I had a house party this weekend, or as we would simply describe it in the States, “A party at my house.” A house party is actually pretty rare in Japan amongst Japanese. Space is a premium and living spaces are often small. When I first lived in Japan in 2004 for a few months, I had a much more representative “mansion” – about 12 tatami in size, or about 216 sq ft. That was fine for a few months, and I felt very Japanese. I’ve posted some old pictures below to get the idea.
You can imagine though, if you were really living is a place this size, it would quickly become cramped. I had a very limited number of personal items so it wasn’t so crowded.
When I came here in 2008, my apartment allowance was very generous. I knew I wanted a guest room and a home office space, so I started looking at 3 bedrooms. I was lucky to find my place which is on the smaller three bedroom range, but fine for one person. As a matter of fact, I’m a little bit embarrassed that to my Japanese colleagues it is decadent at about 750 sq ft.
However, the space allows me to have a few people over for a party, and that’s what I did this weekend. The idea was to have the Fuji Rock crew come over, but in the end only about half of the Fuji Rockers made it over. However, friends and friends of friends came by and I had about 12 people including me. That was perfectly sized for my place.
Here’s the picture before everyone knew the picture was coming.
And of course, what is a picture in Japan without a peace sign?
I did the usual thing, bought too much food and alcohol but nobody left hungry or sober so I did my job well. I was actually the only non-Japanese at the party as well and I find that pretty cool. Somehow I guess I was able to communicate mostly in Japanese and some occasional English words thrown in. After two beers my Japanese really improves (or so I think), and having the party is a great way to practice. Maybe I was actually too busy being the host to communicate very frequently. I was afraid I would end up feeling left out of my own party with people bringing friends who spoke only Japanese but I didn’t. Nothing worse than being lonely at your own party!
Returning to the usual lack of house parties – as I’ve said before restaurants serve the purpose of a social meeting place. Many restaurants have large rooms for groups of people to get together for a night of eating and drinking. Houses are just too crowded to host people and they are very private spaces for family only.
I had big help preparing for the party with Kanamori-san taking me to the grocery store in his car and helping me transport things much easier.
Thanks to all for the help and a good time.