Saturday, 5 June 2010

Eat, drink (or, at least, just drink) and be merry

(Notes on Japan through design: 4 - Drinking beer)

I haven't written a Japan-specific post for a while. So thought I'd mention this current poster for the Tokyo Metro "Enjoy Tokyo" series.

Japan is a country that likes beer. (And it's not alone in that.) For an average office worker, drinking beer is almost a must. Drink-sodden Friday-night commuters are a given in Tokyo. (According to a couple of friends' morning-commute experiences – being freelance I avoid the morning crush – drinking on the commute IN on the train isn't unknown.)

You'd perhaps think that celebrating massive beer consumption wouldn't necessarily be high on the subway's "to do" list, but the Metro shows itself happy to encourage the drinkers it transports home en masse on Friday nights – and not-quite-so-massed on other days of the week. (While the sober – in this case me – might be in their seat keep a watchful eye on the guy standing in front of them, asleep with his arms in the air thinking he's holding the straps on the train when he's just holding air.)

Drink is often a communal affair (even if some of the after-hours office visits to bars are a must for some workers). But despite it all, Japan almost completely avoids the laddish drink culture that at times can make many a city centre in the UK, or even London's West End, an uncomfortably aggressive place to be. Mostly, drinkers just get happy (and/or oblivious) in Japan. So, indeed, why not celebrate drinking huge pint-glasses of lager-style beer as in this drawing – along with the illustrated monkey, cat and bird? Click on the image to enlarge. Apologies for not knowing the illustrator.