Four Key Differences Between Partying in Canada and Japan


I don’t think it’s any secret that I love Japan. Of all the places I’ve been to, this is the one that I still view as my second home and a place that I still dream I’m back there sometime. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost five years since I left there, for in many ways it seems like just yesterday. I know that one day I’ll get back there but for now, I can just reminisce about the times that were and all the great experiences I had.

Sweet dungeon bars!

Like partying.

Growing up in Canada, I was used to a certain standard of parties that usually took two forms – house party or bar/club. There really isn’t much of an in between (outside of Quebec) because of certain laws governing alcohol in Canada. Well, after a few short weeks in Japan I became accustomed to a different style – and I liked it. Without further ado, here are the four key differences between partying in Canada and Japan.


1. In Japan, You Can Buy Liquor Anywhere… and the Price is Right

Now, I’m not about to proclaim Japan as some sort of bargain basement booze barn, but when it comes to certain kinds of alcohol, there are sweet deals to be had. This is more a commentary on how expensive it is in Canada, but in Japan bottles of the same vodka you could get back home and only from government stores (in many provinces at least), would be less than half the price. Plus, since you can buy booze from the 7/11 or even a vending machine, getting access to it can lead one to develop a serious drinking problem…

2. In Japan, You can Pretty Much Drink Everywhere – Not so Much in Canada

I’ve drank on a train, on a plane, on a boat, by a moat, in the store buying more – I have drank beer here and there, because in Japan you can drink anywhere!

In Canada, be sure to do it inside or at a bar or club. That is all.

Seriously… there’s the moat.

3. Drinking at Clubs is Stupidly Expensive in Japan – Wait for Happy Hour!

Discounted times where booze is available exists in other places, but in some places in Tokyo it seems to last forever – and I’m not complaining. What I do complain about is how much it is when you do go out to a place that doesn’t have a happy hour and you get a beer for 1000+ yen. Outrageous! In Canada we would hang someone for that.

4. In Japan, There is an All You Can Drink Option. Yes. You Read That Right.

In case you can’t tell, Japan is kicking Canada’s ass when it comes to getting sauced and it’s because of things like all you can drink options at certain izakayas and bars. It’s not available all the time, and you really have to pace yourself, but particularly for westerners with iron constitutions, taking part in Nomihoudai is one of those glorious experiences you won’t soon forget. Basically for like 1.5 hours or so, you can order anything you want for a flat fee of like 4000 yen (or less). Shots, beer, wine, fancy drinks – all is available and all is magical.

Oh how I miss Japan…

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