1. You know the real drinking starts when the party is over.
The enkai, the formal party, lasts two hours. It always lasts two hours, regardless of how long the toasts and the speeches last. Attendance at an enkai is all but mandatory — it’ll usually be to mark a significant event. But the real drinking starts after the two hours are up. As the waitresses clear away the wreckage of an hour and three quarters of drinking, the countless empty Asahi and Kirin and Sapporo bottles, groups start to splinter off and make plans for their nijikai, their second parties.