International Party: From Tokyo to Chicago
The International Party events are the most popular events we host. Almost without fail, we average 100-140 people for every International Party
we throw, and it's growing. At first glance, you might not understand why this event is so popular, but if you think about it, I think it makes sense. Chicago has one of the largest international communities in the world. At our international parties we get a sampling of the UN. Brazilians, Mexicans, Germans, Aussies, English, Italians, Koreans, Japanese, and dozens more nationalities abound! Chicago is a very diverse city, who doesn't want to meet people from around the world?
And almost every single international party at least one member would ask me "How did you start the International Party?".
I smile and tell them about one of my favorite travels abroad.
In fall 2015 I traveled to Japan and China. Japan for fun and China to see my extended family. At first I thought it was a mistake to travel to those two countries. You see, just two weeks before, I visited Turkey, Montenegro and Serbia for two weeks. And now, a short time later I would be in another whirlwind trip - this time to Asia. Just the thought was exhausting!
Tired but being my first time in Tokyo and Japan, I found my motivation to go out on a Friday night. Not knowing anyone I decided to check what parties were out there. Walking around, talking to different people, I kept hearing about about a group of people having an international party that night. Despite butterflies about meeting new people in a foreign city of 20 million, with possibly very few people speaking English (Besides Kon Nichiwa, I do not know any Japanese), I psyched myself to going out. Showered, buttoned down shirt, blue blazer, skinny jeans. Ready to go.
My taxi dropped me off at Shibuya, a hip, trendy district in Tokyo. Though I was early, there was already a short line. A couple Asian girls behind me spoke English. In front were two Caucasians, also speaking English. Good sign. I could communicate and have fun.
Cover was $10 for men and free for women. I assumed that all went to the group organizer, but it was all you can drink. How in the world the bar made money, I have no idea! But I wasn't complaining, trust me. Despite the long lines for getting drinks, I still chucked down 5-6 glasses of wine.
Feeling a good buzz and hearing plenty of locals and expats speaking English, my confidence and mojo came back. So much so that a fellow Asian American came up to me and said "You're American aren't you?". Without even haven't met or spoken before! I guess we Americans do have a certain swagger...
I befriended my fellow American and soon a crew was formed. Mostly expats but a few locals joined us. Three hours in, fully buzzed, the crew decided to head to Womb, one of Tokyo's premier night clubs.
Dark, foggy, three floors of boom boom music, I had the night of my life. Six hours earlier, I was a nervous foreigner. Now, I felt like a conquering Commodore Perry - nightlife style.
But the night had to end eventually. The sun was rising. Wobbly but still standing, a taxi whooshed me back to my hotel.
Shoes off, I collapsed in my bed, laughing at how much fun I had in a mega Japanese city full of foreigners. We were all foreigners, yet we were people looking to meet others. We had a common goal. What a successful night I thought.
And then I had an idea.
Why can't I throw my own international parties - in Chicago?
"Of course I can!" I said to myself. Chicago was a big city also full of international people. The formula for the new international parties would be the same as my other events. Great venues, good drink food deals and of course, smile and have fun with people to show them the same hospitality and good times I had abroad.
That night, I opened my laptop, created the international group and posted my first international event 4 weeks later. The rest is history.