Drinking in Japan (Discussion)

Discussion in 'All Things Japanese' started by Juan White, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Juan White

    Juan White Registered

    Greetings! I am currently working on my Thesis, about drinking culture in Japan and its relation with tourism. The main aim for the project is to answer the following question: Is the Japanese drinking culture compatible with tourism? I´ve been in Japan only once as an exchange Student for a semester. I do have my own experiences about the topic. But I think those are disrupted due to the fact that I speak Japanese and have many native friends.

    I would like to initiate a discussion in order to discover your perception and opinions as a tourist. Any kind of healthy and constructive comment is welcome. If you are a little bit lost just try to answer this question: Did you enjoyed drinking in Japan? Why or why not? *Note If you have never been to Japan, I would appreciate to know what is your perception about drinking in Japan.

    I am really excited about reading your comments! Thanks for your time.
    *Note 2: I am new to this forum, so feel free to move or delete this thread if against your rules.
  2. nice gaijin

    nice gaijin Resident Realist

    Could you explain what you mean by "compatible with tourism?"

    I was also an exchange student in college and found the drinking culture to be a shortcut to getting to know people and "breaking the ice," particularly with nomihoudai events arranged by "international/friendship" clubs and circles to welcome new members, but shortcuts don't have much staying power, and relationships built during the vulnerable moments of inebriation tend to wear off with the effects of alcohol; if common ground and interests aren't unearthed in that window, the relationship wouldn't have much of a foundation to stand on. In other groups like my karate circle, where relationships were already established on common interests, going out drinking was more of a team-bonding exercise or in the event of someone leaving, an opportunity and excuse to be emotional. I think that is one of the core elements that make alcohol such a popular drug: it gives people permission to have and express feelings without being held completely responsible for what they say and do under the influence.

    Most of my experience with alcohol in Japan is not as a tourist, though a couple years ago I went to the "Golden Gai" in Kabukicho, at the invite of a couple acquaintances that were traveling. Honestly, I felt almost like I'd been transported out of modern Japan, as the cheap booze, ambience, open-bar karaoke and nearly complete lack of Japanese people on both sides of the bar felt more like drinking in a tourist trap in Thailand or the Philippines, or a throwback to a Japan still recovering from WW2.

    It's hard to talk in platitudes, but I think that in general, Japanese people are more likely to go drinking with acquaintances than going out to meet new people, which is unlikely to give them an opportunity to mix with visitors. Western style bars (like Hub) and tourist watering holes exist in Japan, but alcohol doesn't seem to be much of a cultural bridge that facilitates international exchange.
  3. Juan White

    Juan White Registered

    Thanks for your comment!
    I will explain myself a little bit more. For compatible I meant if Japanese drinking culture is enjoyable for tourists. I want to discover the opinions of both sides (Japanese and tourists). The main aim for my thesis is to deep into this piece of culture, and its role in the tourism market.
  4. jt9258

    jt9258 後輩

    Why do you assume that only tourists use this site?
  5. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

    What do you mean by "Japanese drinking culture" to begin with?
  6. Lothor

    Lothor Sempai

    I first visited Tokyo in 1996 on a 2 night stopover (I was flying from Australia to the UK), spoke no language whatsoever, and on one of the evenings very hesitantly went into an izakaya, where I was treated extremely well by the staff and surrounding customers and had a lovely time. I would say that three factors make 'Japanese drinking culture' (however you define it) enjoyable for tourists.

    1) An inherent tendency of Japanese people to be hospitable to tourists (a recent survey put Tokyo in the top five cities that are friendly to tourists, and from the experiences my mother has every time she comes over, it deserves it), possibly based on the idea of treating the outsider (soto) with great courtesy.

    2) My early experiences living in Japan suggested that Japanese people can be let down their guard more with a foreigner than with other Japanese people. Now that I know what is going on, that doesn't often happen!

    3) There has recently been quite a lot of self-promotion by the Japanese about how wonderfully hospitable
    they are, which started with the 'omotenashi' speech when Tokyo was applying for the Olympic games. (Japanese TV is full of Japan boasting about Japan). I imagine that some Japanese people now feel it is their duty to be hospitable because they have been told this how Japanese people are.

    In short, provided a tourist has the confidence to go into a strange bar, possibly with no English signage or menu, then they are likely to have a good time.
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  7. DavidChiang

    DavidChiang 先輩

    What else, that's probably self-evident, otherwise he wouldn't leave his money there!
    The most effective tool for general people's stupidity is always and everywhere TV. There is hardly a country in the world whose TV program is as foolish as it is in Japan!
    The reasons for this are obvious, they are purely commercial in nature and have nothing to do with respect. Strictly speaking, Japan has no drinking culture at all except the one that was taken from the old days. Personally, I would never drink with people I don't know. Honestly, I wouldn't feel well if too many people take care of me. In my experience, life outside of big cities is much more relaxed and manageable. If this results in acquaintances that can be considered honest and stable, then I would be willing to drink with such people. I would therefore strictly reject any dubious invitations!
  8. jt9258

    jt9258 後輩

    Where do you get this from, you really have a bad attitude towards Japan?
  9. Glenski

    Glenski Just me

    I would like to meet your adviser and know how the heck he/she felt you could put together a thesis with such methods as this. I'm appalled and flabbergasted.

    Master's thesis or doctoral dissertation?
  10. cez

    cez 後輩

    I'd assume that the OP's first language is Spanish where tesis can simply refer to any kind of academic paper. Given the banality of the question it was most likely just for an undergraduate paper.

    Not that I expect the OP to ever come back and add anything to the discussion...
  11. Glenski

    Glenski Just me

    It doesn't matter to me. It's still a bizarre way to gather info for any publishable doc, even a classroom report.
  12. Michael2

    Michael2 後輩

    Probably too busy enjoying the "non-existent" drinking culture!

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