Drinking (Alcohol)

It appears that in the United States is only one of a few countries around the world that heavily enforces underage drinking laws.  In Japan, like Europe, the drinking law age limit is ignored for the most part, the official age is 20. The drinking age law is so unenforced that alcoholic beverages are found commonly in vending machines everywhere. When asked about the drinking age law many Japanese students responded with, “There’s a drinking age law?” Also like Europe the emphasis on drinking in Japan is not to get drunk (like it is many times it is in the United States, especially during college) rather it is to have a good time. Japanese society in general is very stressful. Their work and schooling requires so much out of them so a having an alcoholic beverage is calming on the nerves and relaxes the worries that come with working in Japan.

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9 Comments »

  1. kiyabarden Said:

    I agree, the entire time I was in Japan I wasn’t carded once. It wasn’t like I even ordered a lot of alcoholic beverages but I’m so used to being asked for identification in the states that it has become a custom and I always have my I.D ready. I’m not going to say that they don’t care about underage drinking but like you said it isn’t enforced, I’m sure people in the U.S would take full advantage.

  2. jaredinjapan Said:

    It was extremely cool not to be carded at every bar I decided to go to on this trip. I think one of the main problems in America is that the issue of drinking underage is viewed as a lawful offense. News flash! The forbidden fruits are often the sweetest. Oddly enough the best thing about Japanese beer is the higher alcohol content and the price. The price keeps patrons from drinking too much and the higher content helps them reach the relaxing buzz from the drinks.

  3. I think one of the problems with the United States is that we believe that if people drink they are going to drive and kill someone. If we diverted our attention from preventing underage people from drinking to how we can provide alternative transportation for intoxicated individuals, then instead of being forbidden fruit, as Jared put it, alcohol could be view as just another beverage that has relaxing properties, as it is viewed in the rest of the civilized world.

  4. fleuritta Said:

    Dubai is one of the most conservative cities. But what goes on behind the scenes is outrageous. The enforcement of very strict laws drives people to rebel in a way that is harmful for them. Partying and clubbing here is synonymous with getting drunk and having sex with complete strangers. Also, most of the clubs are filled with prostitutes. Prostitution is forbidden by law; however, it is a clandestine growing business in Dubai. As jared pointed out, “the forbidden fruit” is always the sweetest. As for alcohol, it is made available in clubs, and can be purchased in special shops only if the buyer has a pass confirming he has the legal age and a non “muslim” religion. Ironically, the bars are filled with muslims, and due to peer pressure, as a rebellious reaction to the laws, one cannot party here without getting drunk and engaging in sexual relations with either complete strangers or prostitutes.
    In Japan, I did not come across many drunk people, and as I know, the crime rate is low, I have not seen any offensive behaviour. People do everything here in moderation. Although, I think that alcohol is addictive and its detriments exceed its benefits, it would be better if people would avoid it. But there again, it is a personal choice.

  5. vidajimenez Said:

    When we were in Japan I noticed how easy it was to access alcohol even in our own hotel vending machines. I couldn’t believe that it the drinking age wasn’t enforced. I was really surprised when we were told it wasn’t against the law to walk around with open bottles or cans. Even in a college town it is strictly prohibited on and off campus. I guess it makes sense for Japan to be so forgiving since majority of the locals ride the subway instead of driving.

  6. shastokes Said:

    It was different to be able to purchase alcohol and not be carded! I have a face that people tend to think I am much younger than what I am and therefore, its expected that I show id. This was new for me, and another thing I noticed is that a lot of beverages contained some percentages of alcohol. For example, cola shock! To me, it seems like the beverage coca cola , but actually, it has some alcohol in it. I also agree with Jared that there is a higher content in the alcohol especially the beer, not to say I am a lightweight but one beer was just enough!lol

  7. jodarbs Said:

    All of what you said is so true. I’m sure you were very interesting to the natives of Japan that did come across your path. Being short in Japan is very common. I of all my time in Japan I would have to say I only saw two over weight people, and when I told my brother about this (who has lived in Japan for the past twenty years) he told me that being over weight sometimes is a sign of wealth in Japan.

  8. jodarbs Said:

    While I was in Japan I was wondering what the age was but never asked anyone. I noticed the alcoholic beverages in the vending machines as well and I thought to myself I wonder does the machine have a special technology built into where it asks for your I.D. But I quickly realized that it did not.

  9. carlyinjapan Said:

    I agree, and really quite like this mentality, mainly because the American mindset seems problematic. It seems the more lax a country is with their alcohol laws, the less people feel the need to overuse it. It was weird to see alcohol being served in fast food joints, to see people drinking in public, and to never get carded to purchase an alcoholic beverage, but it was very cool at the same time.


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