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How to Drink Like a Japanese Salaryman

October 19, 2018


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I’d like to start this blog post off with information about Japan and culture and all, but I think I might have to focus on just how excited we are to do something with Suntory, and how much this means to me on a personal level.

When I was in my late teens, I was thinking about what I’d want to do with my life. Video games – JRPGs more specifically – were something I was interested in pursuing. I love the Final Fantasy franchise, and I thought that one day I could move to Japan and help with writing the stories, which could use some work. Character and plot development were always weird, so I imagined that I could go in, look at the script, ask some questions, and help create something that makes more sense (which is why I love FFXV so much, because it’s got the best storyline out of any Final Fantasy in terms of character development and reasonable plots).

Lost in Translation came out around when Martina and I started dating. I remember watching it in a theatre close to University of Toronto, and it really reignited my interest in moving to Japan. While at first I just wanted to go because of my passion towards a job that I quite honestly might never have got, after the movie I wanted to live in Japan for the difference in culture. Sure, Lost in Translation doesn’t cover everything that Japan has to offer, but it offered something different than what I was used to, and I really wanted it, even if both characters in the movie were alone and miserable.

Bill Murray’s character in Lost in Translation is doing ads for Suntory, and his line is “For special times, make it Suntory Times.” It’s one of the most recognizable lines from the film. So, when we heard that Suntory wanted to work with us, holy shit did a spring of emotions well up within me. Remembering how I felt back then, remembering my reinvigorated interest in coming to Japan, holy fuck I could barely contain my excitement. I didn’t even know what they were interested in promoting, but I think I shouted out YES WE’LL DO IT immediately.

Of course, it didn’t go that way, because we take our product placements very seriously and won’t promote something we’re not interested in, but this video makes perfect sense for us. Go to any Izakaya when you’re in Tokyo and you’ll see a lot of salarymen drinking. We’ve seen it countless times. We’ve even done some podcasts talking about the drinking games we saw them play. So for us to do a little primer on how to drink like a salaryman in Japan is perfect. We explained the towels. We explained highballs. We explained why Japanese beer has so much head on it.

To be honest this last point was very surprising to us, and to Dan as well, because we all thought that Japan poured shittily when we first came here. There’s so much head! And, interestingly, when we spoke with some of our Japanese friends, they said that when they went overseas they thought people poured beer shittily there, because there wasn’t enough head. Isn’t that fascinating?! I was thrilled to learn that, and thrilled to be able to share it, and even more thrilled to be able to do this with Suntory.

Bill Murray, we’re friends now obviously. Let’s hang out. I’ve got some more things to share if you’re interested. And to everyone who isn’t named Bill Murray, if you’d like to see some extra scenes and bloopers, we’ve got those to share as well, if you’re interested, below!




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How to Drink Like a Japanese Salaryman


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  1. I haven’t drank like salarymen do, but I have seen some after one too many drinks.
    I have also been to a few nomikai’s with my co-workers after events and it’s a very interesting environment. I was coached to leave my drink mostly full to show I was good and didn’t need more, and to go around pouring drinks for others. These methods don’t work with my co-workers, even with a mostly full glass they look at me and smile kindly while gesturing for me to hold out my glass. Which forces me to drink so I make space.

    Unless you say you can’t drink you aren’t getting out of a nomikai without imbibing quite a bit

    2 years ago