The Fine Art of the Drinking Party

Friday night was my classmate Giulia’s sayonara party and this is the touchscreen at the table of the izakaya where we held the festivities. We ordered all our food and drink from this handy device, and when we were done, it delivered this bill. Check out the handy feature on the right, where you see the number “3”: That’s the number of people splitting the bill. You can dial it up or down by hitting the + and – buttons, and it calculates to the last yen how much each person owes. It’s a foolproof method for even the drunkest of patrons, whose calculation skills will certainly have declined in the course of the evening if the party was any good.

Nomikais are a fixture of Japanese life. They happen every time a new employee arrives or an old one leaves, every time there’s a milestone to celebrate, every time there’s any excuse whatsoever. And restaurants like this izakaya have hosting them down to a science: There are all kinds of food on the menu, so nobody has to agree on the type of restaurant. Each plate is inexpensive, so nobody can complain about the price. The touchscreen allows continuous ordering, so the next round of drinks can be ordered without the nuisance of flagging down a waiter.

And finally, instead of handing out after-dinner mints at the cash register, this place offered us cans of a popular Japanese hangover remedy as we left!

Jonelle Patrick is the author of  four novels set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with two strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more