Our first night in Japan. We made it off the plane and to the airbnb around 6pm. We are jet lagged as hell. Dylan says that if stay up until 12 we can get ahead of the jet lag. This seems logical on paper but at the back end of a sleepless 48 hours it feels dangerous and unhealthy. Right now it feels like I’m too tired to decide.
We walk around Shinjuku and I insist we b-line it straight to the Toho Cinema where there is a giant Godzilla statue I wanted to see. It was sick. Dylan and Adrien started to get impatient with me while I stared at this Godzilla statue and insisted that every 30 minutes it lights up and shoots smoke out of its mouth. It did not.
Shinjuku is known for Maid cafes and the red-light district. Every block has these random girls in maid costumes trying to get you to come have drinks in their bar. These are basically set up as hostess bars where they get a cut of every drink they convince a guy to buy. The idea is that they offer companionship to lonely Japanese businessmen. It’s depressing and weird. Will probably check one out for fun at some point.
Hungry and exhausted we approached restaurants in Shinjuku, and were repeatedly denied citing lack of space (but I’m presuming institutional racism, confirmed by our Japanese friends later). We started to worry we would starve. I made us commit to learning enough Japanese to get seated at a restaurant by tomorrow at lunch. We ate at this shitty izakaya after like 7 attempts. The food was horrendous which is probably why they sat the 3 white guys who don’t even know how to ask for a table in Japanese (update: “san mei desu”).
The only thing left to do was to explore and drink until we could get to sleep.
Going out in Shinjuku/Shibuya
ShinjukuWe started around the restaurant, looking for bars and no one seemed particularly social or exciting- in Japan lots of bars are seated table bars. This is unlike American bars with mostly standing room, and would not be a great place to meet people. Since the name of the game on night one was intel gathering, we decided to change up the strategy.
Hub British Pub Brain running on fumes. I decided I needed to ask English speaking people for advice. I figured this place would be more tolerant to our lack of Japanese considering the clientele is the drunk hostel crowd. We were right and it was a pretty pleasant experience and a great place to practice ordering drinks in Japanese with no pressure.
ShibuyaLaurel Bar This was another ex-pat bar (more of a club) one of the employees from HUB sent us to. Was not bad but had an icky vibe.
Shibuya Crossing Adrien was excited that on our route we had to walk through the Shibuya crossing. This place lives up to its reputation. It’s absolutely nuts. We did a brief photo shoot in the middle of the crossing and I was frustrated that I had to explain how to use my camera again.
My phone died at this point so I was unable to take quick pictures, unfortunately.
Church Bar my friend had DMed me to check this place out. It was well executed and fun. The bouncer is dressed like a nun and they played cool music on vinyl. The drinks were 1100 Yen (~10 dollars) and I overheard some Irish people complaining that was expensive. We were able to meet a crew of Japanese kids who spoke English, hosting some of their foreign friends here. They seemed cool and like they knew what they were doing so we joined them and followed them to the next bar.
7-11 my friend Patrick told me that before and after drinking I should go to 7-11 and get the drink that has the image of a liver on it. It’s some kind of vitamin supplement that’s supposed to help with hangovers. I think it may have helped?
It’s impossible or prohibitively expensive to get home late in Tokyo so you literally see people sleeping passed out on the floor everywhere. This place is overwhelming and insane. I suspect I’ll wake up feeling differently.
4am We finally got a cab. $90. Dylan and Adrien immediately fell asleep on me.
The Airbnb was pretty nice! Good job Dylan.
Wandering around the streets of Shinjuku.
Literally the shittiest izakaya I’ve ever eaten at.
We did a (quick!) photoshoot in Shibuya crossing.
This is a sick bar in Shibuya themed like a church. The bouncer is dressed like a nun. They were playing wonderwall when we walked in.
more friends and misc. pics
End of the night
These knuckleheads passed out on me in the cab home. I’m built different though!