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Japan cautiously enters year-end party season amid Omicron concerns

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Let's take an informal poll-

Thumbs up to this post if you have bonennkai this year, thumbs down if you don't.

I can't vote on my own post, but I'm thumbs down.

-29 ( +11 / -40 )

I really feel for these people obsessing over covid. You really don’t want to be on your deathbed looking back at your life and thinking , huh, that was a big chunk of time I wasted, those five years, I should have just not cared!

-8 ( +17 / -25 )

In my company all devisions end of year partys are cancelled by the top management, but we have a Sayonara Party for one of my Coworkers.

Participants and amount of people are the same, so I don't see any different.

And of course, I will join!

-8 ( +12 / -20 )

we wouldn’t have big group bounenkai, if one is planned, I wouldn’t join. I have had small and 1x1 lunch dates though. Firmwide we would have virtual events. Not as fun as the real one but at least we see everyone’s face in one place and have a few drinks in the comfort of home.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Using the new Omicron variant to decline going to or cancelling bonennkai is probably a blessing in disguise for many people. I've yet to talk to anyone here who actually looks forward to and enjoys this end of year party that feels more like a work obligation than anything else.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

I though the crude prices issue are settle after several nation announce the release of their oil reserves and the omicron news made oil prices plummet. So how come prices are still high?

As long borders are tightly controlled, we probably gonna have a peaceful winter. The people here are going about their business as usual.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

How can it be "cautiously entered"? Do they have dry-run nomikai parties?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Omicron is just another name for a seasonal flu. South African health experts keep stating that it only has mild effects but there are those who want to keep the fear going and everyone triple vaxxed.

-5 ( +18 / -23 )

Omicron or not, no bonenkai again this year, added bonus, no need to send out nenga-jo either.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

How can it be "cautiously entered"? Do they have dry-run nomikai parties?

Back in the day, damn near every night in December, was a precursor to the "bonenkai"

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Cautiously trying to just pray it away again and hope it passes their bonenkai.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Well it ruined our holiday plans, so fingers crossed we get a 10man payout in compensation.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Think the rising costs of dinning out/ affordable food, less money, the window given by the virus to a world where you don’t have to spend your own time drinking, sucking up to management, and people you see everyday. It’s given people a breath of fresh air, a glimmer of control over their own personal lives. If you want to drink with co-workers fine. If you don’t fine. It’s not the end of the world to say no thanks, I have a relationship and a family, see you after the 3-5 holiday break. Miss you not at all.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Personally not a huge fan of the office drinking party, but upon reflection, I have to admit that I have the tightest working relationship with the people I've gotten plastered with in the past.

It certain level of trust is built once you pull off an all-nighter with someone.

The generation that started working in 2020 is missing out on something and Zoom ain't gonna fix it.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

Good, good Japan!

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

I think bonenkais were well decided before omicron, which anyway has not be reported except the two cases at the airport

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If you have to get totally drunk to obtain or maintain a good working relationship and solid friendships then feel free to celebrate, but please don't include anyone that would rather enter the new year in a healthy clear mindset .

Alcohol is a depressant and not conducive to a healthy immune system.

If you have to question if its a good idea during a pandemic then the answer is no.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

Don’t need a bonenkai, just give me my bonus and we are good.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Already had our bonenkai. Was great fun and enjoyed the second round at the packed bar with pretty, young ladies.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

Bonenkai is an awful tradition anyway. Many are forced to attend, and many don't enjoy.

An ojisan trait that should be banished.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Risk management. If vaccinated people want to, why not?

The unvaccinated should not. They have much higher odds of having even non symptomatic cases of Covid.

Just because you like that truth, doesn’t make any less so.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

@Simian LaneToday  

I really feel for these people obsessing over covid. You really don’t want to be on your deathbed looking back at your life and thinking , huh, that was a big chunk of time I wasted, those five years, I should have just not cared!

I don't obsess on covid. However, the governments are obsessing and overreaching on covid and covid regulations which is definitely smothering people's quality of life. They are taking away many privileges that we once had. Can't even travel international for vacations anymore and many other simple things. Not good.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Omicron is just another name for a seasonal flu.

No, it is not according to the best available science, at least until actual scientific evidence comes up that the risk from this variant decreases to the level observed with the flu. Do you have that evidence or are you just pulling things out of thin air?

5 ( +12 / -7 )

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/406372f2-551d-11ec-9ca1-1eec44899057?shareToken=e7218fa3c9af0b501337afbd57eed032

Doctors and Nurses have had enough of not being able to treat those in need because of the unvaccinated.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Omicron is just another name for a seasonal flu.

Yes, as the Omicron cases are increases, they are still considered overall milder than previous variants. This is also supported by the testing of sewage water in South Africa.

So there is no reason to not go out drinking if you want to. But, having said that, I'm glad I won't be having any bonenkai again this year.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Well said @Bronco. They are totally missing out, I fear the younger and ‘woke’ generation are starting to live a ‘cookie cutter’ life and it sounds awfully dull.

Put your mobile phone down, get out there drinking and picking up boys/girls the old fashioned way.

@Raw Beer: Pretty sure you’ll struggle to find any company anyway!

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Yes, as the Omicron cases are increases, they are still considered overall milder than previous variants. This is also supported by the testing of sewage water in South Africa.

That is still terribly poor evidence to say this is on the same risk level compared with influenza, that means the comment is still invalid. Delta also produced mild diseases in many of the patients, it was still enough to become a huge health problem even with measures in place to delay spreading.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Omicron is just another name for a seasonal flu. South African health experts keep stating that it only has mild effects but there are those who want to keep the fear going and everyone triple vaxxed.

Such a disrespectful statement to make to all the families of those who have lost people. Such rabid, stupid denial.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Put your mobile phone down, get out there drinking and picking up boys/girls the old fashioned way.

Don’t forget to kiss Grandma on the way out.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I think Japanese will spend like crazy for domestic travel this winter. I was just at Minatomirai in Yokohama and it is absolutely packed. There was a line more than 50 meters just for the McD's, and long lines at every single restaurant. Domestic demand will help the economy a lot.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I think Japanese will spend like crazy for domestic travel this winter. I was just at Minatomirai in Yokohama and it is absolutely packed. There was a line more than 50 meters just for the McD's, and long lines at every single restaurant. Domestic demand will help the economy a lot.

Yes, this is a good article on this topic. I am sure many people just didn't even go to tourist spots because they were so overran by foreign tourists:

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/economics/article/3158414/omicron-shelves-japans-reopening-post-chinese-tourism-era?module=lead_hero_story&pgtype=homepage

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ironically, the huge numbers of Chinese that were allowed in turned out not to be a boon for Japan.

Exports and domestic demand have been the mainstays for many decades.

Also, Omicron is not quite the raging plague that it is being marketed as.

-no deaths reported from the variant

—deaths in originating counties such as South Africa have not spiked.

With low cases in Japan and surely people know how to self protect, isn’t it time to return to normality?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Also, Omicron is not quite the raging plague that it is being marketed as.

-no deaths reported from the variant

—deaths in originating counties such as South Africa have not spiked.

With low cases in Japan and surely people know how to self protect, isn’t it time to return to normality?

Omicron is still uncertain and in the meanwhile Delta is far from gone. So, no.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Staying shivering from fear in the cave as well as excessive partying with a group of southern African exchange students are obviously the both extremes to avoid. With those low current numbers and some distance and hygienic precaution measures at the bonenkai place I don’t see statistically relevant obstacles. Enjoy the party, who knows for sure if there ever will be one again in the years to come.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Was in Shinjuku and saw no difference to pre-Corona times. People are partying and tired of the Corona panic.

The really weird thing is this new mask custom that seems to have been established. Peope wear masks outside, where there is totally no need for them, but take them of to go to crowded Izayaka and Karoke bars.... and then put them back on again when they go outside. Talk about an upside down world!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I call it 忘年無い season. I’m glad I won’t be going to any because that’s a lot of money saved. It’s sad that it that the Kanji forget your worries instead of appreciating what you have. But such is the way in Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

thank god we don’t have one this year…. Seriously who wants to hear the mgmt - old Japanese men sing while drunk…. It’s about time we stop feeding their egos…

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I'm gonna go to the biggest one I can find.

I was out at a club on saturday...it was rammed and everyone had a great time. The time for worrying about this is over, vaccinate and live your life......I'm looking forward to bonenkais

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Good

Interesting poll, good thinking. In my company's case we usually have a fairly large one which includes customers and other key contacts (50 or so people). This year we're just having an unofficial (and 100% voluntary) one for the 7 staff. 5 are keen, 2 prefer not to. We're not asking the decliners why they don't want to join but my feeling is that 1 is covid-related and 1 just doesn't like that kind of event, which is completely fine.

My personal opinion is that in general bounenkai are very valuable IF there isn't a year-round expectation that people will drink with their colleagues. It's not unreasonable to HOPE that people will join a social activity once a year, especially if the company is paying and there is no pressure for people to get legless. The problem is that at some companies the bounenkai is the 100th (or more) occasion of the year when people are unofficially expected to drink with their colleagues. I can see why people might find that a grind.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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