Upon arriving to Japan, it finally sunk in that most of my friends lived on different continents and I was so far away from them. Moving to Korea was a challenge, but I soon learned a few phrases to get me by, followed by reading to read and write in Hangul allowed me to further communicate with people. Moving to a whole new country without studying the language posed one problem. How would I be able to eat and drink with new friends. I kept my expectations low and moved into a sharehouse. I would be paying about $200 more than what I needed to, but it would allow me to meet people and socialize.
Immediately after I moved in, I met Cito and some other residents who invited me to join their cooking club and just like that @cookingwithcito was born. I would go on to manage and curate the photos and help out with cooking and doing the dishes. It’s going strong and I’m so happy that I was able to meet everyone and be a part of it.
Then came the issue of drinking. Sure I could go to the bars and drop lots of cash each weekend, but that wasn’t financially responsible. What could do that was affordable? I couldn’t put on college themed party as I did in undergrad. While they had really awesome themes, I couldn’t imagine it going over well in Japan, especially at a share house. How crazy could it really get? It would probably be a failure or not as fun as it could be. After a little thinking and talking with residents, it appeared as if a lot of people enjoyed drinking, but many were too shy to invite other people or talk with them while drinking, unless they had been introduced to each other by a mutual friend. That concept is so ridiculous to me. This reminds me of time when I was kid and I asked my dad if my friend could sleep over and he was all like “Well has he invited you yet?” And I was like no, neither of us have ever had a sleepover before. My dad responded with “No, since he didn’t invite you, we are not going to invite him.” What kind of logic is that? At that rate ain’t no sleepover gon’ happen evaaaaa!
I learned to introduce myself first so that I would meet more people. It works pretty well believe or not. After meeting some people I decided to organize a cocktail potluck. Why potluck? Since some people love sharing their drink ideas with other people, why not have them hone their recipe at home and then bring it to pass around with everyone else? Also, it’s important that some people do not drink alcohol. Whether it be by choice, for health reasons, or both, I decided to also make it a potluck. We are no longer in peer pressured environments such as college undergrad, so it’s important to be considerate of others.
It turned out great. People were really excited. They spent time thinking about what they were going to make. People asked me for websites or places to go shopping for spirits. It was great. Then came time for the event. The first time 12 people showed up. It’s been getting larger each time and I’ve been meeting more and more people. There were some hiccups along the way. I used to host it twice a month and I realized that was too difficult, both as a host and as guest. So I limited it to max of once a month. I’m looking forward to learning more recipes and drinks. If you want to keep up with what we make and drink, follow us on @minibartender on Instagram!
If you live in the greater Tokyo area and want to join, contact me and ask on how to be a part of the Cocktail Potluck!