Random Observation/Comment #198: This dorm life I live is continuously surprising and ever-so lively. Somewhere, a party lurks every night and sometimes they exist for the strangest reasons. “It’s Thirsty Thursday – we have to drink.” “Let’s party because it’s Wednesday and that’s hump day.” “It’s Monday so I need a small low key party to slowly wean me off the alcohol withdrawal from the night before.” “I felt like cooking for everyone in the dorm.” “The bar’s open tonight.” “I’m bored…” I’ve attended parties every day of the week and somehow it doesn’t get boring with such great company and excess alcohol. I hope I’m always young and blessed with a healthy liver.
I’ve always believed in the phrase, “Everything in moderation (even moderation).” I’m actually not exactly sure what it means in a broader sense, but I think it’s relevant. Partying is a form of stress relief and a way to unwind. In Japan, they take it to the extreme because people are so completely absorbed into their roles and the masks they wear in front of family and work that they never get to just let loose. It’s actually a little depressing seeing adults in full suits passed out on the street next to a puddle of theirs (or someone else’s) old dinner and stomach acid (I’ve seen it often in Osaka). Although this could be relieving, in one way or another, I would suspect that the hangover creates a bigger problem than just going home for a good night’s rest. But, alas, people must be pleased and sometimes that self-sacrificing Asian characteristic just gets the better of their reality.
Europeans, on the other hand, just drink every night. This does not mean that they’re alcoholics, it just means they really like the taste of beer with their meals. If it’s a nice day outside, it’s a perfectly valid excuse to grab a beer from the automat at noon. They basically drink it to quench their thirst and maintain its role as a social lubricant. It’s not some idolized, freedom substance abuse to get this drunken feeling – no, it’s just something to do when watching a football match or in between chews.
The difference in the perspective of alcohol is also apparent by age. I find the Japanese culture towards drinking as the cure to all their problems for that one forgettable night. It’s like a frat party filled with people that want an excuse to make stupid choices. The European culture still involves drinking, but the higher tolerance level just leads to louder chants and livelier conversations.
Unfortunately, the American culture doesn’t see this as a symbol of freedom or a daily routine, but instead, it is treated as a chance to rebel. The 21 drinking age just makes teenagers feel like it is “cool” to get drunk. This little nugget blooms dangerously, and if the law isn’t changed, I will proactively teach my child about alcohol in my own way. You don’t just make it some forbidden fruit – don’t you know that just makes people want it more? Don’t girls love chasing guys they can’t get? (That comment may have been uncalled for). The point is: Teenagers are going to get their alcohol somehow, so you might as well legalize it to remove the adrenaline rush of doing something illegal.
What is my proactive solution? Class never goes out of style. Nobody likes a drunken frat dude except for other drunken frat dudes. If beer tastes crappy, then why drink it? If getting completely plastered makes the next day unbearable, then why do it? The answer is: because you are studying abroad and you can, so you should. But, remember: in moderation (even moderation). PS – Drink Guinness because it’s not just a beer; it’s a meal. ::Thumbs Up::
~See Lemons Partay for the right reasons