Japan // Food and drink //

Drinking etiquette


If you’re out drinking with Japanese friends, always pour your colleagues’ drinks, but never your own; they’ll take care of that. In fact, you’ll find your glass being topped up after every couple of sips. The usual way to make a toast in Japanese is “kampai”.

In many bars you’ll be served a small snack or a plate of nuts (otōshi) with your first drink, whether you’ve asked for it or not; this typically accounts for a cover charge being added to the bill. It’s fine to get blinding drunk and misbehave with your colleagues at night, but it’s very bad form to talk about it in the cold light of day.

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