The Japanese love to drink, the nightlife is quite lively, most of the big guys who leave work go straight to an izakaya for a beer and sake. Maybe you want to enjoy drinks in Japan and a good social gathering. In this article, we are going to talk about tips and rules for drinking in Japan.
Drinking is part of Japanese culture that there are even meetings for this purpose called nomikai (drink meeting) and bonenkai (end of year meeting). There are no mandatory rules when it comes to drinking, but there are things you can do to improve your interaction with Japanese people and make a good impression.
Going on an Izakaya after work when invited by colleagues is almost mandatory. Socializing is important to having a good life in Japan, even if you don't drink alcohol, accept the invitation to go out together after work.
Rules for drinking in Japan
You must be at least 20 years old to drink alcohol. – This is the law established by Japan. Each country has a minimum age, in Brazil it is 18, in the USA it is 21. Avoid problems by obeying the rules, because things are serious there.
When going home. – Be careful not to miss the train, check the latest timetable of the train you usually take. If you don't have to pay a taxi, which is very expensive, or stay in a capsule hotel.
Betsu-betsu. – Name used for account splitting when drinking in a group. Each one needs to be aware of how much they spent and pay the correct individual amount so they don't have problems. Sometimes someone in the group may offer to pay the entire bill.
Don't drive. – If you have a car, there are drivers who can take your car to your home. If you invent driving drooling, prepare to pay a fine of 20 thousand reais and lose your license for up to 5 years.
Don't go out talking to strangers. – It is not common to interact with people who are already in a group of friends or who want privacy. Avoid talking to strangers or engaging in other people's conversations. That doesn't mean you can't greet bartenders and others, just be discerning.
Tips for drinking with friends in Japan
If you are drinking in a group, the first thing they usually order is a beer. Things like wine and sake are left for later, there are no rules regarding this, but that's what usually happens.
The custom is always for someone to pour the drink into their glass. You can do the same thing by filling your friend's beer glass, he will probably do the same thing with yours. Some try to show humility by refusing you to put the drink in their glass, insist a little longer.
Remember to start drinking only when everyone is ready, so they can drink together. Before starting to drink, the group of friends will often shout kanpai, and you can sometimes hear an otsukaresama desu if they are co-workers.
when doing the kanpai greeting, make sure your glass is lower than the glass of a person who is superior to you, like your boss at work. We wrote a detailed article talking about the meaning of kanpai, you can read it by clicking here. In some places your friends can play games to see who drinks the most, a popular game is called Takendo Takendo Nyoki Ki.
Other tips for drinking in Japan
There are restaurants and bars that offer the nomihoudai where you pay a price and can drink freely for a time ranging from 1 to 3 hours. Other places like karaokes also often offer this option. Pub doesn't always mean bars in Japan. Be careful not to confuse a bar with a hostess or clubs where women sing Enka.
The leading beer brands in Japan are Asahi, Kirin and Sapporo. There is also happoshu, a low-malt type of beer. Sake usually has between 10 to 20% of alcohol. There is an alternative to wine and beer called chuhai which usually has seasonal and fruity flavors. It usually has an alcohol content between 5 to 8 %.
Hope you enjoyed these little tips on drinking in Japan. We would be happy if you share the article and leave your experiences and tips in the comments. We recommend that you continue reading the following articles: