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Getting Carded, Japanese Style

This is the order screen at the izakaya where my Japanese class had our end-of-term nomikai.

The average Japanese teenager may have it rough when it comes to taking entrance exams that will determine his whole future, but he never has to spend hours in front of the mirror, practicing intoning the words, ” rum and coke” in a deep voice and desperately trying to look 21. All the underage drinker in Japan has to do is press the blue button, and the bar is open for business. Even if he couldn’t grow a beard in 6th grade.

Here in Japan, drinking and driving is seldom a problem, because even if people have cars, they usually take trains (until midnight) and taxis (after) if they’re going to be drinking. Of course, this sometimes results in unfortunate platform pizza action (noodles are a popular drinking food, I’ve noticed) but the only person who gets hurt is the one with the hangover.

Read a novel 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

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

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