One cannot simply escape Japan’s 飲み会 (drinking party) culture. Whether it’s with your colleagues, clients, or casual acquaintances, drinking parties feel essential to get everything done in Japan, from making friends to business deals.
We shouldn’t really be relying on alcohol to talk to other people. Regardless, many cultures hold on to the idea that a quick glass of liquor helps muster our courage or eases a particularly hard day, and Japan’s drinking culture is no exception. They even came up with a clever word for it in the 80s: 飲みニケーション or nominication (drinking communication). It’s a clever combo of the verb 飲む (to drink) and the English word “communication.”
The COVID-19 pandemic basically forced all of us to turn into social recluses for the unforeseeable future… if you think that will stop Japanese people from nomikai-ing, think again.
Happy hours allow us to ease tensions, reveal our true selves (not necessarily our best selves) and ultimately, develop rich bonds with others. In other words, alcohol is the perfect truth-teller to lubricate social relationships.
Whether we like it or not, Japanese nomikai culture will probably go on for as long as Japanese people believe grabbing a beer (or four) is essential for employee morale. That “after-work” drink with your coworkers might even be an unspoken requirement for some traditional Japanese companies.
If you’ve got to show your face to climb the corporate ladder, do remember that no one can force you to drink that cup of sake if you don’t want to.
The COVID-19 pandemic basically forced all of us to turn into hikikomori (social recluses) for the unforeseeable future. Japanese authorities are calling for pubs and izakayas to close and for people to stay home. It has more or less killed every chance to socialize. But if you think that will stop Japanese people from nomikai-ing, think again.
Since mid-March, Japanese news outlets noticed a new word popping up on social media: オン飲み. It’s short for オンライン飲み会, or “online drinking party.” Thanks to the booming popularity of Zoom, a trendy teleconferencing tool, this new word was quickly outshined by the expression Zoom飲み, literally “drink on Zoom.”
— 伝説の嘔吐バトル (@nankaikiou) April 18, 2020
“My glasses were like this when I woke up after falling asleep doing a ZoomNomi.”
A good reminder protect your glasses before getting drunk.
— itodai (@itodai_haven) April 18, 2020
“I had a Zoom drinking party and convinced my friends to wear character faces. It was so fun. Highly recommended.”
Can someone tell me how they managed to drink their beers with those masks on?!
Virtual nomikai are “called” ZoomNomi
The Japanese expression という is convenient for defining or describing what something is known or referred to as. It’s built with the particle と and the verb 言う (to tell or say), but you can go further and even replace と with other particles such as こう (this way), そう (that way) or どう (what way).
Here are three ways you can use this grammar point.
- To name something
Zoom飲みというのをやった = I did what is called Zoom-nomi.
- To define something
Zoom飲みというの新しい言葉 = That is a new word called Zoom-nomi.
- To emphasize something
Zoom飲みというオンライン飲み会は人気があるらしいです = Zoom-nomi, (that is) a type of online drinking, seems to be popular.
|飲みニケーション||nomi nikeeshyon||nominication (drinking helps communication)|
|オンライン飲み会||onrain nomikai||online drinking party|
|オン飲み||on nomi||online drinking party|
|Zoom飲み||zoom nomi||drinking party on zoom|
|ながら||nagara||while (doing something)|
|という||to iu||named/that is/that way…|
|人気がある||ninki ga aru||be popular, have popularity|