How to say 'No' gracefully...

Good morning everyone,

I'm sitting here in the dark writing my blog and don't know if it's raining or not for sure, but I can hear the spray from cars going by, so I'm guessing it either is or was at some point. Today is going to rain off and on and tomorrow will be gorgeous as they had predicted. But now, all of a sudden, they are calling for rain on Monday. I'm not happy! I was counting on a 2-day weekend of nice weather to catch up on all my laundry. I guess the non-essential stuff will have sit in my laundry basket for a few more days...<sigh>.

When it comes to those who choose not to drink, or can’t because of medical conditions, it’s hard to get by in the Japanese workplace...

Thankfully, Suntory is here to help. Sort of.

Japan’s very societal framework is underpinned by a massive, enthusiastic drinking culture. Alcohol is eeeeeeeverywhere, and heavy drinking is not only condoned, it’s downright required in a lot of situations. We’ve all heard about Japan’s notorious nomikai – drinking parties that are typically work-related and involve the guzzling of copious amounts of beer, cocktails and liquor, often at the behest of your superiors. When a bunch of people from one department all call in sick on a Thursday, you can damn well bet there was a raging nomikai the night before.

It’s also notoriously difficult to decline offers from coworkers to go out drinking. While the consequences might not be immediately visible, those that decline consistently or skip out on major nomikai like the especially crazy bounenkai year-end parties (where you are guaranteed to see at least one co-worker naked and dancing on a table or puking in the restroom) will find themselves conspicuously skipped over for promotions, cold-shouldered by coworkers, admonished as not being “team players” or find themselves the butt of constant, passive-aggressive jokes about how they can’t hold their liquor.

Luckily for non-drinkers in Japan, though, beverage company Suntory is running a new ad campaign designed to help you reject those unwanted party invitations with style and grace.

If figure skating is your style, you might want to try one of these excuses...

suntory figure skate

Or if you're more of a sumo fan, this one might have some excuses for you...

suntory sumo

These posters are modeled after guides for fancy figure skating and sumo moves and feature various one-liners guaranteed to get you off the hook. Such as:

“My leg just popped in the weirdest way. Gonna have to pass.” 

“If it’s not near the station…”

“I already decided to go straight home.”

“Pretty sure it’s this guy’s turn tonight!”

“I’m not wearing makeup today. Definitely not going!”

“The weather looks like it’s turning for the worse.”

“No no no no no no!”

“I could have gone if it were tomorrow…”

“You guys have fun without me!”

Obviously, Suntory is having a bit of fun with their “take a break from the booze once in a while” message, but seriously, how do you say "No" in Japan to a work party?

Have a great day!

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