The dreaded bounen-shinnen season: Netizens share their most embarrassing office party mistakes

The dreaded bounen-shinnen season: Netizens share their most embarrassing office party mistakes

The end of one year and the beginning of another is party time in Japan, particularly for workers. Before the winter holiday, many offices have a bounen-kai, literally a “forget the year party,” and after the holiday, there are shinnen-kais, or new year’s parties. Some offices even do both, and generally attendance and copious alcohol consumption are compulsory.

Of course, as we all know, adding booze to the office dynamic can be a recipe for disaster—or hilarity, depending on your point of view—so Japanese netizens have shared their most embarrassing office party stories for your edification or amusement.

The most commonly reported embarrassments are vomiting, memory loss and terrible hangovers. Hangovers might not seem like a professional issue if you can suffer safely at home, but sometimes the parties are held on work nights, so if you turn up to the office looking rough or try to call in sick, everyone will know why.

  • A couple of things I wanted to bring up

Says one worker, “I got caught up in the spirit of things, drank too much beer and ended up vomiting. Not only did my coworkers have to look after me that night, but the next day I couldn’t get any work done.”

Another recalls, “At the end of the night, just as we were bowing and thanking our bosses, everything I’d eaten and drunk came right back up.”

All that drinking can also loosen tongues, especially in conservative Japan where people keep an awful lot to themselves much of the working year. Many people reported saying things to their boss they later regretted. Although bosses often say that the parties are a chance for people to let their hair down and for management and employees to mingle without worrying about rank, it’s better not to get carried away.

  • Hey, you! Yeah, you…

One man was speaking with his bosses and started referring to them as anta, a shortened and even more extremely casual form of anata—which despite meaning “you” is itself a word that few people use during respectful conversation, opting to use a person’s name instead. One boss angrily shot back, “You could at least be bothered to say ‘anata.’”

Another casually took his boss to task over some perceived error and had a very tense work environment for a while after that. Oops…

  • I’ll show you how to party

Other people get a little more creative in their drunken antics.

One man recalled how he mistakenly carried a restaurant’s beer mug all the way home, holding the handle like it was his briefcase. He returned the mug the next day and apologized for making off with their glassware during the busiest time of the year.

One woman says she thought she would be funny by flashing her panties and throwing a peace sign in the group photo, not to mention yelling “Yaaaaaaaaaaay!” while she was at it.

Even that pales in comparison, however, to a woman who stripped down to her underwear to sing an AKB48 song for her office, men included. She didn’t even remember doing it until a friend showed her pictures some days later.

So if you’ve got a shinnenkai of your own to attend, think of these stories and keep your dinner down, your clothes on, and your tone polite and you might still have a job for 2014.

But just to show you not all drunken shenanigans end badly, let us share one more story with you.

Says one man, “I wasn’t really paying attention when I picked up my cellphone to go home. I’d picked up someone else’s by mistake. When I returned it, we discovered he’d taken mine by mistake as well! Even now, three years later, he’s still a friend I go drinking with.”

Source and image: Naver Matome

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The dreaded bounen-shinnen season: Netizens share their most embarrassing office party mistakes