Japanese Nightlife Etiquette | Beginner’s Guide

Japanese Nightlife Etiquette | Beginner’s Guide

Visiting Japan without Japanese can be a little bit intimidating. Especially when it comes to the nightlife. So today, we’re going to go on a pub bar crawl through this neighborhood behind us right here and discuss some tips and advice for first-time visitors to Japan. This place here is called Miroku Yokocho and Yokocho literally means side street. And it’s in these kind of places you can get some of the best food in Japan as well as actually meet really interesting characters as you’re rubbing shoulders with the locals quite literally. If in the cramped places that you find. So we’re gonna go and explore it. I say “we” because again, we’re joined by a good friend Ryotaro. He’s also here for better, or worse *evil laugher* *evil laughter*
I think it’s worse. What was that? Along the way, we’re going to be checking out a diverse range of places, from a traditional Japanese pub and a restaurant to a bar and a ramen shop. [Ryotaro] Hi guys, so the place where we are at now, has twenty– twenty six stalls. [Chris] Twenty six? [Ryotaro] Yeah, twenty six stalls. And in each of them, it’s got like 8 seats possibly. [Chris] They are pretty cramped right?
[Ryotaro] Yeah, yeah, yeah. [Ryotaro] Yeah, they are very next to each other, but they serve like great food here and uh, let’s check it out. [Chris] So first challenge, the menu’s all in Japanese. So there’s one useful phrase that you can use and that is “Osusume”, which means like “recommendation”. So you can turn to the staff and say “what do you recommend?” “What’s the best food?” And hopefully, they’ll give us a rough idea… …what to eat. Sumimasen (Excuse me)
Osusume wa nan desuka? (What is your recommendation?) [Staff] Osusume?
Kono “shell in vegetable” [Chris] Shellfish. [Staff] Yes, seafood and um vegetables… umm [Staff] Boiled.
[Chris] Seafood and vegetables. [Staff] Also, horse meat. [Staff] Hee heeee! Hee Heee! Horse Power! [Chris] Very good. uhmm [Chris] I’ll have one of these please.
[Staff] Ok. Got it! [Chris] And that’s how you do it. It’s as easy as that. That one phrase:
“Osusume wa nan desuka?” [Ryotaro] So, here we have “Oshibori”, a thick oshibori. Wet towel. Yeah, yeah, so when you go to a Japanese restaurant And actually, you get the one each. And this is to actually to wash your hand. Not wash, clean. Clean your hands. And also in winter, this is warm. So when you are coming to the restaurant from the cold weather It’s very very nice to have in your hand and this is free. And so uhm… [Chris] I should hope so.
[Ryotaro] Yeah, I know. [Ryotaro] Some people think this cost money, but it’s not so you just you know…
[Chris] And you get it at every restaurant, right? [Ryotaro] Yes you do. You do. Most restaurants. One of my favorite things about going to an izakaya, is the food. It’s often anything, but healthy. For example, this is uh Senbei Tempura. Which is a wheat cracker that’s been put in batter. Tempura battered wheat cracker basically. Taking all the health benefits from a wheat cracker, and then just battered it, and it’s absolutely amazing [Ryotaro] So uh you know Chris? I don’t live here. [Chris] Yes, unfortunately.
[Ryotaro] So I’ve got some local friends the who live in Hachinohe. [Ryotaro] Can I introduce her? Now?
[Chris] Yes. [Ryotaro] Okay! [Ryotaro] Natsumi! [Natsumi] Hiii~ii🎶
[Ryotaro] And she speaks English! [Chris] You speak English?
[Natsumi] Just a little bit. [Chris] Why do you speak English?
[Natsumi] I used to live in America. [Chris] Where abouts? [Natsumi] In San Francisco for about seven years. [Chris] You lucky devil.
*laughs* Before we left we asked the pub’s charismatic owner. How she communicates with foreign customers in the face of the language barrier. [Staff] With broken English and gestures as well as smiling. Try to laugh together then get on friendly terms with them. I give them smiles. That’s what I do. [Chris] All about the smile. [Staff] Please come to Hachinohe! I’m waiting! There are also cute girls here! Our second stop was a seafood restaurant specializing in mackerel. One of Hachinohe’s local dishes. So most Japanese izakayas and bars have a seating charge usually on average about 300 yen. But it’s disguised in the form of this. This is a kind of a starter known as “Otoshi”. But a lot of foreigners come to a bar and at the end of it they see their receipt and there’s an extra charge for 300 yen. This is it. It’s kind of a standard thing. So you might be paying a seating charge when you go into an izakaya or pub. At least you’re getting something for it. And it is a standard kind of Japanese thing, so it’s not something you can escape. [Ryotaro] So, uum, this is Mackerel on a stick. [Chris] Mackerel on a stick?
[Ryotaro] Mackerel on a stick. [Chris] You could make it sound nicer. *laughter* [Ryotaro] How do I, how do I explain this though? As like… [Natsumi] Skewer?
[Chris] Mackerel Skewer.
[Ryotaro] Mackerel Skewer! Yeah! [Ryotaro] Mackerel skewer.
[Chris] Instantly more romantic. [Ryotaro] This is mackerel, but a totally different part. So this part could be like close to the head and this part could be the chest. And this could be like somewhere around here. [Chris] So different cuts of mackerel?
[Ryotaro] Different cuts of mackerel. [Ryotaro] And so every time you bite the different parts, you can enjoy the different flavor. or the taste of the different parts of mackerel. [Chris] I think this’ll be the title of this video, just “Mackerel on a stick” Smells great. Mackerel is a very distinct fishy smell. Very strong kinda smell, right. Mmm, very meaty. It’s the best mackerel on a stick I’ve ever had. [Ryotaro] Have you actually ever had a mackerel on a stick?
[Chris] I’ve never had a mackerel on a stick. [Chris] It’s the best mackerel on a stick I’ve ever had. [Random Guy] I have a pen.
*insane giggling* I have a bag. UNGH! BAG-PEN!! [Chris] How interesting. [Random Guy] We are friends! [Random Guy #1] Yeaaaaa!
[Random Guy #2] Welcome to Hachinohe~ [All] Yaayyyyyy! [Chris] Hachinohe hospitality!
[Random Guy #1] Hachinohe! [Chris] Thank you. [Chris] Uuhhh, yeah. I really don’t know how to comment on that. But afterwards we headed over to Bar Prince. A bar famous for its warm atmosphere and its elaborate and somewhat bizarre cocktails. [Ryotaro] Okay now. We are in the bar and when you come into Japanese bar you always get the thing called Otsumami, which means snacks. And um, it comes with like rice crackers and chocolates and so. and but don’t worry, it comes in, it comes for free. So that you can keep drinking and more and more. [Natsumi] So I like here, because of all the business cards on the wall. All the famous people or probably the CEO of small companies. [Chris] How many are there? [Natsumi] I have no idea. [Chris] Must be like, well over a thousand. [Natsumi] You should put yours too. [Chris] Didn’t bring it with me. I’m an idiot [Natsumi] Whaaat? [Ryotaro] What a butthead. [Chris] I always forget my business card. [Ryotaro] I know that’s what I’m saying. This morning, we had a meeting with five important people. And you did not give any cards to them because you did not have any cards! [Ryotaro] Why are you moving away from me? [Chris] Bar Prince’s reputation for its somewhat metaphorical cocktails, and it wasn’t long before Ryotaro was presented with a cocktail representing a sunrise. uhh… in which the Sun came in the form of a raw egg. [Chris] This drink represents the sunrise. [Ryotaro] Sunrise and the Ocean.
[Chris] There’s an egg yolk in it… [Bar Owner] A sunrise you see from the beach. [Ryotaro] It’s a sunrise that you actually see from from the beach [Chris] Wow.
*eggyolk intensifies* [Chris] But it’s got an egg yolk in it. [Ryotaro] But it’s got an egg yolk in it again. [Chris] Now drink it.
[Ryotaro] No. [Chris] Drink it.
[Ryotaro] No. [Chris] Drink it for YouTube. [Natsumi] Chug, chug, chug, chug!
*laughing* [Chris] How was the egg yolk cocktail? [Ryotaro] I feel like a champion now. Having an egg yolk. Like Rocky, after he climbed up stairs. [Chris] After he climbed up the stairs. That’s what you feel like after you’ve drank… … this incredible cocktail. [Chris] So really important point when you come to a bar or restaurant in Japan or just about anywhere. You usually can’t pay with your credit card and a lot of foreigners including me forget that. In fact, I still forget it. I checked into a hotel the other day, went to pay and my credit card didn’t work. It wasn’t allowed. So if you’re coming somewhere like this, to a bar, always carry cash. [Chris] Thank you. Bye bye! Drunkenly stumbling… victory. [Ryotaro] So we had like so many we went to many restaurants and everything. But now we’re gonna have a closing dish. The closing dish in Japan is always ramen. It needs to be ramen [Chris] It’s a very photogenic ramen. It’s the kind of ramen you see on posters and things. [Ryotaro] You still can’t slurp.
[Chris] It’s fucking hot. [Ryotaro] You can’t, you still can’t slurp.
[Chris] It’s fucking hot. [Ryotaro] Disappointing. Disappointing. [Chris] Disappointment. [Ryotaro] Disappointment. [Chris] Drunkenly slurring while holding the camera. [Chris] I can’t believe I’ve let a drunkard…
[Ryotaro] Try to slurp again. [Chris] have control of the camera.
[Ryotaro] Try to slurp again. Try to slurp again. [Chris] So remember in Japan, it’s alright to slurp noodles. Like a crazy motherfucker, and now I’m gonna try. *Ryotaro laughing* [Chris] Well I may have failed to slurp noodles yet again But it was still a good night out. Wherever you’re getting lost in the streets of Japan though, There are some fantastic places to be found. If you want to have a cocktail that makes you feel like Rocky after he climbed up stairs, Hachinohe is a three-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo Station, or just over an hour away from Sendai. And you can find more details and where we visited in the description box below. [Chris] Well. I’m absurdly full. I hope you’ve guys have learned something from this evening. In between watching us just drink and eat lots and lots of things but I hope there’s been something useful. I think I’ll let Ryotaro end the video with some useful… …comments and advice and tips. So thanks for watching guys Over to Ryotaro! [Ryotaro] Did you enjoy the food? [Chris] Are you talking to me or just the viewer? [Ryotaro] Uh… Viewer!
[Chris] Alright. [Ryotaro] Did you actually enjoy watching the food? But just don’t watch it, come over here and actually eat the food. Because they’re amazingly good! [Ryotaro] Bye for now.
[Chris] Yes the food are amazingly good. [Chris] He doesn’t drink that often, so it’s quite interesting seeing him in a kind of drunk state.

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “Japanese Nightlife Etiquette | Beginner’s Guide

  1. You should watch your language, as I stopped after hearing hell and devil…..!
    Actually, you are what you say.

  2. Ryotaro: "Why are you moving away from me?"

    this has the same energy as the "WHY ARE YOU RUNNING. WHY.ARE.YOU.RUNNING." meme

  3. The bag pen dude was referencing the famous online meme where you combine two objects and just say what they are plus each other. It's pretty popular and I'm surprised some random drunk guy in Japan knows about it lol.

  4. りょうたろうののキャラが好き、お喋りも楽しくて雰囲気も良い。2人の掛け合いも面白くてこの動画はりょうたろうの存在で登録した。たくさん出てほしいな。

  5. I like how sober this japanese guy is responding to your "camera-memes" and jokes. it's realistic and refreshing in this age of fake/acted youtube video creators.
    actually.. i like everything about the people i see in this video.

  6. So nightlife isnt about getting drunk and fked up? Is it common for people to drink alcohol in open places? cuz i usually do that here everytime

  7. Love the first bar owners answer on conversing with foreigners. "Broken english and gestures." Because, and I'm sure this isn't surprising, that was my exact method of trying to communicate with Japanese. I knew VERY little japanese… but even though I'm only half Sicilian my pantomime is top notch. Knowing a few of the 'important phrases' paired with a sort of make shift sign language and it's amazing how much you can get by.

    Though with that said, there was a hurdle. I learned what I could about Japan before going (any travel abroad you should look up those 'things to avoid' in a country lest you offend someone) but my research DIDN'T tell me about some of Japan's uniquely different non-verbal communications. Things I didn't know:
    1) Sustained eye contact can be taken as aggressive or rude, and will make most Japanese feel uncomfortable. I didn't know that and wondered why many people were glancing away. That's a had trait to shake, 'eye contact' for being polite is freaking drilled into many cultures, but is opposite in Japan.
    2) They 'count on their fingers' the opposite of how you'd do it in America. Instead of holding fingers up one at a time, they fold them down one at a time. Got some very confused looks as I would hold up fingers when indicating how much of something I wanted and accompanying it with the word for the number. Fortunately, since I had the word right they could figure out what I was doing, but I got a LOT of confused stares in the process.

    Lot of other gestures and body language stuff I didn't know. Fortunately, to a certain extent pantomime can be somewhat universal. Just not 'exact'.

  8. 5:26 I don't really understand what's happening here but that's just hilarious, and that cute guy who can't stop laughing ! OMG Hahaha ?

  9. I know this goes without saying but why on earth do many of U not learn the language of the country your visiting.At least a little bit.Many of U think your shit hot but don't have the respect to learn the language of the country your in.You don't look like a refugee dude.I think you would have plenty of resources to learn beforehand.thank you for the upload 🙂

  10. Japanese people can be some of the most fun people on Earth that you can go out drinking/dining with. I highly recommend it.

  11. "Japan is still largely a cash-based society." funny, cuz China pretty much only accepts digital payments and even rejects cash sometimes.

  12. Wharta refreshing video. After loads of other sources which warn foreigners that although they may be outwardly polite, Japanese people are actually very indifferent to foreigners. This video says otherwise.

  13. Night in places like hk, taiwan, or Japan are really interesting. You should seriously go out at night and explore the other side of the city. It's seriously eye-opening

  14. Mackerel on a stick sounds amazing. Mackerel is probably the only fish I love, salmon comes in second, because I actually get bored with it after a while. All other fish fall way behind… Except maybe Tuna, it's pretty good sometimes, and trout is at least nice when deep fried.

  15. I’ve been to Hachinohe….the 8th gate. My daughter taught English in Towada-shi and I fell in love with Aomori. She was a JET, like you❣️ I laughed so hard at all the fun you two were having. We went there on a windy weekend and saw the “hovering” seagulls where there was a closed (because of damage) shrine. It was a fascinating sight to see the seagulls just hovering in the wind. We ate lunch where you had your Mackerel. Definitely different but good. Sooooo fun to see it all again and enjoy it through your eyes, Chris ??

  16. I have to say , as a Japanese who lives outside of Japan now, your content really puts a smile on my face 🙂 , cheers.

  17. If you like mackerel, but want others to hate you.
    You should try mackerel in tomato sauce, you can get it in any shop in Norway 😛
    It smells quite bad but tastes really good

  18. Ryotaro: "Mackerel on a stick"
    Abroad: "he can't make it sound nicer…"
    Ryotaro: "how would you say it nicer?"

    in my mind: "impaled mackerel"

  19. I still didn't quite figure out Ryotaro's accent, i know it's not your standard Japanese accent for sure, it's like a mix between English & Australian…..

  20. "Come over here and actually eat the food!"

    Me, sadly slurping my instant ramen made in my dorm room microwave: I'd sure like to, Ryotaro…

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