Japanese Drinking Games. No#1: Ping Pong Pang

Like any decent country, Japan has an array of weird drinking games. Most of them have absurdly complicated rules and rely on the drunkest/stupidest person making a mistake, and then having to down their drink as a forfeit. When someone in Japan has to neck a glass of booze, their tormentors chant “iki iki iki!” (Be careful not to say “iku iku iku!” which is what people gasp during sex, fact fans.)

One such game is “Ping Pong Pang,” (or “Ping Pang Pong,” depending on who you ask. Which of the two names is the “real” one has led to many a heated debate in bars across Japan.) It’s a fast-paced and confusing game, and the rules are thus: When someone begins the game by saying “Ping,” the person to their left must quickly say “Pong,” and the next person in line must then say “Pang” whilst simultaneously pointing at someone else at the table who has to immediately say “Ping,” which starts the whole process again.
As you can imagine, there are plenty of opportunities to screw up. If you hesitate, it’s “iki iki iki” time. If you say the wrong word: “iki iki iki”. If you point at the wrong time, or you forget to point: “iki iki iki”. Hey Presto: lots of drunk people!

There are occasional references to the game in popular culture. In fact, I’ve just discovered a cool electronic-rock group called “Ping Pong Pang”, who you can hear at this site, or read about on their official website. A fine soundtrack to any drinking game. Enjoy!

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14 Responses to Japanese Drinking Games. No#1: Ping Pong Pang

  1. clarkebruce says:

    Sounds like a recipe for a hangover to me. Unfortunately I can never resist drinking games.

    Looking forward to future instalments of this series.

  2. Jeff says:

    Yeah… I remember playing with you guys after switching schools… I didn’t realize your word order was different and got ultra mega super pissed.

  3. roaf says:

    Yeah, it’s a deadly game! I guess Ping Pong Pang” is the real name, because that’s what the Japanese band are called. Although, there’s actually a Chinese restaurant in Las Vegas called “Ping Pang Pong.”
    Hopefully I’ll have more games to post in the coming weeks.

  4. simaldeff says:

    I’ve one with dices that I really like (i’m a big gambler when it comes to something else than money)… the thing is that it makes you drink unbelievably disgusting things and in huge quantity. It’s a game we play when a bar got really old bottles of things that nobody want to drink and they are really old so they don’t look good on the counter’s background… so you somehow have to get rid of them.
    But you can play that game with beer, sake, shochu or anything you like too … just bring like 5 bottles (1 Litter) for each player or something like that.
    But dices mean being able to do basic additions even when you are utterly mashed … you might need to ask the bartender to be the ref.

  5. Dragonlife says:

    Why do I have the impression such rules do help you to break them and drink whenever you want (or feel allowed to!)?
    LO
    Robert-Gilles

  6. roaf says:

    Yeah, I think so, Robert-Gilles! Often during drinking games, I find myself waiting to drink, and then deliberately losing games so I can drink.
    But that dice game does sound cool, Simaldeff. As a teenager in rural England, I used to go to a pub where the staff would give me the contents of the drip trays for free (a drip tray is the container which catches spillage under beer taps, when the staff are pouring a beer. Usually it contains a lethal mix of lager, Guiness and cider) and they’d also give me glasses of beer that they poured while cleaning out the pipes of their beer taps. Me and my friends would play the “100 game” with this booze- you drink one shot every minute for 100 minutes. We’d get get very, very drunk!

  7. simaldeff says:

    most of my game involve drinking something heavily ethilic … and really disgusting … like “amaro” + “absynnth” + “green-stuff-from-australia” + “green-stuff-from-the-mountains” … Italy have a tradition for old traditional medicine-flavoured liquors..
    It’s really not fun to loose when you play this seriously … generally it’s the winner of the round that prepare the mix as he wish … and the guy on it’s right – or left – drinks it.
    That’s way you make it from a bar’s waste.

  8. roaf says:

    Wow- that’s hardcore. I like it!

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  11. […] The Japanese are notorious for their kitschy culture and drinking games are no exception. Most are ridiculously complicated and involve tormenting the drunkest/dumbest person for screwing up. Test your aptitude by challenging your Japanese drinking buddies to a game of Ping Pong Pang. […]

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