The last drop of sake

The book :
In his collection “La dernière goutte de saké“, Etienne Barral compiles stories or chronicles of habits and customs in Japan. A country that has always fascinated Westerners.

The chosen extract immerses us in the atmosphere of a typical Japanese evening in a bar. The character discovers the ceremonial around sake, which is also enjoyed hot: When he enters this izakaya, half bar, half restaurant without pretension, the salaryman is still an employee, with a mind filled with “norma”, these sales objectives to be achieved to maintain the esteem of his colleagues and superiors. The sesame that opens the doors of “nomination”: a resounding “otsukare-sama deshita”! “Tired but satisfied, we did a good job together.

Nomination” is nomu (drinking) and komyunikêshon (communication), a typically Japanese neologism forged to designate this particular form of friendly relationships over a drink in the evening after the office.


The author :
Graduated from INALCO in 1986, Etienne Barral worked for three years as a correspondent for the Nouvel Observateur. He then remained in Japan as a freelance journalist in 1989, working mainly for the weekly AERA. He is a specialist in new technologies. He participated in Jean-Jacques Beineix’s documentary in 1994 on the Otakus. Since April 2007, he has been writing a column in the Asahi Shimbun on Japan.

Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.