Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me: Japan evicts over 100 students for breaching no-drinking rules

Japan evicts over 100 students for breaching no-drinking rules

I agree with the first comment following this story.  That headline is ridiculous.  "Japan" did no such thing.  Authorities at this university did, and they're hardly the entire country.  But even news from inside Japan seems to love ascribing the action of a specific group to the nation as a whole.  Playing the Internet's favorite game, "Japan is/does..."

Anyway, wow, this takes me back to my own hard-partying college days.  We didn't just puke out our dorm windows.  We peed.  We did terrible things that seemed funny to us at the time.  We destroyed musical instruments, automobiles, homes, businesses, people.  We used to get drunk so we could go out get drunk.  We drank so heavily, I honestly do not remember most weekends and I was buzzed on many weekdays, as well.  We carried on this behavior well beyond college, too, right into our thirties.  Some of my closest friends drank so heavily they spent time in hospitals and eventually died.  After burying four friends due to drugs and alcohol, I stopped drinking altogether.  I made the decision to do sober the fun (non-destructive) things I used to do drunk.

You know.  Drop inhibitions.  Dance.  Sing.  Talk to people.  Tell jokes.  Get naked.  Show enthusiasm.

Being a non-drinker is kind of a bummer at parties.  I'm not against drinking.  I'm not going to preach temperance or anything like that.  I'm as pro-drinking as they come.  I got as much out of it as I put into it, which is to say, quite a lot.  But here in Japan, drinking together is part of socializing together.  I love the custom where the person you're sitting with refills your glass or mug and you do the same.  This does help build friendship and harmony between people.  Everyone expects me to drink, and I just can't do it.  So when I refuse, people ask questions and I either have to tell the story and horrify them, or politely decline and seem a little anti-social.  Usually I just say, "Health reasons."  But even then people feel as though they shouldn't drink, as if I disapprove.  Dampens spirits.

I suppose drinking-- specifically underage drinking-- while in college is universal, at least in countries where alcohol isn't prohibited entirely.  Partying in school is traditional.  But this university has probably done the right thing.  These kids will go find other places to drink, but there's no reason for the university to subsidize their behavior by housing it.  Good luck to them all.

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