Consequences of high alcohol consume pop up in the press from time to time. Recently Japan Times showed that a government-funded secretary of government revitalization minister Renho has been questioned on a voluntary basis based on suspicion of touching a teenage girl under her dress while bicycling drunk in Tokyo. The aide, who is in his 30s, allegedly lifted the 18-year-old’s skirt and touched her hip as he rode past her on a bicycle in the wee hours. Taking responsibility for his unlawful behavior the secretary stepped down voluntarily.
Most likely you know that Japanese or other Asians tend to get a red face after alcohol consumption. According to the British Journal of Psychiatry several studies have indicated that approximately half of those from East Asia have very low aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) activity. This enzyme limits alcohol intake by means of the unpleasant symptoms that occur after alcohol consumption owing to the low capacity to metabolize aldehyde (Ferguson & Goldberg, 1997). Facial flushing after alcohol consumption is an excellent indicator of the presence of inactive ALDH2 (Takeshita et al, 1993; Yokoyama et al, 1997).
Understand me right, I do not mind a cold beer or a good glass of wine, for me more important is to know the personal limit so that one does not annoy or cause problems for others. Compared to my experiences abroad, in Japan too high alcohol consumption is easily excused from the environment, plus local business culture puts pressure on keeping up with the team consumption speed, leading to effects that could actually be avoided in public.
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)