Mar 3, 2018
Living and working in Japan, you are likely to encounter more than a fair share of drinking parties (nomikai)--after all, it is a part of the culture. Now for the young bucks out there, bouncing back from a night of drinking may not be any problem at all, but for a father of two, a hangover can completely wreck you.
So how can you prevent that dreaded hangover from hitting you in spite of a hearty night of drinking with friends and/or coworkers planned? While I'm sure many of you out there have your own hangover prevention tricks, I'd like to introduce you all to hangover prevention, Japan style. Here are the three easy steps:
Step 1: Tap into the Power of the Ukon
Available at any convenience store in Japan, the Power of the Ukon (literally, ukon no chikara) is a vitamin drink made with ground turmeric root. Throw in some other vitamins and minerals, and this 100-120 mL drink is supposed to counteract the alcohol you will be imbibing (or had already imbibed). While I recommend starting with this, you can always pick some up for a pick-me-up after the event ends or between the nomikai and nijikai (after party).
Step 2: Order Oolong Tea along with your other drinks
One of the keys to preventing a hangover is adequate hydration, which can be difficult if the only thing being ordered at dinner is beer and liquor. Most nomikai will take place at a restaurant with some sort of nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) menu plan. Sure, you can order water, but if you have ever been to a Japanese restaurant, you know that they'll almost always serve water in cups that are barely bigger than shot glasses. Still, one drink that will always be on an "all-you-can-drink" menu is Oolong tea. That is a fantastic option because it will be served in the same full-sized glasses as the other drinks coming to the table. Also, Oolong tea beats the soft drink options on the menu because it eliminates the worry about drinking too many sugary drinks that can exacerbate a hangover.
Step 3: Eat some Oden after you're done drinking
After finishing your night of drinking, I recommend heading out for some Oden, which is a broth-based Japanese dish containing an assortment of things like boiled eggs, potato, konyaku, and noodles. This has long been a popular option for Japanese folks looking to close out a long night out, and it makes sense why. The broth of Oden helps hydrate you and settle your stomach while the starchier contents like potato and noodles can absorb some of the alcohol that you drank. A lot of drinking areas in Japan's major cities will have Oden restaurants nearby, but you can always stop by your nearest convenience store and get your own customized oden-to-go!
Do you have any other Japanese hangover prevention tips? Feel free to use the comments section below!
Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.
Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).