Thursday, May 19, 2011

Will Miss #321 - daikou

When debuneko overdoes it, he knows that daikou service is there to help him get home. ;-)

I've often talked about how subjective ones experiences are in Japan and how no one person can speak with encompassing authority or knowledge on life here, and the existence of daikou services and my coming by knowing about it about it so late in the game is proof of that. Daikou service (代行サービス) is, in essence, a paid designated driver. The main reasons I didn't know about this for so long are that I do not drink alcohol and do not drive in Japan. Also, I live in Tokyo and have access to a huge public transportation network as do my compatriots who drink. Daikou is more popular in rural areas because it's harder for a group of people to party and catch a train or taxi home. The existence of daikou is a reflection of the Japanese desire for everyone to do the same thing together while still exercising social responsibility. Using a designated driver (as is so popular in the U.S.) means one person is left out on the "fun", and in a country like Japan in which drinking is an important conduit for social bonding, this is a serious omission.

I'll miss what daikou says about the Japanese culture of inclusion and how such minutiae of life in Japan helpfully keep the subjectivity and anecdotal nature of my experiences in clear focus for me.