Can you say "no" to nomikai?
For starters…what is nomikai? Nomikai is a drinking event and the word comes from the words “nomu” (to drink) and “kai” (gathering/event). Most people go on nomikais after work with their colleagues.
In general, it is okay to say “no” to going to a nomikai if you have a legitimate reason like feeling unwell or needing to take care of your family. However, drinking culture in Japan is an important opportunity for coworkers to communicate freely and bond, so it’s important to participate to build these relationships and feel part of the team.
New or young employees always say yes to nomikai because it is considered part of their job to develop relationships with people in the company. Japanese people go for nomikais even in university with their extracurricular club friends so it is not an unusual practice for them. If you are new to the company, you will be spending most of your time with your colleagues!
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