Tuesday, April 27, 2004
People have often claimed that a big constraint here in Japan is the very structured nature of Japanese society... and to some degree, it's true. The importation of Confucian ethics from China has made Japanese culture very much reliant on the systems of hierarchy, AKA superior-inferior relationships: parent-child, teacher-son, boss-employee, older sibling-younger sibling, etc.
So what allows people to break down some of these hierarchal barriers? Three words:
Food. Booze. Karaoke.
One of my bosses (the assistant head teacher at my school) a cool Asian Aussie guy named Adam, is being transferred, and we decided to hold a big 'ol staff party for him, both gaijin teachers and Japanese staff. The party was pretty much an almost 5 hour event of constant eating, drinking, and singing- even the 3 new teachers got into it.
I really don't hang out regularly with people from work, with the exception of my friend Sel, so it was interesting to see how my co-workers are outside of work.
Highlights of the night, in no order:
-My branch manager (he's Japanese) singing the Backstreet Boys' song "Larger than Life" so well, I had to wonder if he sings it regularly... *shudder*
-Everybody screaming the lyrics to Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger".
-Adam (half-inebriated) warning people,"Don't call in sick tomorrow... or Imma AT (assistant trainer) yo azz!" (this makes completely no sense)
-The 3 bottles of Spanish red wine I liberally consumed with a co-worker as I downed plates of kimchee fried rice
-Russian Roulette Croquettes, where one out of 6 croquettes is filled with seriously spicy hot sauce. I lost.
-One co-worker singing Enya and another remarking, "Hey, I lost my virginity to this song!" *shudder number 2*
-Another co-worker singing Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All" in a way that suggests what everybody thinks that song is really about.
Hilarious stuff, but a bit tough on the wallet. Total bill for 20 people: about $40 US each.
Looks like I'll be eating a lot of noodles until payday...
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