The other day, I complained to my classmates that I didn’t like the fact that most of our student parties involved in alcohol. Even worse, there were many 1st or 2nd year students who did not seem to care about the fact that they were drinking illegally.

My Japanese friend said, “Don’t worry! It’s our “nomunication.”

As I rolled my eyes, he explained the word “nomunication” was a slang formed by combining two words “nomu” (to drink) and “communication.” As we all could have guessed, the word represented the Japanese drinking culture – people socialize around a bottle of sake/beer. And, this is definitely something I don’t like.

I do not consider myself a drinker, and I do not like the taste of most alcohol drinks. I never had a problem back home when I refused a drink at a party or alike, but it is hard in Japan. Here, it seems hard to not involved alcohols at a social gathering. My friend says drinking is considered a “standard” social activity here. Every one goes to izakaya (Japanese taverns or pubs) after school, work, and even for “extra” work. Do not expect to find a job in Japan that does not involve drinking. Also, you cannot refuse a drink from your boss or someone at a higher status than you because that is considered very rude (‘_’).

I don’t think I could ever get into this “nomunication” thing, but I think I can understand why this has become such an essential thing in Japanese culture. From a foreigner’s view, the Japanese always seem to be too stiff, polite, and tend to maintain a calm face regardless of their actual inner state. However, after a few drinks, everyone become “loose” and more comfortable to open up to others. After all, we can use “getting drunk” at an excuse for any thing, right?

I have heard stories of crazy drinking games (and have seen some too). I have noticed drunken sleeping in every corner of the station on Friday night, and sometimes I have to be careful not to step onto them when I walk by. This part of the Japanese culture is probably too much for me.