CEOs and Drinking Parties

Well kids, we finally made it. Training is over and the great 2 week
party begins until I join the Japanese workforce for an entire year.
You may be asking yourself, how does one celebrate such freedom at the
end of a three day training session? Answers I have and answers I
shall give.
It started with a simple gathering of all us ALTs (Assistant Language
Teachers) in the lobby of our training center aka dorm with a curfew.
It was here that we took several group photographs in the usual
Japanese style (making the peace sign) and off we went. Our destination
was an Izakaya, the rough equivalent of a Irish pub but much more
involved and close. Did I mention these places are all you can drink?

All 40 of us assembled at our long tables, raised our glasses in
celebration and off we went. It was at this time, after a few tall
glasses of beer, that I absolutely had to ask the boss to have a drink
with us. Now, when I say boss, I mean the CEO of the entire
company. Yes, he was there. Before a few glasses of beer I could not
have been more nervous being around the man who A) signs my paychecks
and B) Is the boss of a company whose parent company pulls $10 Billion
dollars a year. Needless to say this man was kind of a big deal. After
some liquid courage I asked him in my best polite Japanese if he would
drink with us to which he responded "Yes, one moment please" and he ran
off into a different part of the restaurant. 5 minutes later he
returned with an entire bottle of Shochu which is real potent Korean
liquor that is very popular in Japan. He poured 4 giant classes full,
handed them to us, raised his glass and off we went.

It was certainly a highlight of the evening getting to have an informal
drinking and chatting session with my fellow ALTs and especially
awesome because I got to have a drink with the big bad boss himself.
After that the CEO noticed one of us drinking his beer straight from
the pitcher so of course he pointed and said "Do you know what Iki is?
(aka chugging)" to which our ALT friend responded somewhat sheepishly,
"yes, yes I do." Before he could even finish the boss was
screaming "iki iki iki!" and the poor man had to finish half the
pitcher right there on the spot.

God I love this country.

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