Wednesday, 10 December 2008

December Manners

December is here and while it still seems nice out when the sun shines, my apartment is getting colder and colder. Convenience stores, take-out joints, grocery stores and high-end department stores are all starting to advertise traditional New Year's food (o-sechi ryori, 御節料理) and Christmas cakes. Christmas decorations are appearing all over the place - I especially like the two storey tall Christmas tree in the lobby of the main building of my university. It has lights and decorations and is surrounded by poinsettias - very festive and makes me start singing
Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Ev'rywhere you go;
There's a tree at the university,
Lots in the shops as well...

Most of all, however, its bonenkai (忘年会, lit. "forget the year party") season! You know the company Christmas party that people complain about, because they are worried the boss will get drunk and hit on the interns or the new guy will climb onto the table to serenade the room? Well, Japanese bonenkai can be pretty much guaranteed to include that sort of behaviour because they will always include lots of alcohol. Lots. They often include silly games or other organized antics to make sure that even the timid will embarrass themselves.

Which is why I'm amused at Tokyo Metro's poor excuse for a December manners poster.

Seriously? "Please refrain from drunken behaviour?!" What does Tokyo Metro actually expect to achieve with this poster?

Of course, I'm not saying that I enjoy taking the train when its full of post-bonenkai-ers! Makes me want to change my tune:
Its beginning to smell a lot like Bonenkai-season,
Ev'rywhere you go;
Take a look at the train platform,
Glistening once again,
With salary-men who throw...

Ahem... right... Happy Holidays!

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