Friday, October 14, 2005
A nation of alkies
As well as being soft on the fags (on which subject I will not doubt write at length sometime soon) booze in its various forms is not seen as a particular health hazard here in Japan, especially when looked at from my Western perspective. There is no end of health-related programming on the telly here, but many gloss over the ill-effects of bevvying. My favourite program in this genre, Takeshi's Black Hospital (that's what we call it at home anyway), quite often has guests mentioning their drinking habits that back home would most likely have the guest committed forthwith to the nearest drying-out clinic, but here draw just gasps that sound more in awe than in astonishment. I've heard one guy, for instance, boast (yes, that is the right word) of knocking back almost two bottles of shochu (two litres at 25% proof) every night with zero reaction from the resident quack, and another woman on two bottles of wine at home (and remember, both were probably reporting average drinking habits, excluding quantities drunk at parties or other nights out) being told that that might be a little over the safe amount and she should think about maybe cutting down.
Last night there was another medical special, this time watching people's eating habits and predicting what illnesses may befall them in five and ten years time if they continue with the same diet, but alcohol did not feature as part of the diet in most of the celebrity guests, barring an occasional glass of beer appearing alongside the evening meal even though, judging by the other programs I see, booze fuels the whole tarento circuit.
Whilst I'm on this subject, there's also a poster doing the rounds in the train from the big brewers against under-age drinking. I can't find it online (I should snap it with my mobile!) but basically it lists a few horrendous things that beer can do to underage people that by implication suddenly stop happening the day you turn twenty. Bahh!
Note: I am a self-righteous ex-heavyish drinker (from 1.5 to 2 litres of 4% to 5% beer almost every day to three or so drinks one night every one or two months) so take all my rantings with the necessary pinches of salt.