June 16, 2005 – Farewell party for Kasparov

(This is an unpublished entry from my original travel blog when I was teaching English in Japan)

Recently one of my coworkers quit in spectacular fashion, getting his work visa changed and then sending his resignation by fax before a busy weekend. Kasparov was already not very popular with the other teachers, and the way he quit and made the rest of our schedules much busier did not help at all.

Angie let me know that there was going to be a small farewell party for Kasparov after work. Not a lot of people were interested in attending, but Angie wanted at least a few of us to show up. Since I rarely turn down a post work drink (especially when asked by a woman with a Scottish accent), I agreed and was part of the 4-5 teachers who showed up.

We met at a small izakaya near Mishima NOVA that I hadn’t been to before. It was nice, but didn’t have the same familiar character that I had learned to love at Ryoba. Kasparov was ordering sake, and when it arrived, it was poured in a way I had never seen before.

Kasparov was presented with a small sake cup inside a wooden box. The waiter poured sake into the glass, and it overflowed filling the box as well. To drink this requires you to drain the glass, then drink from the box while trying to spill as little as possible. I was intrigued, but after a few too many rough experiences with sake, I decided to stick with beer.

After a few sake glasses / boxes, Kasparov and his girlfriend started laughing about how he quit, and he was so happy about screwing the company over. Most of the effect of his sudden departure was actually felt by the teachers and students, so we didn’t feel the same satisfaction that he did. Usually farewell parties start at an izakaya, and end with late night karaoke. This one ended after a couple hours in the izakaya.

If you are upset with your employer, try not to screw over your coworkers on the way out.

(2015 Update) Apparently overflowing the glass into a box is a traditional thing. Read more about it here.

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