Japanese ways of beating a Futsukayoi (hangover)
The year 2014 has two weeks left and December in Japan is especially busy not only for Shiwasu but also the sequence of Bounenkai. 忘年会, it´s literary means a party (会) to forget (忘) about the year (年). In order to forget about all the bad things during the year, people drink alcohol a lot. What comes next day is Futsukayoi (二日酔い), a hangover.
Since I have a typical Asian liver, which doesn´t process alcohol, any nomikai (飲み会) for me was simply horrible. It´s very common in Japan that newcomers in the university or the company, the seniors take you to an Izakaya and force you to drink. For me after 1/3 of a glass of beer is enough to turn all my body red and drinking 10 glasses in one minute is simply suicidal. So luckily I´ve never had a hangover in my life yet.
Every country must have its special ways to cure hangover and today I like to show Japanese ways of beating a Futsukayoi including some myths.
It is believed that milk makes a layer inside the stomach and prevents you from getting drunk but this has no medical proof. However, the protein the milk contains increases the function of the liver to process the alcohol, therefore, to have a glass of milk before nomikai helps.
Somehow people often say, "Raamen for finishing off". They seem to believe that they can recover the salt they lost after drinking but it´s not true. It´s more effective to drink some sports drink or Shijimi-jiru (シジミ汁/ freshwater clams) just to recover from the dehydration.
However, curry rice works and it´s medically proved. Curry contains turmeric, which contains curcumin increases the liver function.
Who loves Oshiruko (お汁粉)? This traditional Japanese sweet also helps you to get rid of futsukayoi. Potassium and sapoin have a diuretic effect. Saponin also increases the function of the liver. Moreover, the sweetness is what your liver needs after getting damaged by a lot of alcohol.
5. Hot bath or shower
Some people say it´s effective to have a hot bath or a shower to sweat out the alcohol but actually this is a really bad idea. Don´t do it. You are already dehydrated and you shouldn´t lose any more body water, especially you have a heart problem. You can take a shower with tepid water.
In western films, I often see a glass of weird cocktail with one or two raw eggs is served as a hangover cure. It really works. The yolk helps to process the alcohol and the white increases the function of the liver. However somehow in Japan, raw eggs are believed to increase the men´s sexual ability.
This myth comes from the film, Rocky. After seeing Rocky drinking raw eggs and won the match, many Japanese seemed to get a message a little twisted way. In any way, raw eggs perfectly work for your futsukayoi too.
7. Raw potato juice
I don´t think it´s tasty. When the body processes alcohol, it produces active enzyme and the vitamin C of the potatoes helps to get rid of it. Potatoes are also rich in potassium, which has a diuretic effect. Perhaps you can try a glass of raw potato juice.
The classic futsukayoi cure in Japan. Shijimi, freshwater clams are rich in taurine, which helps the liver to produce bile acid. This taurine as well as other ingredient also helps bile to run smoothly.
Shijimi also contains a lot of vitamin B and iron. Vitamin B12 especially has high blood-forming functions. This means freshwater clams are great for the people who are anaemic. Shijimi jiru still sounds like the best futsukayoi cure to me.
9. Mukae zake (迎え酒)
Not so many, rather a small amount of people and most of them are almost alcoholic will use this method, mukae zake, known as hair of the dogs in English. I don´t think it works but it´s up to you to have some beer for breakfast.
The last one is shiatsu (指圧). There are several different points where you can stimulate. One is gyosai (the picture on the right). Light an incense and close it 1-1.5cm to the point. When you feel the heat, take it away. Then repeat this 7 times.
Other point is sokkoku. This works well when you feel sick. To find the point, fold the ear and lay two fingers at the top of the ear. That is the point, sokkoku. Place your thumbs on both side and pressurise there for five seconds then release. Repeat this for two to three minutes.
For me, Shijimi jiru is the winner and perhaps shiatsu. What is your favourite futsukayoi cure? Or what is the best way to recover from a hangover in your country?
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