Beer, Sake, Shochu, Sleep......Repeat!

Beer, Sake, Shochu! Drinking is such a big part of Japanese life. People drink to build relationships with colleagues and business clients, and of course to relieve stress or relax. Many people, especially businessmen, take full advantage of these drinking opportunities often ending the evening with a pavement pizza, and passing out on the streets. We see it all the time!

Conversation highlights

  • What our podcasters like to consume during a night out on the town.
  • the growing popularity of craft beer in Japan.
  • Do people drink Sake/nihonshuu at the beginning of a night out?
  • Work parties in Japan being a big part of business culture. “nomunication” - drink and communicate.
  • What are some unique customs when going out for drinks with colleagues and friends?
  • Why a drink with co-workers and clients is important in Japan.
  • The infamous Nomihodai (All-you-can-drink) plans and why they work in Japan.
  • Are Japanese people strong drinkers?
  • Drunken businessmen getting wasted and passing out on the streets and subways.
  • Comparing alcohol related violences between Japan, the US and the UK. 
  • Alcohol making Japanese people more friendly and open.
  • The best time of the year for our podcasters - The Sapporo Beer Garden in the summer.
  • Jingiskan - A very popular dish of barbecued lamb originating from Hokkaido.
  • Types of Shochu, which is a strong potato based spirit.
  • Cocktails unique to Japan and the growing popularity of Highballs.
  • Japan is so safe that businessmen feel comfortable passing out in the streets, and women walk alone through parks.

The most unique drinking custom is the Nomihodai (all-you-can-drink plan), which sounds pretty crazy and would never work in countries such as the UK and the US, but the Japanese don’t take advantage of this. When our podcasters first arrived in Japan, hearing about this drinking plan brought shock and excitement, resulting in many an early night of debauchery and blackouts. 

Throughout the years, the Nomihodai is still a firm favourite on nights out, but the drink-as-much-as-you-can mentality has slowly worn off. Nowadays, as the guys have aged, so have their drinking habits, having a preference for sipping good quality Sake or a couple of glasses of tasty craft beer over dribbling into empty shot glasses in the dingy nightclubs of Sapporo at 4am. Getting old and boring is real!

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