What is 忘年会 “bonenkai”?
A bonenkai literally is a party to forget the passing year. Sometimes translated as “a year-end party” in English, they are usually held among co-workers and close friends in December. They always involve eating, drinking and sometimes singing and dancing, all done to wind up the year with happy feelings. If you want to have a bonenkai with your Japanese co-workers or boss, you may ask, “Bonenkai wa itsudesuka?” It means, “When are we going to have a bonenkai?” But don’t ask them in early November – it’s too early and they might think that you are always only thinking about a party!