I don’t know any Japanese people (in Japan) who don’t have at least one BBQ a year. That’s not to say everyone in Japan has them, just everyone I know! What I deduce from this; barbecues are popular in Japan. Autumn seems to be the most common season for them. Barbecues aren’t a thing in Ireland. We just don’t have the weather for them. If people do have a BBQ it’s usually impromptu on a fine day in their back garden. In Japan, they are organised well in advance, they are usually in a park or public space (that has public toilets) and they are quite the production.
We have a fixed date, with a particular group of friends, each year on the first bank holiday of November. We’ve been doing it for 7 years now and each time the riverside park we use is full with groups of people barbecuing. In typical Japanese style it’s usually an early start and we meet at the station at 9.30am. We are usually designated drivers as we have a Voyager and we take as many people as we can. For the same reason we are also responsible for bringing some of the heavy-duty equipment such as the grill, a camping fold out table for 16 people, a large tarp, a picnic mat and other cooking items. Another designated driver brings more BBQ equipment, the food and the booze. And so on and so forth. I was so impressed the first time I attended a BBQ in Japan at how everyone pitched in without a complaint and the finished “scene” was like something out of a camping magazine. I was / am equally impressed by how deftly everyone tidies up when it’s all over. The clean up, usually as sun is setting around 16.30, is unbelievably co-ordinated that it’s almost like everyone practised. Everyone regardless of what they were doing or how much drink is in their glass stops when hometime is called. Then everyone takes on a job immediately, no dilly dallying or messing about, and gets everything cleaned up and packed up as diligently as they set up hours earlier in a much more sober state. The downside of being a designated driver (other than not being able to drink when everyone else is) is that we also have to bring at least one rubbish bag home.
Early November weather in Japan is perfect for a BBQ with blue skies, bright warming sunlight and the backdrop of autumn leaves in every colour. As a bonus, our annual BBQ usually co-incides with the local small airport for light aircraft’s practise run for an airshow, so we get to enjoy the preview.
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