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Minimum age to serve (not drink) alcohol in Tokyo

Tualha

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Hello,

Another question for the novel. I know the legal drinking age is 20. However, is there a minimum age to serve alcohol, or more generally, to work in a bar? The bar is in Tokyo.

The novel is set in 2006, so if anyone knows about different law back then, that would be very helpful.

Doumo arigatou gozaimashita.
 

Mike Cash

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No special laws prevent minors from serving alcohol, from what I can find out. The only thing is that people under 18 can't work between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am (regardless of whether it is a place that serves alcohol or not).
 

Tualha

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That's helpful. The character is 19, so this will work. The employer can mention the over-18 rule, since the place is open later than 10.

Thanks very much :)
 

Mike Cash

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In real life, the 19 year old would already know that and it would be superfluous.... especially as it doesn't apply anyway. But if it is necessary information for the reader then that's as good a way to slip it in as any.
 

Tualha

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Ah, well ... I will assume she would not know it, because she's from Hong Kong, arrived less than a year ago, hasn't looked for a job in Japan before. Unusual situation. The employer knows a little of this when the subject of age comes up, so it's not too implausible that she would mention this law in passing, just to say essentially, "good, I can hire you".

Thanks again.
 

Mike Cash

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Ah, well ... I will assume she would not know it, because she's from Hong Kong, arrived less than a year ago, hasn't looked for a job in Japan before. Unusual situation. The employer knows a little of this when the subject of age comes up, so it's not too implausible that she would mention this law in passing, just to say essentially, "good, I can hire you".

Thanks again.

This opens a new kettle of fish. Is she supposed to be here working legally? What kind of visa is she on?
 

Tualha

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Mmm, well, without going into too many spoilers: she is not in Japan legally; she is using a fake ID; and it has not occurred to her that her cover will be blown as soon as the employer sends in her info for tax reporting purposes.

The last point didn't occur to me at first, either. When it did, I fixed things up afterward. She will find out much later that her employer is sympathetic to good workers without documentation, guessed her situation, confirmed the guess with some discreet inquiries, and didn't send in the info in the first place.

Or such is the current plan. A bit implausible perhaps, but I think it will work well enough. It's hardly the most implausible thing in the story :)
 

Glenski

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It's important to answer Mike's question:

What kind of visa is she on?
 

Mike Cash

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People illegally employing foreigners here illegally out of the goodness of their hearts instead of the ease of exploiting them and avoiding their own tax liabilities is a new twist.

For the purposes of your writing, you need to know that the employer risks fines and imprisonment.

What kind of "fake ID" is she supposed to be using?
 

Tualha

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For the purposes of your writing, you need to know that the employer risks fines and imprisonment.

Yeah, I kind of figured that.

I'm not too worried about it being strictly accurate, as long as it doesn't have huge gaping logical holes that most readers would see through. I've read plenty of published novels that had worse plot holes than this (I'm looking at you, Spider Robinson). For that matter, the anime it's based on has plot holes too, though I didn't notice them until I tried to interweave a story with it.

It's my first novel, it's fanfic, it'll be published online for free, and I'm basically doing it for fun and practice. If I made this part strictly accurate, I'd have to throw out a third of my plot.

Thanks again for the age info.
 

Mike Cash

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Happy to help.

Come share a link with us when you get the project finished. We've had several authors come through here over the years asking questions and we've never yet had one come back and share the completed work with us. I'd like to have it happen while I'm still young enough the shock of the novelty of it won't kill me.
 

Tualha

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Haha, well, I will endeavor to complete it before you get too old, then. It's taken about four years so far, though.
 

tomoni

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Since this is for your novel and not for advice for someone trying to work illegally.

If she is working as a mizushobai (water industry) bars, etc. They generally pay cash, and do not care so much about the visa situation. She would need to be more concerned about immigration sweeps or random checks or being reported by anther character in the novel (that might be a good way to drastically change her situation - Deus ex Machina - if you will to make a new dramatic twist.

hope that helps
 
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