Daiko: Chariot of the Gods…almost.

“Of all vices, drinking is the most incompatible with greatness.” ~Walter Scott

Daiko can help you avoid trouble with the law, but it won’t help urinary incontinence.

We left the Butler O’Club looking quite dapper in our formal attire, our spirits buoyed by both the company of the night and the copious drink we enjoyed. Remember, the drinking “rules” the military places on us here in Okinawa, the ones I find so hard to swallow? Well, most of ’em don’t apply on base, where apparently it’s still acceptable to be a drunkard. Mixing drink with driving can make for a dangerous cocktail, no matter where you are. But a typical taxi can’t get your car home…. The obvious solution? Have someone else drive your car home while you enjoy the convenience and comfort of a Japanese taxi.

Pre-Rickshaw Taxi Days

Pre-Rickshaw Taxi Days

Leave it to the Japanese to work out the perfect solution. Just outside the main entrance of the Club is not just a taxi queue, but a service unique to Japan, one tailored to avoid DUI/DWI: Daiko. Daiko is a Japanese word that translates to “surrogate,” and implies a meaning of “to do something for someone.”

Daiko service is a substitute driving service. When you drink, you must not drive. So we drive your car and we take you and your car to home, safety,” reads one Okinawan website. Having just vented my frustrations with the military’s fetish with drinking and driving on Okinawa in Sober and Sobering, I realized that Japan actually is just about the easiest place to imbibe…and never have to worry about driving!


For people who are unfamiliar with Daiko service, which to my knowledge probably includes the whole of the United States, literally two life savers are dispatched to wherever you happen to be and take you along with your car (separately) to your next destination. Whether you want to go home or to another bar, doesn’t matter; Daiko will gladly take you where you want to be, and they’ll do it on the cheap. Because the service is to popular and affordable, there can be a wait on the weekends.

A Daiko Day-in-the-Life

A request for the service results in two licensed drivers showing up, one to transport you the patron via taxi, and the other to drive your car. As you’re being whisked away via private chauffer, your car follows closely behind. No matter how plastered you may be, in the morning’s hangover haze you’ll find your car securely at home.

An actual game.  Lucky for you the Japanese drive...gentle.

An actual game. Lucky for you the Japanese drive…gentle.

But of course you never get some’in for nothin’. “But what’s the cost,” I hear you pleading. The fee is generally 1.4-1.6 times the price of a single taxi ride, cheaper than roundtrip via cab. So in our case, the normally 2,000 yen taxi ride home (~$17.25 at the current exchange rate) came to 2,800 yen total. At just over $24, it’s a small price to pay! I’m not sure how the Japanese work a profit margin into this cost; it’s got to be one of the best deals around.

These Girls got a thang for Mr. Taxi. With Daiko, so do I….

So, there’s really no excuse to avoid a good holiday shin-dig if you want to drink, with the brilliant and convenient Daiko service. All you need is the phone number to Daiko: 645-8888 (on-base) or 098-970-8888 if you find yourself off-base. Do yourself a favor: put the number in your cell phone. Right now. The service may, one day, literally save your life.

But make sure you watch out if this guy shows up....

But make sure you watch out if this guy shows up….