Feb 27, 2016

The Art of Settai in Japan Part II

This is a follow-up on my post about the Art of Settai in Japan.

We enter now in the second part of this post and we will see what happens (or not) in the second place.
As Settai is also a kind of Nomikai (more about The Art of Nomikai in Japan), you can expect a 二次会 (nijikai or second party, see more about this).
After finishing your dinner, you will most probably move to another place.
Three choices:
  1. Your host will catch a cab in the street
  2. The place where you had dinner will call a taxi and the car will be waiting for you outside of the restaurant.
  3. If your host is a real VIP, he might have his driver waiting for you with his Lexus or another brand of car waiting for you.

So now, the second place:

I have to tell the truth.
There might not be any second place.
You might just finish your settai in the first place. Having dinner, then bye-bye.
In some cases your host will handle you a taxi ticket (you just give the ticket to the driver, the invoice will be sent to the host's company).
But then, if you really go to a second place, it might involve presence of ladies.

You have a myriad of choices in Japan.

It can be sophisticated hostess clubs in Ginza.

It can be small snacks (you have the owner, generally an older lady and with some younger girls, sometimes you have a karaoke too)

It can be キャバクラ (read Kyabakura which is a contraction of Cabaret and Club) which is a wilder version of hostess clubs.

It can be Girls bar (which is a cheaper version of Kyabakura, where the main difference is that ladies do not seat next to you but sit behind the bar counter - due to a different license for the shop)

In any case, the typical pattern will be the same.
You will have some ladies close to you, facilitating the conversation with you host, talking to you too and pour you drinks. (sometimes will drink together with you, their drinks are not free of course)
In some cases your host will have what they call a bottle-keep, which is a bottle bought from the shop and kept so they can drink whenever they want. Often Whisky or shochu.
If on company expense, on the bottle you will have the name of the company. (so nothing to be ashamed of)
In the second place, you can expect to spend from 1 hour to several hours (last time I was invited we stayed 4 hours...)
Talks will be less about business (because also of the presence of ladies) but more relax type, talk about family, society matters and so on...
The purpose is: To get familiar with each other, to get close and to develop a relationship that will facilitate the business when you are back in business mode. We enjoyed together, so we should help each other. 
This is not conflict of interest. It is more about trying to have smooth business relationships and avoiding conflicts.
Well, if some peoples are interested I can write more about "clubs in ladies in Japan" or "how to impress you boss with a nice settai", let me know.
Meanwhile you can follow all posts on directionjapan.com or on Twitter @GaishikeimanJP


20 years experience in Japan. running http://directionjapan.com
French citizen in his forties living in Japan and almost 20 years working for foreign companies in Japan.


  • SalarymanJim

    on Mar 1

    Definitely interested in how to impress the boss with a nice settai. I see these 'Girls Bar' signs all over the place near work. I've never been in one though. Most of them don't look very classy, from the outside at least.

  • DirectionJapan

    on Mar 3

    Thank you for your comment. I put it in my todo list "How to impress the boss with a nice settai". Re: the girls bars, well you are right. it's sometimes quite cheap in the set-up.