How to Party

partyThe party scene in Tokyo is amazing. It’s multi-cultural, exotic and usually quite inclusive. Here you’ll find party people from very disparate social, political, economic, ethnic backgrounds having the time of their lives. As a party organizer, I attempt to tweak the dynamics of a potential party to maximize everyone’s fun by inviting guests who know how to party well. Here I am offering a list of characteristics and attitudes that will increase your chances of getting invited to parties in Tokyo, and should be applicable nearly anywhere.

Premium guests…

  1. pay the cover charge if there is one. A number of guests have attempted to attend parties that I have organized without paying, some perhaps thinking their celebrity status makes them an exception. I have not invited them to subsequent parties. Party hosts and organizers, in turn, should be clear about any charge.
  2. bring drinks or food when asked. You might call the host just before the party to see whether they need any last minute items such as ice or cups.
  3. bring the appropriate number of guests. Know what permissions you have to bring additional guests. Notify the host if there are any changes.
  4. socialize. Don’t stand in a corner by yourself waiting for someone to talk to you. The best guests talk to every one at the party before they focus on any particular person. They also don’t disappear early into a more private area with someone.
  5. know how to compliment others. There is at least one kind thing you can say about each person at the party. Some guests have refused to speak with others simply because they were not “beautiful” or “cool”. Highschoolish.
  6. don’t back out on a whim. And if they must miss a party that they have committed to, they call the host or organizer in time for them to make adjustments to the guest-list if necessary.
  7. don’t offend other guests by introducing controversial topics or by using vulgar, racist langurage, or by being condescending to others they think beneath them, or by getting too physical with a romantic interest too early. They also have the social radar to know whether or not the focus of their romantic attention already has a romantic partner at the same party. Kissing the host’s wife nearly always leads to bad things.
  8. don’t drink in excess. Hosts don’t want you sleeping over on the bathroom floor.
  9. know who the host and organizer are. If you arrive at a party without knowing, ask around, and never fail to thank the host when you leave. It is often amazing to me how much of their own money party hosts often spend on a good party.
  10. don’t whine about not having a romantic partner, and imply that the host/organizer should set them up. This is very annoying. If you are provided with the context of a party, it is up to you to make things happen. This usually takes merely a few steps and opening your mouth.
  11. don’t freak out over cameras. Most people who enjoy partying do not need to micro manage their lives by attempting to filter every public posting of their image. This attitude is often indicative of a disconnect between who you actually are and a false impression you’re trying to give other people. If you don’t feel comfortable about having a “wild” side publicly visible, parties may not be your thing.
  12. don’t bring their emotional baggage. If you find someone at the party with whom you’ve had a negative history, don’t ask the host to not invite them to the next party.
  13. are not overly-competitive. Don’t attempt to herd your romantic targets into a corner and monopolize their time and attention. Nor should you rudely barge into a conversation and attempt to redirect it towards your agenda. Extra points if you are helping out those who are socially challenged.
  14. offer to pay for any damage. If you break a wine glass, let the host know immediately. Most hosts will be gracious about it.
  15. don’t forget things. Make sure you take home your camera and cell phone. An exhausted host does not need to wake up to a strange ringtone at 4am.

And a secret. Premium guests often get invited to some of the more interesting parties that very few hear about.


3 thoughts on “How to Party

  1. Paul says:

    Man… I wish I had read this before I went to Japan!! Thanks for the heads up!

  2. McDaddyo says:

    Male Gaijin partygoers take note:

    Resist any temptation to take advantage of the monumental forbearance of Japanese women. Some Western men operate under the assumption that the absence of sustained physical resistance constitutes permission to escalate. Sadly, it’s a strategy that works often enough, so that offenders may never catch on to how rude they are being or how they are spoiling the fun for everyone.
    I have no moral qualms about someone else being very aggressive in pursuing their aims with women of any nationality, as long as there’s no coercion. But when you’re attending a party, such behavior is also rude to the host and to the other men.
    One of the best parties I’ve attended in Tokyo was at an expat’s gorgeous apartment. The flirting balance was nice (for men, anyway): about 2 to 1 female to male. About a third were married or close couples. I was single at the time and the gals were competing freely and, even, heatedly for my attention — just the way I like it.
    When the same host threw another party about a month later, of course I attended and brought along four women and a guy as guests, with the host’s permission, of course.
    The male-female ratio was about the same, but the atmosphere had deteriorated. A lot of the crowd was the same people, except that the married and attached men virtually all came stag and were on the hunt for a quick score.
    Most Japanese women are smarter than they appear under these circumstances. The women I brought to the party quickly downshifted into “nightclub” mode, sticking mostly to themselves and acting as if the men weren’t to be trusted. They, and most of the other women at the party, weren’t happy being targeted by so many married men. My friends left early, heading out for a real nightclub rather than the mini-meat market my buddy’s party had turned out to be.
    I went to the third party a few months later and, sure enough, there were a lot fewer women, fewer couples and, overall, a much diminished atmosphere.
    Morals of the story: if you’re a guest, consider your host and other party goers before you go around putting the hard moves on half the gals in the place — especially if you’re wearing a wedding ring. You might get laid once out of it, but, eventually, few will want you at their parties. Second: if you’re a host, make sure to have plenty of couples. It’s a good way to tamp down the more aggressive hunting instincts which, overall, actually make it harder for anyone to score. (Not too many couples, though, as that too throws off the balance of animal spirits!)

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