Monday, February 05, 2007
A great little bar in Nodagawa, a couple towns away from Miyazu. Jun and I came here last week for a drink and a bite. My vodka soda was watery, as most cocktails in Japan seem to be, but went well with our simple white plate of Camembert cheese and crackers. It was a very New York moment with the small green garnish, lemon wedge, and a small saucer of honey. Next, I had "The Pam"- the plum wine spritzer. It was a moment of internationalization when I saw that several brands of sake and plum wine that I have purchased in New York (the little liquor store on Prince St. in Nolita) were the same ones in this tiny bar in this tiny town!
I was asking Jun about bar culture in Japan- how I think it's weird that if all chairs/stools are full, the bartenders turn away customers in the fear that they wouldn't be able to serve each customer with the care and time that each deserved (versus the American philosophy of "pack 'em in" as tightly as you can, turn the music waaaay up, and get those shots started!) There was a group of girls all sitting together, very made up and fidgety, and there were guys sitting at the bar, and taking over the other grouping of couches. (This, I also pointed out, is anti-social so very rarely are couches seen in bars- and for the obvious reason of having the mess when drinks get spilled on them.) After a little while, a guy stood up and announced the start of the "gokon"- or Japanese dating party!!
This made for a very amusing evening of people watching (and me explaining the concept of "speed dating" in America). The guy had everyone split up and mingle with eachother. At first it was very awkward- listening to these very formal introductions or whatever, but then the drinks were flowing and the chattering and giggling and shrieking got louder and louder. Every once in awhile, the host would cry out for everyone to switch partners and it would start all over again. However, some of the guys didn't know that we weren't part of the party, and he came up and introduced himself to Jun. The host was like "No!! They're not with the party! You can't talk to them!" and everyone laughed at the guy, but they all sort of gave us annoyed and shamed looks as in "then what the hell are you doing here then?!?"
After awhile, we left, so we didn't get to see who hooked up with who. When we were in the parking lot (Jun doesn't drink, so it was all for my benefit....) the host came out on his cell phone and was telling his friends to get there quickly because two people just left the bar and so there are now two open seats!!
more info about group dating