Idols, comedians and a refreshing can of beer – is there anything better?

With the spread of the coronavirus keeping everyone inside, people are using online video conferencing platforms to help them work from home. Many people are also using video conferencing to help them reclaim other aspects of life pre-corona, like drinking parties. Sharing a drink with your friends via a computer screen not only keeps everyone from getting lonely, but it keeps everyone safe. Some companies are even encouraging people to stay indoors by having beautiful models host online drinking parties.

Of course, we at SoraNews24 are fond of an odd bevvy or two and sometimes host our own online drinking parties, but recently something interesting caught our attention – the ‘Asahi Online Virtual Bar’. Hosted by drinks company Asahi, the event took place on April 25 using the video platform Zoom. Most of our online drinking parties have been with four, maybe five of our friends, but this one had 1,000 people participating. 1,000 people! Even our real-life drinking parties never had that many people! It kind of felt like a school assembly or something…

The lucky participants were chosen through a lottery system, and joining the fun were Manatsu Akimoto from idol group Nogizaka46, comedy duo Sanshiro and Riho Takada, the face of Asahi Beer.

We sent Japanese-language reporter Ahiruneko to join in the fun! Cheers!

Ready with his cold, refreshing can of Asahi Super Dry, Ahiruneko waited in front of his computer screen with excitement and anticipation. Of course, he’s joined online drinking parties in the past but this was uncharted territory; not only is it a huge amount of people, they are also all strangers. What would the atmosphere be like?

Ahiruneko’s nerves didn’t last for long though, as the first celebrity joined the drinking fun: Mr. Komiya from comedy duo Sanshiro!

Wow! Even though they’d never met, Ahiruneko felt almost like Mr. Komiya was his friend, such was the relaxed, friendly atmosphere of the drinking party. This kind of friendliness would probably never happen in a real-life drinking party!

Soon, the next celebrity joined the party – Nogizaka46’s Manatsu Akimoto!

The low-quality of Manatsu’s video was oddly refreshing, and strangely made everything feel more natural. Wow, this was shaping up to be a great drinking party!!

By the way, if you were wondering about how 1,000 people talking at the same time would work, don’t worry; apart from the four celebrity hosts, everyone else’s mics were muted.

As more and more people joined, ready to get the drinking party underway, all that was left was the toast. Ahiruneko was getting really excited. And look! Ahiruneko managed to get his screen directly underneath Manatsu Akimoto’s! 

Although some people had already cheekily started drinking before the toast, it was time to make it official. With everyone’s mics turned off mute for this special moment, all participants raised their Asahi cans and… cheers!

Everyone toasting at the same time was nothing short of magical. Even though they were strangers, even though they were far apart… everyone toasting together brought such a sense of togetherness. That’s the charm of an online party like this; it connects people!

▼ Cheers!

But as expected, with 1,000 people yelling ‘cheers!’ at the same time… it was really noisy. Everyone began talking and the whole scene quickly descended into chaos. So everyone got muted again.

Next, Risa Takada took the floor and showed everyone how to skillfully pour a can of beer into a glass...

There was also a quiz, where participants’ wallpapers changed based on the answer they gave!

It isn’t a drinking party without a few nibbles, so Ahiruneko ordered some take-out food to enjoy with his Asahi Beer.

Participants also got to recreate the Asahi Super Dry commercial that’s currently running on Japanese TV, using AR technology. For those interested in making their own Asahi Super Dry commercial, the website is still open for anyone to use – make your own here!

It felt like no time had passed at all, but the 1,000-person drinking party was almost over. Closing out the party was Manatsu, who gracefully thanked everyone for coming and, with her cool pose, the party was officially finished.

While the online drinking party had originally been conceived to encourage people to stay indoors, Ahiruneko really felt like this was not only an alternative to ‘normal’ drinking parties, but it might actually become a new way to enjoy drinking parties. Perhaps when life has returned to normal, people will continue online drinking parties like this, as it’s a good way to interact with idols and entertainers, and the atmosphere is much more friendly and relaxed than normal online interactions.

The next Asahi Online Virtual Bar will be held on May 4, so if you’re interested in sharing a drink with 1,000 people, head on over to the official website to apply for a chance. Don’t forget to have a couple of cans of Asahi Super Dry ready, so you can yell out kanpai (cheers!) with your new drinking buddies!

Related: いいかも! オンライン飲み ASAHI SUPER DRY VIRTUAL BAR
Images: ©SoraNews24
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