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November 14th, 2012 MATTHEW KORFHAGE | Headout
 

Headout: Gaijin Style

Learn some basic izakaya etiquette.

headout_3902ILLUSTRATION: Hawk Krall

The Jupiter Hotel will play host this week to the massive Izakaya pub fest—with representatives of almost every Portland sake “dining bar” and distiller (not Tanuki, see here) serving up massive tonnage of rice wine and pub grub in a vast space loosely laid out like sections of the Tokyo subway. Izakayas go deep in Japan—back to 17th-century sake shops serving food out the front door—but the most dominant modern image is a traditional-minded bar full of the cherry-cheeked workaholic salarymen of Japan’s postwar years. Since the 1980s, the scene has broadened to include women and the young, but there’s some old-school etiquette to follow… if you want to call it that.

“Kanpai!”

This is the start to every izakaya drinking session: It’s Japanese bar talk for “On your marks, get set, go!” That is to say, it means, “Bottoms up.” Don’t start drinking until you say it.

Never pour your own.
It’s bad manners to greedily grope at the sake carafe and pour more for yourself; it’s also bad manners to let anybody else’s cup go empty. When you pour for somebody else, they pour for you. Traditionally, the younger and inferior pour first, then are bestowed upon in return by their gracious betters. If you come alone, the only recourse is to weep softly until the cup fills with the salt of your tears.

“Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!”
Yelling “banzai” three times as you drink is how you signal to the rest of the bar that you’re drunk. If you’re a middle-aged salary worker in a power suit, being publicly drunk is considered fairly normal.

Don’t start with ramen or rice.
This isn’t hard and fast, but most Japanese don’t accompany heavy drinking with starch. The izakaya is more of a meat-and-pickle culture—similar to those other great public drinkers, the Germans. If beer is liquid bread, sake is liquid rice. Ramen and yakisoba are less bar snack than night-ender, like a trip to a 24-hour taco house.

Get as drunk as you want.
After all, there’s an advanced, 24-hour, high-speed transit system to take your sorry butt home. Oh, wait, there isn’t. Never mind. 


GO: Izakaya at the Jupiter Hotel, 800 E Burnside St., celebrateizakaya.com. 5:30-9 pm Friday, Nov. 16. $40. 21+.



Headout Picks

THURSDAY NOV. 15

SHAKESPEARE PARTY
[BOOZY BARD] Pick up your script at the door and knock back a beer at this Surprise Party Theatre event. Attendees will act out Richard III, Shakespeare’s historical play about a slimy bastard king. Jack London Bar, 529 SW 4th Ave., 228-7605. 7:30 pm. $5 suggested donation.

HOP IN THE SADDLE LAUNCH
[BOOKS & BEER] Hop in the Saddle is a Kickstarter-funded book about craft beer and bicycles. That couldn’t get any more Portland if you added some whimsical doughnuts and a unicycling bagpiper. The launch party will be held at Velo Cult, which is a bike shop and a bar. RSVP at hopinthesaddle.com. Velo Cult, 1969 NE 42nd Ave., 922-2012. 7 pm Thursday, Nov. 15. Free.

THE COUP
[MUSIC] The voice of rapper and funk extremist Boots Riley sounds so fitting against the scrunching sound of fat politicians squeezing their butts into new seats of authority. Riley has always had a way of putting a street-laced spin on witty political humor, and the Coup’s newest album, Sorry to Bother You, is a perfect soundtrack to early November. The Bob White Theatre, 6423 SE Foster Road, 894-8672. 8 pm. $13. 21+.


FRIDAY NOV. 16

TITUS ANDRONICUS
[MUSIC] Local Business, the band’s new album, finds it drawing back from the lofty heights of its concept album, The Monitor, returning to the scraggly, beery-eyed glory of its 2008 debut. Opening with a roaring three-song suite, the record rips from rousing Springsteenisms to Replacements-style emotional bloodletting, with singer Patrick Stickles crafting strained-throated and personal anthems. Branx, 320 SE 2nd Ave., 234-5683. 9 pm. $10 advance, $13 doors. All ages.


SATURDAY NOV. 17

D.B. COOPER MOVIE NIGHT
[MOVIES] Forty-one years ago, D.B. Cooper jumped out of a plane. He’s been the stuff of legend since. Tonight, see the Robert Duvall vehicle The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper and hear local historian Doug Kenck-Crispin’s theories on the country’s only unsolved skyjacking. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-4215. 7:30 pm. $5. 


TUESDAY NOV. 20

PORTLANDIA GUIDEBOOK
[BOOKS] If the rest of the country thinks all we do in Portland is eat sensitively prepared food and put birds on things, the new Portlandia guidebook will surely confirm it. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, present Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors. Bagdad Theater & Pub, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-9234. 7 pm Tuesday, Nov. 20. $16.99, includes a copy of the book.
 
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