Now here comes September. As many college/university will start a new semester in this month, many welcome parties take place. Here we would like to give 5 tips for the new students who are going to welcome parties in Japan for the first time.
Here are the 5 tips:
1. Be careful about your wallet
Generally, the charge is free for freshmen in many welcome parties or is mostly paid more by seniors. If the number of the senior members is not so large, however, around 1,000 yen could be charged to freshmen as well. In Japan, in fact, if you go to an izakaya (Japanese style pub) by yourself and eat along with all you can drink service, it costs around 3,000 yen. Even if the party will be held at the university, 1 delivery pizza costs about 2,000 yen. Though the charge is up to the situation, it’s better to bring more than 1,000 yen in case of nijikai (another quick party after the actual one) or transportation fee. Also, even if the charge is free, don’t forget to say ”Arigato gozaimasu” to the hosts. Next year you might be the one who welcomes the freshmen…
2. Go with or without your friends
To hosts, welcome party is a good opportunity to have a conversation with freshmen. There’s no problem to go there with your existing friends. However, do not talk only with those friends: others can become hesitant to talk to you if you are absorbed in the conversation with your existing friends only. You may feel at first lonely by joining without your existing friends, but don’t be afraid. You can surely find the similar freshmen. Let’s start the conversation like ”I’m totally new to Japanese welcome parties, how about you?” or “I’m from ○○, it’s cold/hot in Japan!” and so on. It’s also useful to ask seniors about the life around the university: recommendable convenience stores or super markets etc. They can tell you about the information which Google may not show!
3. Don’t drink too much
Chugging an entire drink without stopping to take a breath in order to just enhance the exciting mood in a welcome party is very dangerous! If goes too far, it can be led to death case. Alcohol can be easily absorbed to empty stomach, so it is better to have some light snack before the party if possible. When it comes to Otsumami, snacks or side dishes to have with drinks, please choose in a smart way. Soy bean products like Tofu, for example, contain good protein which enhances the alcohol disposal ability. Hiyayakko (blocks of tofu served cold) or Agedashi dofu (deep fried tofu) can be a good choice. Reba Yakitori (grilled liver), Reba nira (stir fried liver and Chinese chive) or liver paste are also recommendable: vitamin B2 or protein contained in the liver can help the function in your liver.
4. Don’t do silly things
As mentioned above, chugging an entire drink without stopping to take a breath is very dangerous. Also, it’s not good to grab hands or touch the body of others without their consent under the influence of drink. You may feel awkward in front of them on the following day… to make new friends, a bit courage might be required, but do remember not to go too far in a drunken moment, do not forget to be gentle during the party.
5. Dress properly
At the first encounter with a stranger, we tend to try to know about the person by her/his expression, and attire. Actually, it is said that the first impression of the person is decided within 3〜5 minutes after the first sight. It is rather difficult to see our own outfit if it’s matching or not in an objective way. It’s easy to give a comment about the coordinate of our friends, though… At welcome parties, most participants meet each other for the very first time. Therefore it’s important to consider your outfit according to TPO―Time, Place, and Occasion. For example, if the party is held at park or izakaya (Japanese style pub), too sexy attire or too much body exposure are not recommended: T shirt or tank top whose breast part hangs down and the chest widely open, shorts which exposures your thigh, or flip flop with bare feet. Sweat hoodie with sweat pants or dark suits should be also avoidable. In case that the party is BBQ at some outside park, high heeled shoes are not better either. Principally, the preferable attire is the one you usually wear in your everyday life. Most people feel freer to talk to the person with normal, casual outfit than the one dressed up too much. Here’s another tip: Though many Japanese boys like girls in skirts, be careful of how you sit when wearing that for the party at tatami room. But most importantly, note the vibes of the people in the party, and then decide what to wear for the party.
Well, how about it? Now, are you ready for the party? There’s no need to get prepared too much, there’s nothing so special only about Japanese party, just feel relaxed to have a good opportunity to encounter with new people. Finally, for the parties in any sites, you should prepare new socks. Aren’t there any holes around the thumb? Please do cross check since taking off your shoes is often required in many cases. Well if your socks are OK, enjoy the party!
Sonia Insomnia / JAPAN