What is an IZAKAYA?
If you want to get a glimpse of the everyday life of Japanese people, it is a must that you go to izakaya. There you can experience a more authentic Japanese energy. Most Japanese people enjoy and have a good time drinking at izakayas after work or weekends.
Izakaya is a kind of a restaurant or a bar offering various alcoholic beverages and food that goes well for one’s entertainment. They are opened until the next morning, probably around 5:00 am, so if you miss the last train, you can stay there and drink all night long. Please note that most of izakaya does not prohibit smoking, which is banned in many countries, so if you want to avoid passive smoking, please ask the staff if they have any private room before you drink.
Keywords to take note to get the best out of your Izakaya experience:
You might hear the following words at an izakaya. Here are some of the commonly used terms. Please keep these words in mind while drinking.
< For beginner >
“toriaezu” which means “for now”, is a commonly used phrase. “nama-chu” means a middle-sized jug of beer. When customers like to order a jug of beer as their starter drink, they usually use that phrase.
all you-can-drink You can drink as much as you can.
This is a small appetizer which is served while you are waiting for food that you order. It is like a charge for your seat or service charge.
You can also say “omizu” It means a glass of cold water. People ask for it or the staff serves after the last drink to sober up quickly.
It means “check” or “bill”. This is especially used by middle-aged men who are regular customers of izakaya shops. You can also say “okaikei”
You can also order many kinds of drinks such as beer and soft drinks. Here are some popular food at izakaya.
Edamame, hokke no hiraki, karaage, yakitori, tori no nankotsu
Don’t forget to say “kampai!”, which means “Cheers”, before drinking.
[Shime no ramen]
Some of Japanese people eat ramen noodle at the end after drinking. “shime” means “at the end”.
It means bar-hopping. “hashigo” means going around one place after another. You can say like this, “hashigo-suru?”
It is a beer-flavoured non-alcoholic drink. Some people mix it with shochu (which is a type of Japanese alcohol based on sweet potato, barley, rice, buckwheat) and drink it.
You could say izakaya is like a pub or bar. However, it is a little bit different from western bars. There are also different types of izakaya, so I can’t find the right word to describe it. For the Japanese people, izakaya is not only a place to enjoy drinks or food but also chill out with their friends or coworkers. Young people talk about their dreams, many salarymen release stress to survive hard-working days while struggling to get by on their allowance that are given to them by their wives. You could hardly say anything about the Japanese people without an authentic experience at izakaya.
Izakaya is regarded as a microcosm of life in Japan, so you can see daily life of Japanese people and feel it. Anyway, let’s find our way through, but try not to drink too much!
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