As the end of the year approaches, people often feel the need to reflect on the achievements but also  the trials and tribulations of the old year: what did I do wrong? What did I do right? Has this been a successful year? Have I grown as a person? Have I grown professionally? A lot of questions that intrigue us come December…and they get even more intriguing if you are from Japan; it is common knowledge that work accomplishments are highly valued in the country. However, once  they’ve done some pondering, it is time to forget all the bad stuff and have a wild celebration called bonenkai.


It is usually work colleagues, college classmates and friends have a bonenkai party (so virtually everyone in Japan). Its purpose is to wash away the regrets of the old year (possibly with a lot of beer) and start with a clean slate. (Although bonenkai is not a part of the shogatsu celebrations that last until 3 January.) The tradition of bonenkai dates back to the 16th century, when honouring the old year with a feast became a habit of the ruling class.


Well, let’s be honest: bonenkai is really about drinking and a little bit of eating too (since you have to be able to handle drinking for a long time.) Playing games like bingo is also common, but bonenkai is more about getting to know each other by talking, even to your boss or supervisor; given the natural reservedness of the Japanese and their obsession with hierarchy and politeness, drinking alcohol is the dream ticket to leave this all behind. Bureiko is the term for letting your hair down, and it happens a lot at bonenkai parties! The other good thing is that whatever goes down at the bonenkai will be a faint memory come Monday, and no one will ever bring up the awkward moments.


These parties are usually held in izakayas, casual Japanese pubs where food is served. Of course they are all booked through December, so sometimes companies decide to have the bonenkai at the office: it is cheaper this way. However, izakayas are more convenient and most of the time there is a nomihodai offer which means all-you-can-drink (and eat) for a certain amount of money. The most popular food choices are nabemono, karaage and yakitori variations, washed down with gallons of beer and sake.


December is the  month of bonenkai parties and it is always a Friday or Saturday so that you don’t have to go to work the next day in case you drink too much (which you most probably will).

Sushi Sei, the Japanese restaurant awaits its customers with neat and elegant surroundings in the heart of Óbuda. Taste our traditional and modern Japanese meals made from the best of ingredients and with the highest of expertise! Sushi Sei is the ideal venue for family gatherings, cheering with our friends or business meetings. Book a table now, or ask for  delivery to indulge in your favourite Japanese dishes at home!