This article originally appeared on VICE Australia. And, for context, "schoolies" are the party holidays high school kids have when they finish school.
It’s schoolies in Australia, which in my memory equals beer bongs. Bright eyed Year 12s step out of their examination halls full of hope, and onto a flight to either the Gold Coast—or Bali if they’re really cultured—and end up in a week-long ~party~. The air on the Gold Coast fills up with Lynx Africa, bad decisions, and chanting from beer bong bros in all directions. And it’s magical.
I’ve been living in Japan for about five months now, and its been great. But I can’t deny that I miss Australia, and the fun and dumb Australian institutions I left behind. So, to cure my mild homesickness, I decided I would get involved in Schoolies, and build the world’s longest beer bong.
And that’s how I came to be standing in the plastic tubing section of Japan's answer to Bunnings.
That should be enough.
Every beer bong needs a funnel. Problem was I couldn’t find a funnel, so I decided to ask this bloke. “I’m going to make a big beer bong,” I said while showing him some YouTube videos of beer bongs. This guy didn’t know what a beer bong was. He did point me in the right direction for funnels though.
Boom. I had the stuff. No obstacle could stop me now.
There was a very nice playground near Japanese Bunnings. Back in Australia I’d feel weird drinking at a playground in the middle of the day. But Japan has a very relaxed drinking culture. The park was full of dudes ripping into cold Asahis. People here drink on the street, on trains, and literally everywhere.
I had my Canadian friend Ian join me for this adventure. Beer bongs are big over there too apparently. Though it seemed here in Japan nobody had ever seen one before. One guy wandered over to us and asked if he could join in. Sure man. The more the merrier.
This guy had never heard of a beer bong but seemed to really like it. and I mean really like it. Pretty soon more people were coming over. Some took photos, some laughed, and some just looked puzzled. It felt good to be spreading some Australian culture.
After spending about an hour at the park, the guy who had first joined us, Shiyou, said he had the perfect spot for an even larger beer bong. He didn’t have much on for the rest of the day, and was going to spend it drinking beers at a park anyway, so why not do it out of a 20-meter pipe?
Immediately people began flocking to us.
They took pictures and watched on in a state of pleasant confusion. I asked everybody who came over if they had ever seen a beer bong before. Nobody had. But almost everybody was keen to try it.
I was glad to see so many people enjoying themselves.
Ahh the simple pleasure of chugging beer out of a plastic tube. It transcends cultures.
I was the unofficial cultural ambassador of Australia. The beer bong was loved by all.
But no one loved it as much as our man Shiyou.
I kept running out of beer and had to make a few Sapporo runs. I couldn’t believe the beer bong was such a hit. Or maybe people just like free beer. Either way, it was time to step it up.
I began to unfurl the 50-meter monster hose. Shiyou volunteered to be the guy on the bottom again.
Our man was fast becoming something of a celebrity.
We couldn’t fit the whole thing in one photo.
And then he drank it.
After such an amazing experience he wanted to bum a cigarette. Our man had never smoked a cigarette in his life, but a day spent sucking beer out of a hose had lowered his inhibitions.
After coughing for a few minutes he thanked us for the beer and "the very fun day,” gave me his number in case we ever do another giant beer bong, and disappeared into the evening.
Anyway, have a great schoolies and don’t do drugs.