Each July we (Conrad's English House) have our annual summer party. This last one was our biggest to date. Over 50 people came, including a dozen of my foreign friends. The students at our school always enjoy talking to people from around the world and this night was like a mini United Nations party with Australia, England, Ireland, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Nepal, USA and Japan represented. It's a good chance for our students to use their English in a casual "party" atmosphere. And having a couple of beers usually helps! :) The non-Japanese at the party can also enjoy talking with interesting people (my students) and hanging out with fellow "gaijin".
We started the party off with the "Who am I"? ice breaker. Everyone had a famous person's name taped to their back and they had to ask "Yes/No" questions to find out who they were. Later, we gave away prizes which included some very intricate origami made by Odawara's own "Mr. Origami". Drinks were just 500 yen each so most people got their fill. Japan has an interesting drinking culture. As many folks in America begin to reduce their alcohol intake from their mid-20's, it's probably the opposite here. One good thing is drinking & driving isn't as big a problem here as most go home by train and taxis can be found quite readily. There's also a Zero tolerance law. If you have just one drink and you wait more than an hour, it's still illegal to drive. California's maximum legal blood-alcohol content is .08%.
The venue is always at Shalamer. This is my favorite bar in Odawara. There's no cover-charge as there often is at other bars in Japan (sometimes up to 1000 yen). And the master (owner of the bar) is a really cool guy that can speak English. His lovely wife, Gayla, is also a guest teacher at our school. This is a DJ bar and every night you can listen to great "old school" music from Earth Wind & Fire, The Commodores, Bee Gees, Jackson 5, Kool & the Gang, etc. This is also the only place in town to dance. About every other month, there's a dance party and people come from all the neighboring towns to get down and boogie. This old man goes out there and busts a move from time to time (LOL as you know I can't dance). :)