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Posts Tagged ‘nomikai

Romance meter: 23%
Conclusion: What was different from a gokon is that the number of male and female participants were not balanced, and one of the male participant was engaged. But I much prefer nomikai to gokon, it’s much more relaxed and I felt comfortable (may be from too many cocktails)

Genre: drink in a dark posh bar in a basement of Nishi-azabu
Show time: March 4th
Running time: 80 min
MPAA rating: R (just because the bar was playing DVD of Sex and The City with Japanese subtitle which made Sex and The City look like a porn. Japanese language is not very attractive when it comes to talking about sex)

Guys team: 2 guys including, Mr.CEO, and Mr.Player
Girls team: 3 girls including myself


My friend and I joined this little nomikai in a cute little bar. After we order our drink of choice, my friend introduced me to her friends: Mr.CEO soon to be married in the summer, his ex-girl friend, and Mr.Player, whose first words to me, ofcourse, was “Have we met somehwhere? I can swear we met somewhere before!” haha. We exchanged business cards, and Mr.CEO actually gave me 4 business cards, he either REALLY wants me to contact him, or he REALLY wants to show off his status in the society, or both. After about an hour, I was ready to go home, I was tipsy from the cocktails and sick from the conversation.

We talked about music, movies, and tokyo life, but the main topic of the conversation is konkatsu (marriage hunting) and I absolutely have to write down some of the dialogues from this conversation.

Diaglogue 1: Lecture on konkatsu

Since Mr.CEO has just got engaged, the main topic was of course, konkatsu (marriage hunting). Who is the perfect person for marriage? I think he also wanted to discuss his opinion on this topic, since his ex-girlfriend has just started dating with a really nice, handsome, honest guy, who happen to live in a country side and works for his father’s local restaurant. Being such a nice guy that he is, Mr.CEO wanted to lecture his ex-girlfriend that she has to marry someone with status, financial stability, and wealth,… well, just like him… to be happily ever after (in Japan)

“Marriage, is not continuation from love, marriage and love are totally different things. My fiance and I got engaged based on this rational decision making” Mr. CEO said and everyone, except for me, nodded.

“Love is just lust, but marriage is reality and you gotta live with your choice for the rest of your life. And the reality is, you need money, wealth, and status,” Mr.CEO says, sipping his whiskey and lighting a cigarette.

“From what I see, no man is good enough for marriage unless he earns at least $150k a year. I mean, think about it, you need at least $150k a year to have a decent life… oh, by the way, I’m making about that much now… may be a little more.”

No need to comment on his salary, but I couldn’t help to say “well, I still think marriage should be defined around love and commitment to be really happy! I mean, what’s a life without love?” to which Mr.CEO reples, “Ok, let’s put it this way. Would you want to live with a loving husband who tells you “I love you” everyday, in a tiny apartment with $50k salary, or would you want to live with a husband who calls you “pig” but in a large apartment with $150k salary? The answer is so simple, isn’t it?” he sips his whisky and the others nod to his question. “Yeah, it’s simple, of course I prefer the loving husband who loves me, what kind of life is it to have all the materialistic things you have, but to be called ‘pig’ by your husband!!”

“awww, you are still young. When you are about my age you will see. Men like us, we can make women happy in a different ways even without love. You would know what men like us are worth, when you are given a nice big apartment, security, and stability.” …. “How old are you?” was the only thing I wanted to ask him, I was not a bit interested in his konkatsu lecture anymore. Oh, he was 28 years old.


free drinks and hangover next morning.

The 2 men paid for the bill saying “Women shouldn’t be paying for her drink” and they offered to even pay for my cab home, but I declined the offer, and chose to walk home with my ipod, singing…

All the women who are independent
Throw your hands up at me
All the honeys who makin’ money
Throw your hands up at me
All the mommas who profit dollas
Throw your hands up at me
All the ladies who truly feel me
Throw your hands up at me

– Independent woman, Destiny’s Child


While Nomikai is generally understood as a drinking party,  Gokon is more like a dating party.

Nomikai is held to mark of a wide range of events, including completion of major projects, attainment of set goals, foundation anniversaries, school sporting events, entry of new coworkers, and retirement of senior employees… or no reason at all! Nomikai is wonderful because they’re simply an excuse to drink, and in Japan, there is rarely a time where you need a reason to go drinking.

With whom?
Nomikai is a part of the culture of most places of employment, from schools, nightclubs, to just casual friends. Anywhere from three to twenty people usually participate in a Nomikai.

They are most often held in restaurants or izakayas (dining-bar), usually with everyone seated at one large table or occupying a separated section of the venue.

How much money?
In some places, it’s customary to pay as you go, but a lot of parties will order a set course with an all-you-can-drink plan (usually 2-3 hrs time limit). The prices for Nomikai participation may vary, but a lot of restaurants and bars in Japan advertises their dinner and dink set courses for Nomikai parties. The price for these courses vary anywhere from $25 – $100. But for $25/person, you can easily get 5-6 course meals and 2 hrs- all-you-can-drink beer party.

After Nomikai
The Nijikai (Japanese: 二次会) is the afterparty. After the main nomikai is concluded, the surviving attendees often move to different bars. As attendance is not at all mandatory for nijikais, they usually are comprised of groups of friends or people interested in doing a lot of drinking, including bar-hopping. Heavy drinkers go on to Sanjikai, the after-after party for more drinks.

Things you should know about Nomikai etiquett:

  1. Generally, one tries to avoid filling one’s own glass, but instead offers to fill others’ for them. This is especially true when there are variance in the participant’s rank, age, sex. This relationship is often reciprocal and the junior and superior take turns in filling eachother’s glasses. For example, Japanese women often pour drink into men’s glasses, and the men would fill women’s glasses (most likely trying to get them drunk)
  2. Another point of etiquette which differs from many Western business cultures is that it is quite alright to get drunk at nomikais. In the same vein, things said and done under such circumstances are not taken as seriously, are forgiven, or are ignored upon return to the workplace (or classroom, or club). Consequently, there are sometimes frank and emotional displays between coworkers, regardless of rank, which may not occur in a normal workplace context. This is a place Japanese people get rid of shyness and surface formality, and are allowed to he honest and frank.


It’s another cold drearily day in Tokyo.

But tonight, I’m going out to a “Japanese drinking” (Nomikai), which is not exactly a gokon.

This term, “Nomikai” was applied to tonight’s event by my friend, who is happily in a relationship herself.  She kindly organized a little drinking party for her single girl friends to meet her single guy friends. So… what’s the difference between, gokon?

The answer is very ambiguous, but there is a little difference in the subtle nuance of the words Gokon and Nomikai. Simply put, Nomikai sounds less agressive and more innocent than gokon. Nomikai is just a “casual get together for drinking” and it could be any part of the culture of most places of employment, from schools, nightclubs, to friends.

Anyway, I’m bit tired of gokon for now, so I hope to enjoy this non-aggressive, peaceful casual drinking party. Hmm, this diary inspired me to investigate more on 1) Nomikai culture and 2) question of whether people in relationship go to gokon or not.



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From the Western perspective, what goes on in the Japanese dating scene is really different and interesting! In this shy nation of Japan, meeting new people is almost institutionalized, dating and romance is littered with conventions that protect people from social awkwardness. What are dating conventions and rules in Japan? How do the shy Japanese people meet new people, develop affection, and express their passion? As I research and answer these question, I will write a real time report of what's going on in the Tokyo dating scene, or the "Tokyo Meet Market" here in this blog. I hope you enjoy my blog and a trip around Tokyo Meet Market with me!

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