Monday, February 11, 2008

Drinkin' kulcha 2

This season has been something of a season for the booze, with not much to do outside in the freezing weather and many other people unable to do anything worthwhile in the cold. We have had cause once again to test that most disturbing of Japanese practices, "All you can drink parties" (nomihodai). And while drinking at home with my ever-patient Japanese teacher, Professor F, I discovered an amazing little aspect of drinking culture which, I am sure, will never take off in the Antipodes: Daiko.

Daiko is the kind of system which sensible people who live in small cities adopt willingly. In Japan it is illegal to drive after even one drink, but many people like to drive their cars at this time of year. The solution is daiko, in which a taxi comes to meet you carrying two drivers. While you are taken home in the taxi, one of the taxi drivers follows behind in your car, returning it to your house with you. The total cost of this is said to be marginally higher than a normal taxi driver.

Who in their right mind would let a Sydney cabby near their car? But here you get a valet driver with your taxi service... a particularly welcome luxury in the depths of a cold and snowy winter!


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