４．酔っぱらっても、性格はあまり変わらない。しかし、やっぱり勇気が出るんだな。酒やビールは英語で「liquid courage」という。「液体の勇気」という意味。笑 僕の勇気が出たので、もっといい写真とビデオを撮れるようになった。
Two nights ago I went out to an izakaya with a couple of friends to eat and have a good time. (An izakaya is essentially a restaurant that Japanese go to to eat and drink alcohol, normally as a group.) My friends spoke in English, so I was able to relax. I tried many different foods for the first time, but perhaps the strangest was what is called "torisashi", otherwise known as "tori no sashimi", otherwise known as "raw chicken". Most Japanese don't eat raw chicken, so it probably seems strange even to most Japanese.
We went to an izakaya named Aburiya Koubou. It was small, but rather than a weakness, I see its size as a strength. It makes for a warm and intimate atmosphere. Most izakayas tend to be small, although there are large ones as well. I suppose there may be similar kinds of places in the US, but I've never been to any. American places tend to be bigger. In the video above, you might not notice that there is a bit more seating on a second floor, but otherwise what you see is what you get.
One of my friends enjoys drinking, so after we were done eating, he invited me and my other friend to go someplace else to drink some more. Since he is an experienced bar-hopper and my other friend didn't drink anything, I was able to go without worrying about anything. Usually I don't drink alcohol, but I wanted to test my limits, hang out with my friends, and take some good pictures and videos, so I went for it.
Kagoshima is called a rural area (inaka) by most other Japanese people, but seeing as how it is much larger than my hometown of Olympia, I can hardly call it rural. If I were to compare it to another city in the US, I'd say it's closer in size to Tacoma, Washington or San Antonio, Texas. I was surprised by the amount of office workers (otherwise known as "salarymen" in Japanese) while I walked along the street.
Before going back home, we met a couple of Swedish guys and had a short conversation. The two of them said they were traveling around Japan for eight days. One says that it was his first vacation in 15 years! It might seem strange, but we ended up talking about politics and social issues. (;^_^) Maybe that was my fault? Anyway, I hope they have a good time in Japan!
I learned a lot from this experience.
1. I realized that if friends in Kobe ask me to go out drinking with them, I can drink a little without any effects. Drinking alcohol together with others brings people together in most any country, but I think it has particular importance in Japan. If you asked why, I'd say it's because although Japanese people tend to be closely guarded most of the time, when they go out together and drink at an izakaya, they will let down their guard and open up. That's true even if they don't get drunk. You can see it as a designated setting for making friends and getting to know each other more. Of course, it's okay to refrain from alcohol, but I think people who drink tend not to trust those that don't drink so easily.
2. Going to an izakaya alone might be difficult, but it would be a good learning experience. When I looked at Aburiya's menu, I couldn't tell what kind of food they had (no pictures), so I had to have my friends order for me. If I go alone, then I'll need to take my trusty smartphone with me to look up the words.
3. Kagoshima is not a rural area.
4. I don't change much when I get drunk. I was a bit more brave, though. That's to that good old liquid courage, I was able to take some pictures and videos that I might not otherwise have taken. If you're interested in seeing me drunk, I posted a video above with me jabbering on. It's boring, but maybe some people might find it interesting.