15 September, 2006

Dinner with "the team"

Last night, I hosted a dinner for my new team. Not my entire team, you know, since I'm having a few problems with the recruiting these days. I also had a colleague from Tokyo & guy from the HR team there who has been providing me with a ton of help, great guy.

So, we headed over to a restaurant near the office... English name "Hot Fish." As usual, a bunch of weird stuff on the menu, but thankfully no one ordered anything too weird (like duck stomachs or duck tongues...yes, they were on the menu).

On the way to dinner, it was determined by the HR guy that we would have some Chinese Wine. This is not wine, it's a liquor and some types can likely be used as jet fuel. I've had some here & there before, but not to the extent of last night's dinner.

There was a choice given to me between 38% & 52% (76 proof & 104 proof respectively). I opted for the 38%, but I was quickly correct by the HR guy ... "52% much better!" OK, I'll trust him.

Only 4 of us were going to drink the wine...we also had beer. When the clear liquid was sitting in front of me, just about filled to the top of a standard sized wine glass, I got a little scared. Jokingly, I quickly raised my glass and said "ganbei!" ... thought I would use it to break the ice a bit. Because no one, including me, was about to drink their first glass to the bottom. I then attempted a simple "toast" in Chinese... "I welcome you to our company" ... I butchered it, but they more or less understood what I was trying to say. Throughout dinner, there were many "cheers" and simple sayings and thanks in English. It was all very nice.

After the first glass of the "wine," we started to get a little courageous. It was time for the "ganbeis" to begin. I started off the first one, it was hilarious. I had strategically been sipping on mine as the others had barely touched theirs...bottoms up!

After 1 & 1/2 bottles and about 10 liters of beer, it was time to call it a night. The HR guy was smashed, I was on my way and as we walked out of the room, I saw a few guys stumbling around... Thursday night must be wine night.

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