Monday, March 17, 2014

飲み放題 (nomihoudai)

Also important in the language of nomikai is nomihoudai, or All-You-Can-Drink.  The nomi- part of it means drink, while the -houdai is the all-you-can.  (Tabehoudai, All-You-Can-Eat, is the other essential to know in dining out.)  I sometimes hear people abbreviate nomihoudai as nomihou.

An average izakaya charges maybe ¥1200-1500 for two hours.  Western foreigners often go nuts over this in an "oh my God I can't believe it" kind of way, at least at first; I certainly did.  Every American I know here cannot fathom an American establishment implementing nomihoudai and staying in business for long; just the nearest college population alone would set off bankruptcy alarms.  But of course we probably exaggerate in our minds the extent to which our home country is alcoholic.  

I've seen a few blogs and vlogs about nomihoudai and I agree with them that generally the Japanese people I know don't go all out to get their money's worth in this situation.  It's just usually the more economical option if you're going to be drinking for a couple of hours.  And, being of Asian descent myself, I don't think I'm being unfairly stereotypical or a self-hating racist when I say that Asian people, on average, don't drink as much and probably can't tolerate as much alcohol as some of the larger-livered people from other parts of the world.  (I don't mean it disparagingly to anyone, and I know there are a lot of heavy, hard-slamming Asians in this world. . .)  Anyway, it is nice that the Japanese food and drink industry can offer this and continue to offer it.

Some videos about it--the first two are by a couple of fellow expats I've never met.

About the following video, I agree with almost all that's said. . .Only things that are different in my experience are:  1) the nomihoudai deals I encounter are a bit less than the $35 that he mentions early on in the video (but maybe it's because I usually go to less expensive places),  2) I don't see beer vending machines much any more, mostly only in hotel lobbies, and 3) in parts of Tokyo there seems to be a visible effort for the law to discourage underage drinking.  It's certainly not a "crackdown" or any such thing, and undoubtedly teenagers are drinking, but things don't seem to be as lax as they were ten years ago.  All that said, I'm not disagreeing with Moteki Texan in what he's saying, just saying that we encounter different things, have different experiences.

 And this video is for the dancing

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