki-nomi 一気飲み. This is just like Chinese 乾杯, and you must drink up a full glass of beer or sake in one breath with everybody cheering. When this happens, it is also rather difficult to decline. This way of drinking sometimes causes terrible acute alcoholic poisoning. It is dangerous.

Occationaly, 無礼講 Bureiko is held. This is a drinking party in which you don't have to express your politeness to your boss. Purpose of this event is to relax younger colleagues. But be careful, even in Bureiko, there is a limit of acceptable rudeness.

People in Japan tend to be drunk much than Europeans. They laugh, sing, scream and hug! You may enjoy totally different, unusual faces of your boss and colleagues, as long as you have a strong head.
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