On 6 December I joined my husband and his co-workers for a Bonenkai. A Bonenkai is typically held in December and is a party that means to forget about the troubles of the current year, and is a way to celebrate the year to come.
The Bonenkai we went to was at a small Izakaya close to base. For 4,000 (yen), we ate a variety of delicious food (steamed mussels, salads, yakitori, rice, etc) and had bottomless drinks for 2 hours. This was a time for employees and their bosses to mingle in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
I was the only spouse at this gathering because in Japan, its not typical to have a wife accompany a spouse to an evening work gathering. This is not meant to be disrespectful, its just part of their culture. I'm just grateful that my husband's co-workers are always so welcoming when I crash their parties. It was a night full of fun and many of us continued the celebration by dancing and playing pool at a local establishment.