Perhaps the best known drinking game among the Japanese, this is named after the circular Yamanote train line in Tokyo. Players go around in a circle (like the titular train line) and name any stations they can think of that are on the Yamanote sen. While playing, everyone claps in rhythm, and each player has to say a station name on the correct beat. If they hesitate, repeat a station already named, say a station on the wrong train line, or can’ t think of anything to say, they have to drink.
Even though it’s called the Yamanote Line game, you can play the game with any category, not just station names. It could be an easy topic, for example pop singers or capital cities, or it could be ridiculously difficult, like Olympic shot-putters, or Yugoslavian film stars.
A variant of the Yamanote Sen game is the “No Laughing Game” (Waraccha Ikenai Geemu). The rules are basically the same, but the aim is to make the other players laugh. If someone giggles, they have to drink. This game is usually quite awkward and embarrassing, and I end up laughing out of politeness.
When I first heard the name of the Yamanote Sen game, I somehow assumed it involved stopping for a drink at each of the 29 stations on the Yamanote line, all in the same day. Madness, you say? Well I’m actually considering attempting it. Watch this space!