Bonenkai is “forget-the-year party”
December is a busy season for the year-end parties, which is called Bonenkai literally “forget-the-year party” in Japanese. They are held to forget the difficulties and unpleasant memories of that year, and to look forward to success in the next. Groups of friends or colleagues enjoy a lively evening of eating, drinking and games at Japanese pub called Izakaya and in Karaoke boxes.
What is Izakaya?
Izakaya is Japanese style pub, where you can enjoy all kinds of foods and drinks. It is best to go to an Izakaya with a group of friends. Izakaya is casual, so you can talk and laugh in a loud voice.
It is said that Izakaya originated during the Edo Period, when shops selling liquor by measure began allowing customers to drink it right there instead. Izakaya used to have red lanterns hanging outside their door and were called Akachochin after these.
The food in an Izakaya is just as important as drinks. Izakaya food menu has a wonderful variety from casual appetizers to sushi or steak. There is usually seafood like Sashimi, grilled fish, or shellfish. They may have Yakitori, which is chicken on skewers grilled over charcoal. Some places have grilled vegetables or sakads.
Regarding drinks, a lot of people start with beer and then switch to mixed drinks, soft drink, Shochu, or Nihonsh. Shochu is a strong distilled liquor that can be made from rice, barley, or even sweet potatoes. You can drink it straight, with soda, on the rock, or with heated water. Nihonshu is just another way to say sake.
Nowadays, with the spread of chain Izakaya, they are often used for office welcome and farewell parties and parties for university students.