Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Swimming in Asahi Nomikai

Wow, what a night, I think i should really cover the topic of the Japanese Nomikai, cause its quite possibly one of the most popular things to do around here. But first, a little pretense on last night (oy vey)

So, after friday (which was also a nomikai), my weekend pretty much consisted of sleeping in, a little bit of cooking, and studying. So basically... NOTHING! I'm starting to get super pissed at my friend Davy and his tour guide/practically girlfriend who takes him to all these freakin super cool places and he comes back with all these awesome pictures from his amazing camera and makes me super jealous every time! agh!! lol, nah its cool, but i definately gotta tag along sometime, otherwise i'm prolly just gonna end up killin ya Davy. Oh shoot, but then there will be no one left to bang on my door if i oversleep... hey but i was the one ready before you this morning despite bein drunk last night

ahem... anyways, allow me to properly explain along with pretense before any of ya jump to conclusions now. First off, yesterday. So most all the schools have their school festival as well around this time of the month, and seeing as though there are friends of mine livin with me at Azalea that go to other schools in the area, i'd certainly love to check out those festivals as well. Which leads to yesterday, Gakushuin's last day of their school festival

Oh man, Gakushuin, this place is super cool. I mean Sophia is a really nice school and everything, apparently we're one of the top ranked schools (like 5th or something) as far as academics are concerned, so thats actually very cool. But Gakushuin is like... HUGE, the campus is just enormous, its like... the UofM of Japan, lol, but even cooler. Haha, ok, i love the U's campus, and actually i dont think you can really compare the two, Japan and American school is just not the same, lol. But this place is just... gorgeous, the trees are huge, and theres big wide open spaces, PLUS, theres like... a forest and a pond! Seriously, on the... i believe north/northeast end of campus theres like... you enter this little... i dont know what else to call it, its a forest. The trees are way too big for it to be a park, its seriously this wooded area that you enter and you practically leave Tokyo. The busy city and people noises disappear, and you're surrounded by greenery secluded in this small tucked away forest. In the middle of this (or maybe its actually kind on the edge) is this pond, with a bridge that runs right over top through the middle right above the water. Its like... the most peaceful place you'll ever find in Tokyo, definately gave me 2nd thoughts as to if i'm going to the right school, haha

Apparently theres also like... a horse stable or something in that same area, as well as this other old style building tucked away down in this rare forest. And it was at that small building inside this peaceful little corner of not-Tokyo that they were doing tea ceremony. I'd never been to one myself, nor do i know much of anything about it, aside from turning the tea cup/bowl around when you drink from it. But we figured what the heck, and did it. And lemme tell ya, with the atmosphere of that place, you really get pulled in everything, its almost a moving experience.

Anyways, my friend Matthew who goes to Gakushuin is in a couple circles there, so he showed me around campus, as well i got to hang out with a bunch of his friends from his circles, which also included buying the food they were selling. Oh yes, now if you were to ever go to a school festival for the first time, you'd pretty much leaving thinking it was primarily a food festival, cause all the clubs and circles set up booths in the streets, make, and sell food. Delicious food at that, mmm-mmm. Theres also events and such as well as other things that some clubs/circles do in the classrooms. ie: for Amity at Sophia here we had a speech contest... that i for some reason did

Well this was the last day, oh might i also add that i believe most school festivals dont usually sell alcohol at their school... well Gakushuin does, haha. I didnt drink any there though, but just an interesting fact. Wait... they did give me some really delicious Nippon Shu, but i didnt buy any of course, too expensive. Man, I swear that stuff is just too smooth and delicious for words sometimes. Anyways last day, so that means its time to clean up and then go party, hense... The infamous Nomikai

whaddya know, of course wikipedia has a nomikai article

Nomikai, literally translated as 'drinking party' but please do not let the tainted American views on drinking get in the way of understanding exactly what a nomikai is. A nomikai isn't a nomikai for no reason, participants dont drink just to get drunk, its a celebration. But i suppose it could be better explained as it really being a part of the culture. Nomikai is definatley without a doubt a part of Japanese culture. You of course dont even have to drink if you dont want to, but a majority of people do.

The nomikai works like this, you pay a certian amount of money, in last night's case, 2000 yen (so cheap!!), and the party consists of nomihoudai (all you can drink) on beer and a large variety of drinks, varying between different places. The beer is always one brand that the restaurant carries, which also varies between the popular brands of Japanese beer, usually Kirin or Asahi, sometimes Suntory as well. Last night was Asahi, Asahi Super Dry (my fav!) Anyways, on top of the nomihoudai, you get some food as well. No, not some, a TON, so its practically tabehoudai nomihoudai party. Eat, drink, and be merry to your hearts content.

Now its not just, heres yur food and drink, go at it, theres etiquette at these things, alot of which spawning off the sempai/kouhai relationships, which is in itself another huge topic of Japanese culture, basically you just need to understand that its the relationship between the older and younger, or higher ups and underlings... or w/e you wanna call it. For example, if your sempai (above) has finished his glass, it is a customary curtousy to refill it for him. As well of course in the case of friends, you fill each others, and what the heck, your own while your at it.

Not only that, but theres a structure to the nomikai as well. Well... at least the beginning and apparently the end, if anyone is sober enough by that time. No one drinks or eats anything until the party has officially started, which proceeds the opening comments/remarks by the leader or president or w/e of the group. Then the party itself is really... well just that, a lot of drinking, socializing, and having alot of fun with friends. Alot of time this leads to 'calls' or chanting for people to chug a drink. But its not like people are downing entire bottles of beer and getting extremely plastered withinin 10 minutes, they're like... real nice about it, usually its just a small glass of beer or whatever alcohol there is. Well of course, Japanese are kinda smaller people on average, so their tolerance is much lower, so if they did more than that it would get real dangerous real quick, heh. Which was also i guess another advantage and... perhaps something that made me a little... cooler i guess. Even if i have average tolerance in America, thats like, huge tolerance here, so everyone is amazed if you can polish off a bottle (which is like a normal/large glass in america, hahaha) Idk, apparently i've got a high tolerance but... i dont really know myself, its not like i'm trying to push myself to see how much i can drink, or competing against people or anything, if i feel i've had enough/too much, i stop. I dont know about you, but i for one am not really a big fan of throwing up, so in attempts to prevent that, i do this amazing thing trick that i seem to have though up... I stop >_<

Anyways, my generally feeling on it was just... good, lots of fun. I've been to parties and stuff a number of times in America, and... its just a totally different feeling. I could be entirely wrong on some of this stuff, but this of course cause its my opinion. I just get the general feeling in the past 2 months i've been in Japan that people are so much more responsible about alcohol here than back in the states. But then again... frat's dont exactly have a great reputation as far as it comes to drinking

Oh, and if any of my family members are reading this, which... i'm sure you are (oy what have i done?? haha) i'm 21, and officially legal anywhere too now i might add, woo, and I'm responsible about it, its not like i'm getting plastered every weekend or anything, i've actually yet to have an experience where i forget what happened, as well i've never really had any bad headache or anything from a hangover, so apparently some people would like to think i just havent had enough to drink yet, that or i guess i really do have a high tolerance, anyways i'd like to believe i'm responsible about it and have fun with the positive parts, if you think i've completely lost my mind... well sorry, i'm 21 and callin the shots 6300 some miles on the other side of the planet, haha

I did make it to class this morning by the way, did my homework this morning, as well managed to (somehow) memorize the 30 some odd kanji that were in today's kanji test. I blew through the test as well, like, no hesitation, each kanji came to mind immediately, it was super cool, i was exteremely tired though

Well i should prolly head back home, its after 6, i'll upload pictures later, as well i really need to get around to uploading these videos i'm taking to YouTube, that should be a lot easier once i get the internet in my room later this week. That which i gotta say i'm definately lookin foward to. The internet in Tokyo, as you can imagine, is super fast, i mean come on, its Tokyo.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home