Contact: GaijinTonic@Gmail.com

Japan is a pisshead’s paradise! It’s a land of happy drunks, relaxed alcohol laws, and hilarious novelty bars which are open all night.

I arrived in Japan expecting a spiritually-enriching cultural experience. Several years later, all I have is a truckload of dodgy drinking stories, which I’m writing now in an attempt to pass my partying off as valuable “research” (rather than pissing my life away.)

On this site you’ll find reviews and information about weird watering holes, and true stories of booze-induced bad-behaviour and mishaps that I’ve experienced first-hand, or been told by friends, here in the land of the rising beer glass. Hence the drink-related title, “Gaijin Tonic.”

The term “gaijin”, as you probably know, means “foreigner” in Japanese. It’s considered a derogatory term by some but, when describing some of the dipsomaniac misfits in I’ve met, derogatory terms seem more than reasonable.

These tales of mayhem and merriment should ring a bell with anyone who has spent more than 24 hours in Japan. I hope the site will serve as a kind of tonic for gaijin and Japanese alike- an invigorating, tequila-laced chicken soup for the soul of the adventurous drunkard.



51 Responses to About

  1. bigeyedeer says:

    This site looks set to be a good read! Keep up the good work. Which I suppose means, for you, go out and get shit-faced.

    You lucky, lucky bastard.

  2. sacofat says:

    haha.. this is awesome..

  3. chin says:

    Ah yes, Japan is odd. I’ve never found such a puzzling mix of conservatism and liberalism elsewhere. The Japanese are polite to a fault, and their girls go to school in the skimpiest of skirts and with violet hair.

    I say, rock on! =)

  4. Hey the shinagawa prince hotel, when does it have the three hour nomihoudai? just on weekends? between certain hours? i’m curious, please hit me back on my email or post on my blog – thanx

  5. Mari says:

    Hi Roaf
    Thank you for your nice blog. Let’s drink more and more. I had two drinking off days this week because I drank too much in Hanami weeks. I am proud of me and I am happy to know I am alchole addiction he he he kidding. Anyway happy drinking is great always.

  6. roaf says:

    Thanks Mari! Japan is a lot of fun!

  7. pjspider says:

    LOL – this site is hilarious!! I’m adding you to my blogroll, if you want to do the same with my site, feel free!


  8. roaf says:

    Thanks, I’ll do that!

  9. Majestyk says:

    Hey Roaf,

    Great blog mate! I’ve just added you to the blogroll on my website, Big On Japan (http://www.bigonjapan.com/) so hopefully you’ll return the favour. As you’re a fellow booze-hound, you’ll probably enjoy my pieces about the vomit bar and turbo shandy. I also have a load of posts about beer in Japan on the way too.

    Anyway, keep up the good work!


  10. jessica says:

    Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice! I think we’re kindred spirits. The old man and I were looking for a rock bar in Yokohama tonight but found your site. I think we’re going to try one of the wacky bars in Yokohama thanks to you:)

    I’m going to link you on my blog…if you don’t mind:)


  11. gaijinnosekai says:

    Awesome site man, Ive been checking it regularly for a while now, and luckily Im now finally in the land of the rising sun too 😀 Ive added your site to my blog roll, hope you dont mind, do the same with mine if ya wish. gaijinnosekai.wordpress.com
    Keep up the good work!

  12. roaf says:

    Thanks! I’ll check out your blog.

  13. We will conquer alllll!!! Let us unite and raises our glasses for as long as we can.


    Great blog man! Brewed for Good Times

    Blog Rolled

    PS: Have you tried Sprite Zero….just thinking of the tonic.

  14. roaf says:

    That’s the spirit! I haven’t tried Sprite Zero, but I’m sure it’ll work better as a mixer than the Cucumber-flavoured Pepsi I tried a couple of months ago.

  15. Tori says:

    Hi Roaf,

    Your site feed is hard to find. I did a google site search for “RSS” and found it but not everyone is that nerdy 😉

    just wanted to give you a heads up

  16. roaf says:

    Thanks! I’ll try to sort that out (but I’m inept with computers!)

  17. Tori says:

    I’ve heard that Feedburner.com has a little button or widget that is easy to install and use (I still need to do this for my blog too)

    Also Looks like beer prices will go up 😦
    Hope that doesn’t hamper your “research” too much

  18. Angela says:

    Nice blog! These stories definitely ring a bell–I was in Japan last summer for a study abroad and spent a healthy amount of time wasted 🙂

    Btw, awesome bar reviews! That information will definitely be useful when I go back next year!

    Thanks, man! Keep it up!

  19. roaf says:

    Thanks, Angela, glad you like it!
    Stay tuned.

  20. Marcel says:

    I have lived in Japan for 26 years, and I always see these outsiders; lost foreigners that hang around bars and do some “teaching” for a living.
    You have no idea what Japan is. You have no idea why the Japanese act as they do or the traditions they follow. Your blog reflects your superficial mind.

  21. roaf says:

    Hey, I’d rather be “superficial” than an embittered old miseryguts.

    I’m having a great time in Japan, and I have plenty of Japanese friends who are on the same wavelength as me, and they certainly know less about Japanese traditions than even I do.
    One thing I have learned from the Japanese is to be polite and non-confrontational to strangers. Judging by your comment you haven’t picked those traits up in your 26 years here!

    After being “special” for 26 years, you must be unnerved by all the other Westerners flooding in, cramping your style, and exposing your shortcomings. It must like someone shitting on your birthday cake! Before you spout your “foreigners go home” nonsense, take a look in the mirror, buddy!

    To avoid embarrassing yourself further, Marcel, I suggest you follow the example of your namesake, the mime artist Marcel Marceau, and remain silent.

  22. headbang8 says:

    You tell him, Roaf. My experience is that the lifers who wank on about Japanese tradition, have drunk too much tatemae-flavoured Kool-Aid.

    Pissed every night and stagger into your day job? You’re a lot more authentically Japanese than many. The only thing about you that is uncharacteristic of the Japanese is that you probably have actual sex from time to time. Or have you gone thoroughly native by now?

    I lived in Japan for five years, and one of the greatest lessons I learned (or rediscovered) is the importance of PLAY. The line between work and play in the west is blurred–so blurred, that we forget how to be innocent and silly. My fondest memories of Tokyo ring with innocent laughter at the sheer love of pretending. Noplace else in the world do people so enjoy their imaginations. And few other places do friends so eagerly (and regularly) get together for a knees-up. The hours you spend at the office just kills time–the real work of corporate Japan is to play once the whistle blows.

    Of course, if you have your head up your ass like the Marcels of this world, you’d never notice.

  23. headbang8 says:

    Oh, a PS. As a gay chap with a Japanese partner, let me say how much we appreciated the Kawasaki Dickfest photos. I have always tried to convince him to attend, but he thinks the whole thing is just too tacky. Me? Never met a dick I didn’t like.

  24. roaf says:

    I totally agree about the play! There’s no shame in having fun and goofing around over here (and, in fact, you don’t have to be drunk to do so.) Games centers, cos-play, love-hotels, penis festivals. You name it!

  25. heidi says:

    I too currently live here in Japan. I have been here for 6 months now and have no plans of leaving any time soon. I have spent many many nights drinking it up. I have found that it is one of the best ways to learn about whats going on around me. I only seem to learn Japanese while drinking. So what I can say is limited but definatly helpfull!! I have a friend coming to visit me next month and we are going to find these bars that you mentioned. I would also like to find the resturaunt that is a prison and they have jail breaks durring dinner.
    I think you have a fantastic thing going on here!! thank you for sharing and keep up the good “work”!!

  26. roaf says:

    Thanks! Let me know if you have trouble finding those places.

  27. Akihiro Ito says:

    I am Japanese. Those who are interested in Japan’s link to my site please.
    Hi. Let me look at the site. Very interesting.
    Japan recently introduced an information site. Foreigners who are relatively unknown in Japan to introduce the information. Surprise is full of information.
    We hope once the link please.

  28. Tiff~* says:

    hi roaf, im heading to japan on a solo trip this september and i can see im going to find your blog an invaluable source of tips n tricks 😉 you don’t do guided tours by any chance do you? haha. keep up the awesome tales, can’t wait to read more!

  29. roaf says:

    Thanks Tiff!
    You’re going to to have a whale of a time, I’m sure.
    Let me know if you need any more info.

    Guided tours would not be a bad idea, actually!
    I don’t know if there are enough crazies who want to go to the kind of places I like, though!

  30. Mark says:

    Great Blog mate. Have been here 13 years and can relate to all the above.

  31. joane says:

    This site is so funny. The domain itself attracted my attention. I’m not so good at drinking (most of the time I get easily drunk), but gintonic’s my common fave. I’m including your site to my links! I hope you won’t mind. I’m also a blogger in Japan, btw. Keep on writing! 🙂

  32. Tommy Holmes says:

    I am looking for a mover and shaker,to take me to a whole nother level ! I never been to Japan,but heard the Females are very straight forward,passionated,rich and would give a man like me a chance ! Is that true? I need you very bad ! Hey check out my Hot Hip Hop Song I wrote at my web site ! Let me know ! Get back to me ! I am waiting ! Everybody, just kept on Hopping ! I love it !

  33. Happy Hog says:

    Hello. I am hot from laughter. Love solo keep touching here. Make big time happiness.

  34. Tony says:

    Awesome blog!! I’m considering doing a T-shirt in relation to this ‘Gaijin Tonic’ kinda thing for my Gai-jin T-shirts website – http://www.t-shitsu.com.

    Would you be adverse to that?!

    I’d love to setup some kinda link exchange. I can put your blog here – http://www.t-shitsu.com/index.php?main_page=page_8

    Let me know and Kanpai!! 😉


  35. Samantha says:

    How is it that you are not published?! When you make a killing off a tour guide to the best bars in Japan book give me and email! I’d for sure buy that shit!

    • Ranil says:

      taglrpawibee on November 7, 2011 Not to be a troll, but in my PERSONAL opinion…I think neopets is funner when you don’t cheat ever 8 seconds. Its funner earning the Neopoints.

  36. Samantha says:

    How are you not published?! I’d buy a book like this. Insiders tour guide to the best bars in Japan… if that ‘I hope they serve beer in hell’ guy got his blog published (then turned into a movie)YOU CAN TOO!

  37. Gianluca says:

    My name is Gianluca Aramini I search professor Tsuyoshi Awaya for a question on japanese medicine, I wrote a email to professor Awaya to his email address( t-awaya@nifty.ne.jp) but not respond , please contact professor Awaya for me.
    the number of professor is (+81)-(0)90-3377-6800,  (+81)-(0)80-3871-0640
    please contact professor for me. My question for professor is The bodies to make medicines from the period of the introduction of Chinese medicine to the Muromachi period were taken exclusively from criminals?

  38. Gianluca says:

    Please contact the professor speak in English

  39. thetechmonkey says:

    Well that is brilliant of you, to blog about your drinking expades. I should have thought of it myself. I’ve done my fair share of it throughout Japan. Orion, the already watered down beer from Okinawa. Now I can only imagine what they did with Orion Zero, 90% water, and group of 10 staff pissing the remaining 10% (after they have already consumed a few kegs of the original Orion Beer!

    Stay away from Sparx, it’ll land you on your ass!

    Keep going with what you’re doing here, it’s great. If ever in my direction, lets meet up and drink! (Mie-ken)

  40. Mark says:

    Love the pun in the name of this brilliant blog… “Gaijin Tonic”

  41. becjaz says:

    Love your blog! I lived over there 12 years ago – and did some serious partying for 18 months in bars and karaoke boxes etc! You have so taken me back to all the best funniest memories! The long drunken nights followed by sleeping on trains and ending up who-knew-where.? I wanna go back!

  42. Morten says:

    Usually I hate blogs. Who’s interested in total strangers privat opinions on God knows what. This one on the contrary actually givs firstclass information on Japanese drinking habits in a very entertaining way. To whom it may concern (everyone with “business” in Japan), this should be obligatory reading.


  43. Shpeen says:

    Love it ! I’ve been a regular visitor to the Nagoya area for about 15 years( business trips) and for me it’s like I’m a kid going to Disneyland.Many adventures, and the best times were at the bars or between bars. I love the Japanese people and culture and wish we in the west had that kind of respect for each other. Going back soon, hope I can always return. If Nihon was 3 hrs away,I’d be there every weekend!Kanpai!

  44. Roaf says:

    Kanpai! I’ll have to check out the Nagoya bars sometime!

  45. Drinking plays an important role in Japanese society. Drinking parties, typically held at restaurants and izakaya, are a common activity

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