A byte of life from the Land of Sumos and Sushi

Friday, July 01, 2005

The forth and final part of the T*O*K*Y*O series takes us deep in the heart of the urban night life. Coming from the inaka (countryside) of Fukui, this was perhaps the thing us country bumpkins were looking forward to most and we weren't to be disappointed.

We welcomed the range of foreign foods on offer, devouring pizza, curry and Thai greedily. We wandered the narrow neon lit streets of Shinjuku, turning down offers of girls from burly bouncers, and sampling some of the numerous small bars to be found in this district.

Despite ranking as one of the worlds most expensive cities, with the help of some Japanese connections we found an a 2 hour nomihodi (all you can drink) for a mere £10, a bargain I think you'll agree.

Another night, I was once again taken aback by the Japanese kindness and generosity. Whilst searching in vain for a decent bar, we came across a couple of young Japanese guys who were heading home after a night out themselves. We enlisted their help, and they not only took us to a nearby night spot, but they then paid for all of our drinks after telling us how hard up they were. Talk about laying down a guilt trip - but they wouldn't accept any money from us. This is just one of the many times that the Japanese have proved themselves to be one of the most friendly, welcoming people I have had the pleasure of meeting.

The highlight of the trip had to be the club we visited. I think it was the smallest nite spot I have ever seen, tucked away in a basement on a little known back street. The owner of the club was a friend of another Japanese connection of ours, and kindly let ten gaijin in free of charge.

Immediately the dance floor went from dead to densely populated, as the white boys and girls threw down their moves and the place came alive. Everybody was so friendly and they all seemed so happy to have been invaded by the westerners.

After an unusual yet banging mix of indie and dance, the DJs switched and I bore witness to one of the weirdest things I've seen in a club. Two girls who had previously been dancing like mad monkeys took to the decks and put on track that I can only describe as "moon music".

Then, from behind the wheels of steel, an array of puppets on sticks appeared and started getting down to the tunes just like everybody else. I couldn't decipher if there was any story line to the performance, I think it was just a random show, but I can tell you that it was hilarious, weird, and 100% JAPANESE.

If I had seen nothing else in all my time in Tokyo, this one mad puppet show would have made it all worthwhile.

Thankyou Japan.


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