When you wake up hungover, you know you’re not going to have a normal day, so you might as well just start drinking with breakfast. At the tender age of 29 I have experienced just about every type of hangover imaginable, including the kind where you wake up in an office building a few blocks away from the bar you were at the night before. Have I learned anything from my mistakes? Yes I have, and that is that the only way to cure a hangover is to keep drinking.
Fortunately, alcohol is readily available in Japan 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most restaurants and cafes serve beer, sake and highballs, and if you are too ashamed to be in public, you can head to the nearest konbini and grab a few cans of Sapporo to get yourself back on track. So if you woke up this morning with a deep sense of regret and your reflection sent you spiraling downward into a pit of despair and self-loathing, don’t fret. Just pick a favorite from this list and you’ll be well on your way to recovery.
Hangover cure #1: Return to the scene of the crime
Most nights out in Japan begin at an izakaya and end either in a karaoke room or a massage parlor. I don’t recommend the last two because karaoke joints and brothels serve terrible food, but heading to one of the many 24-hour izakaya or yokocho (alleyways that are rich with the smell of grilled chicken, meat stews and old people) will more often than not help bring you back to life. A bowl of nikomi (beef tendon stew), some yakitori sticks and a few lunch beers will have you up and running in no time!
Hangover cure #2: Host a picnic
This is a fantastic way to look organized and make people think you care about them when really you just need an excuse to drink in the daytime. In Japan it is perfectly acceptable – and legal – to drink alcohol in public. While you might get some dirty looks for drinking on the subway, which is something I do often and with great relish, no one seems to mind if you do it while sitting on a blue tarp under a tree. Plus it’s customary for guests to bring booze, so you can drink theirs, and everybody wins.
Hangover cure #3: Oh thank heaven
…for 7-eleven! I'm not going to post a picture - you know what a convenience store looks like. One of my favorite things about Japan is that konbini are full of booze and open 24 hours a day. They also have a ton of food, if you are one of those people who cares about that. Here you can find everything to jump start your day: ready-to-eat soups, fried chicken, Chinese pork buns, coffee, soft drinks (lame), and of course beer and sake. Fill your arms with some recovery food and a few cans for the shower or bath and you’ll soon find yourself experiencing a category 5 BDE (Best Day Ever).
Honorable mention; if you are blessed enough to live close by a Burger King, I suggest taking full advantage, because Japanese BK serves HEINEKEN. Can you think of a better way to wash down a Whopper w/cheese? That was a rhetorical question but I am going to answer it anyway, and the answer is no, you can’t.