Saturday, October 24, 2009

My First Nomikai Session

Short note: This entry contains images of alcoholic drinks. Does that make this a non-halal entry?
A nomikai is a drinking party phenomenon particular to Japanese culture. Nomikais are a part of the culture of most places of employment, from schools to nightclubs. They are most often held in restaurants or izakayas, usually with everyone seated at one large table or occupying a separated section of the venue (taken from Wikipedia).
It might be something surprising, and I am actually shy to say that after more than two and a half years in Japan, I have never attended any nomikai yet. Not until my research lab organised the first nomikai for the lab this year. It was held last night to celebrate the success of everyone in their respective universities entrance exams, job exams and internship trips. Fifteen of us were there, including two lecturers and a lab assistant. The venue was まぐろ居酒屋さかなや道場 (Maguro Izakaya Sakanaya Michiba), just a stone's throw from Nagaoka Station.
Kirin's Ichiban Shibori, one of the two most popular beer in Japan.

To be honest, I am not a drinker although my tolerance for alcoholic drink is satisfactory, I would say. Like they say, you got to adapt yourself to the environment you are in to fit yourself in that group. So, I guess getting used to nomikai session is one of them when we are living in Japan. I am not saying I dislike it, although in the beginning I felt a little bit awkward. Perhaps it was my first time.
As the session progressed, I slowly managed to mix into the group and I think I have grown some interest in nomikai session haha.
As usual, every nomikai starts with a 乾杯 (kanpai) session.
Talking about adapting ourselves into a new environment, all but only two people didn't smoke. I do not like to stereotype people, but a smoker generally gives me a bad impression about that person, not matter how close that person is to me; even my Dad. However, as long as they do not smoke in front of me, I think that is okay.
However, the lecturers and my classmates were smoking one cigarette after another throughout the nomikai session. That is one of the few things I dislike about nomikai. Other than that, everything is fine. How can it not be fine when you are served with these food.
Fresh sashimi. That tuna is just for decoration purposes and it was dead when it was served. I hope animal activists will not flame me after seeing this picture haha.
Steamboat containing chicken, scallops, meat balls, tofu, Shitake mushrooms, carrots, leeks, bean sprouts, and fried flat tofu.

Fried chicken with green chillies, topped with sweet and sour sauce.
Maguro (tuna) pizza. The name itself is enough to tell you how nice it tasted.
Final meal of the day - porridge with eggs that we cooked in the steamboat pot.

There were two other dishes which I missed taking their photos - baked scallops with capsicums and chicken salad. Damn nice-lor. Thinking about them alone already made me feel like going there again one day haha.
One of the Advanced Course (専攻科) students started the nomikai session with some short words. It was during that time Professor Kondo Toshimi, one of my research lab lecturers showed his trademark body language.
#1 Adjusting his long fringe which always go out of shape haha.
#2 Putting his palm on his ear will collect more sound wave going into his ear haha.
#3 Kondo's famous hand gesture whenever he talks.
Told you that is his trademark haha.

After that, every one of us gave a brief introduction to the rest and it ended up with the lecturers. Prof. Kondo started his introduction by telling us proudly that he has been teaching in Nagaoka Kosen for thirty-four years. That is even longer than the total of years I have lived on this planet wtf. Prof. Sasaki meanwhile is quite new, as this is just his forth year in the college.
Mr Sugiyama, the lab assistant however, has been working there for seventeen years. By the way, he is a real drinker. While people were stil busy distributing our first glass of beer, he had finished his glass of beer =.=
Mr Sugiyama, who looks so much younger than his age.
Talking something funny, eh?
Kimura scooping the rice porridge.
One classmate of mine, Takao who was sitting to my right was a heavy drinker and at the end of the night, I guess he was a bit drunk.

You cannot take away the peace sign from Japanese.

To wrap up the nomikai session, we were given the chance for a last order. I went for peach mango, which was not bad.
At the end of the night, I was supposed to join a few of my classmates to go back to our hostel by bus. However, two of my seniors was nice enough to offer me a ride back since they are heading to the college as well. That is something I did not expect. Perhaps Japanese are not that bad after all. It is just that sometimes they do not show their friendly side that obvious.
Ohh yea, total damage for the night was ¥4,000 per person.


Ben Foo said...

yoparattenai jan...
some more convert to ringgit -.-;
more nomikai to go, when you are in japanese society :)

calvin said...

@ ben foo:
haha, to be honest, i felt a bit dizzy after the session. i think i would be drunk if i drink another few glasses.

i converted it to ringgit 'coz my mom will always ask me how much a thing costs in ringgit whenever i tell her in yen haha xD

this is just the first of the many nomikai from now onwards :)

=chuan guan= said...

wow..nomikai looks really fun..but seem to lacking of something.i wondered... 130 per person..really damage go clubbing only..haha

Kae Vin said...

lol~ so expensive. don convert la. i think still okay la.

ur senior/classmate really looks like jap lol~!

Kae Vin said...

in malaysia also got beer session la actually. sometimes even hard liquor lol.

male bonding kononnya. XD

calvin said...

@ =chuan guan=:
what is that something which is lacking?
well, you cannot do direct conversion; otherwise you will never survive here >.<

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
yea, i think you know it as well that we shouldn't convert the price whenever we go abroad, especially to developed countries because the standard is just too different. ¥4,000 is like RM40, which i think is pretty normal.

of course they look like japanese =.=||

male bonding session in malaysia? i know you love that kind of session as it sounds really kaevin-ish =P

akatsukiotoko said...

You will gotta know lots of things from a person on the dining table in an isakaya.

Yes, especially one`s drinking habit...

a. Lu said...

Nice session! (excluding smoking!)
The damage would be about in the States. Not bad!
No female classmates? Too bad!

calvin said...

@ akatsukiotoko:
i am curious to see them show their other side in the coming nomikai sessions =P

calvin said...

@ a. lu:
i suppose yo do not smoke as well, do you?
too bad i am in the mechanical engineering department, so there are no girls >.<