A few weeks ago, my city and school threw me a welcome party. It was a rather lavish event at a traditional Japanese restaurant. The Mayor of my city (!), several city officials, and my principal made speeches, before I was sent onto the stage to give one of my own (in japanese ofcourse)
In Japanese, the word for “toast” is “kampai!”. After the speeches, we
all raised our glasses and Kampai`d away.
A selection of Japanese dishes were brought out, much to my
delight. They were all amazingly delicious, each one bursting with new
interesting flavours with every bite.
Sadly, I was not able to feast on the banquet of food laid in front of me due to a peculiar social custom for drinking in Japan.
In Japan, you never pour your own drink; your friends or coworkers
pour it for you. At an “enkai” or work party, this means that higher
ups and bosses have a constant stream of alcohol being poured into
their glasses from their underlings.
As the guest of honor for the evening, this meant that every 15
seconds or so, a new person would come by my table, bottle of Kirin
Beer or sake in hand, to top me off or pour me a new glass.
This has an interesting effect because you never really know how much
you`ve been drinking since your glass always appears to be full.
Needles to say, I had a bit of a slight buzz, which as I discovered,
helps fantastically with my Japanese speaking ability.
Anyways my welcome party Enkai turned out to be a fantastic
experience. Drinking culture is completely different from back home in
Canada, but still a lot of fun since Japanese people are terrific
hosts. I can`t wait to go to my next enkai. Kampai!