Parties in Japan

This post is about work related parties in Japan. Here are some tips that may help you.

You can never underdress for these. Ladies and gentleman, dress formally according to the season. Wearing your NYU hoodie and Crocs is not acceptable. They’re usually held at slightly upscale restaurants, so don’t eat beforehand unless you’re trying to do a mass gain. Be prepared to make a speech if you’re a newcomer; a brief, yet formal greeting is best. Don’t drink before kampai! Don’t pour your own drink. Keep an eye on the drinks of those around you. Keep the glasses of those around you wet, and your glass will never go dry.

歓迎会 kangeikai

This is the welcome party. It’s held to welcome new staff to the company.

送別会 sōbetsukai 

This is the farewell party. The first character is [send], the second is [separate] the third is [gathering or event].

歓送迎会 kansōgeikai

This is the convenient one. Rather than have a sōbetsukai in March and a kangeikai in April, why not combine them? You can send off your coworkers and welcome newcomers. Hazing is so fun! (Just kidding)

忘年会 bōnenkai

This is usually in mid to late December. People rarely speak of what happened on the following day. The characters read [forget] + [year] + [gathering].

So What?

These gatherings entail a lot of alcohol, good food, red faces and incoherent conversations. How could you complain? A little embarrassed about riding the train home while intoxicated? Fear not—you won’t be alone. While Japan idealizes its people to show self-restraint, you may notice that after a few drinks, nomyunication (from nomu, to drink; + communication) comes into play and you get to see a different side of your coworkers. Enjoy yourself!


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