Organize a Zoom drinking party

It was only recently that I heard that my classmate “Kita” had passed away last year. Although he was not a member of Awalemi-tai, we used to meet and drink together from time to time. He also appeared on “Awalemi-tai OnTheWeb” once.

あわせて読みたい
韓国風広島お好み焼き 広島市中区富士見町にあるドイツ料理を中心とした「居酒家」、「ばんざい」。「昼から本場ドイツビールをぐいぐい飲めこの野郎」と、公序良俗に反した大変けしからん挑...

I did not know what was going on since we have been completely estranged lately, but I am sorry to learn of this fact, even though it is about a year late.

So a group of classmates who knew Kita in the past decided to hold a meeting to remember him. In Akabane, where we used to drink together.

But with the outbreak of the new coronavirus, it was no longer the time to party in Akabane. I did it to protect myself, but if I had a drinking party in those days and got sick, there would be no room for sympathy.

I talked with my friends about canceling the party, but then I remembered that we have Zoom nowadays, so I thought about having a drinking party with Zoom.

I have been using Zoom in my personal and public life lately. I even set up a tablet in my house as an experiment, which I call a “window,” and I keep it connected to Zoom all the time. This is because we use it as a “watchful camera” when we are away from home.

While we are both away from home, we can see what is going on at home, and of course we can talk to each other. What is definitely different from videoconferencing is that videoconferencing can only be used when both parties agree to “call the other party” and “the other party responds”, but with Zoom meetings, depending on the settings, you can “view the other party’s video at any time” (a mistake can be bad for security reasons (if you make a mistake, it could be a security risk, so you need to take precautions such as password protection).

I call it a “window” because it is always connected, eliminating the “call and answer” process. I would like to use it fully in the future when one of us is expected to be away from home for a period of time. Yes, as if the “window” were there.

If the other side is also connected, they can say “Hey” and the other side can say “What?” and the other side can say “What? And when they are not talking, they can ignore the screen and read a book or watch TV.

With a videophone, you can ask, “What did you do today?” You have to force yourself to think of something to talk about. After all, it is a one-on-one conversation. It is best to keep looking at the camera without looking away. However, if the phone is left connected as a “window,” you don’t have to be so formal and can respond in a very casual manner. In fact, it is easier this way.

If you’re not at home and the “window” keeps showing an unoccupied house, that’s okay. It eloquently says, “Oh, you are away,” and that is meaningful enough.

There are a variety of video communication tools of this type, including Skype and LINE video chat. However, they all require a “phone-like, call-and-answer” process, and few of them can be used to “peek into each other’s home camera without permission,” to put it badly. Since we are not always connected, we have to reconnect several times a day. It is a hassle to call the other person each time. In such cases, I like this system that allows me to type in a specific Zoom meeting ID and have my home appear on the screen. However, as I always say, security measures are very important.

Another feature of Zoom is that the amount of communication is much smaller than that of Skype, although not quite 1/10. It is said to be around 300 MB per hour, which seems manageable even at crowded Wi-Fi points, and 4G communication within the range of my subscription seems to be good as long as it is not for a long period of time. I appreciate Zoom’s low traffic volume, as there are many video communication services that eat up gigs.

I’m off topic.

So we decided to have a memorial party for Mr. Kita at each of our houses. At first, we planned to have the party only with the members of the same class in Tokyo, but then I remembered that since we were on Zoom, people who lived anywhere could join in. I called the AWAREMI-TAI members who were scattered all over Japan.

It was relatively easy to come up with the idea, “Since we couldn’t get together in Akabane, let’s have a drinking party on Zoom instead,” but there was a time lag before I thought, “Well, we can invite people who aren’t in Tokyo as well. I had not yet realized that I could have a drinking party with people far away at the same time, and I did not have that kind of common sense in my mind.

I had not realized that it was possible to have a drinking party with people who were far away from me.

When I realized this, I felt that the times had moved a step forward. Outside my home, the world is in a state of global crisis, with the Corona disaster swirling around us, but I believe that it is in times like these that innovation can be born. No, innovation already exists, but it is only when there is an external pressure that it takes root in people’s consciousness and becomes a culture.

飲み会会場設営

This is the first time I have had a drinking party with Zoom. I had no idea how well I would be able to accept this party and get used to the environment. I had no idea how well they would accept this drinking party and get used to the environment.

The problem is, since we’re all old men, we don’t have much time to talk.

They are not like women whose stories spread quickly and easily. There is a possibility that the conversation will become quiet and the place will become dull. We want to avoid that.

Of course, this is a drinking party, and people come and go during the party. We want people to feel free to join us. However, it would be too bad if we had to stop the party because it was so boring and unexciting, so we would like to have something to tie up the loose ends.

So Okaden, as the organizer of the event, tried to prepare this and that.

First of all, I thought it would be better to show something dynamic in front of the audience, so I decided to make fried food. I set up an electric fryer on the tabletop where I planned to fry a lot of karaage.

Then I prepared the seeds for the dumplings, wrapped them in dumpling skins, and baked them on a hot plate in front of the camera. The sizzling sound will be picked up by the microphone, and steam will be generated. And if I showed the scene of them eating them, they would not be visually bored.

I was worried about that.

I placed a tablet on a shelf and used it as a camera micro-speaker and a terminal for viewing images. This was later replaced by a computer. For some reason, it could only show up to five people at a time, and with the six people attending that day, only one person’s image was on the next screen.

I also tried a two-camera configuration with a smartphone at hand and logged into Zoom from there, but that failed. For some reason, I couldn’t mute the sound, and the sound was inevitably low. This was because there was a delay of 0 tenths of a second with the sound of the tablet, which was very unpleasant. It was hard to hear and hard to speak. In the end, we decided to go with just one PC.

Zoom飲み会

However, the sound is fragile with PC speakers. So I sent it via Bluetooth to the TV speaker and played the voice there. That made it sound much better.

Everyone had a little trouble with the connection at first, but they soon got used to it. I think when you get about 15 years older, you see people saying things like, “I don’t understand it, so I can’t do it.

But their ears and brains are not used to this kind of “simultaneous many conversations. And they are not used to distinguishing the sounds coming from the speakers as language. I have to listen carefully to the voices, translate them in my head, and understand them in my own way. This is something they will become more and more accustomed to as they attend more and more of these types of drinking parties. Again, as the second half of the meeting progressed, everyone’s conversation became smoother and smoother.

I have had many experiences with videoconferencing in my work. In those cases, however, the interaction was relatively straightforward: the person explaining the material spoke for a while, followed by a question-and-answer session. In the case of an “online drinking session,” on the other hand, someone starts talking at the same time, and you never know who will take over next. I thought it would take some practice to be able to understand the language instantly and without stress in such a chaotic situation.

Even the speakers have manners, like swallowing their words and shutting up when they feel “Oh, someone else has started talking. I was thrilled to see everyone learning this as time went on, as it gave me the feeling that a new era had begun.

By the way, I can hardly remember the taste of the fried bean curd and the dumplings, although they were interesting presentations. I was too busy watching the screen and listening to the conversation to taste the food. As the moderator of this meeting, I could not remain idle.

Nevertheless, the meeting was more lively than I had expected, and it went on for three and a half hours, defying my initial assumption that if it wasn’t good, I could end it in half an hour or so. That’s three and a half hours for an old man, in his own home, against his PC or phone screen. You can see how much fun this meeting was just by looking at the time.

There are houses where daughters and sons burst in on the screen, there are guys who relay outdoor scenes from their balconies, and there are people who introduce “the drink I’m drinking right now”. And then, in the middle of the show, the protein of the AWAREMI-TAI brought out a “memorable photo from junior high school,” and we got quite excited using that photo as a theme. The charm of Zoom is that we can show each other material we have at home. Even if you don’t want to bring something to a drinking party, you can do it at home.

From the AWAREMI-TAI, Genius from Tokyo, Shibuchoo from Aichi, and Protein from Osaka participated. It was a rare opportunity for all of us to get together, so it was great that we were able to get together and exchange some good ideas, even if it was online.

We left the meeting room saying, “Let’s do it again. It was not just a social commentary, but we really should do it again. After all, we don’t have to make reservations at the restaurant.

My prediction is that the “home drinking” business will grow in the future, with Corona as a catalyst. I think it is a good idea for restaurants to focus on take-out menus for family banquets, and since long-distance banquets using services such as Zoom are sure to increase in the future, the need for not only food and beverage products, but also “attractive food and presentation” should increase. I know that the restaurant industry is going through a difficult time, but I hope that they will improve take-out and turn a pinch into an opportunity for the future. On this note, I closed the Zoom meeting.

(2020.04.04)

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