May 16, 2011
Hello! I thought I’d better post something here, since a few readers have mailed me asking if I’m I’m still alive and in Japan. Yes and yes, although I’m feeling barely alive, since I’ve spent the last couple of months doing my best to help recover the weakened Japanese economy, by buying lots of drinks. I’ve attended various hanami parties, Golden Week parties, other people’s sayonara parties, and Tohoku earthquake/tsunami fundraising parties. I even won a yard-of-ale downing competition in an Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day.
After the horrors of recent months, I’ve learned some important things. They are thus:
-Shibuya Shakey’s Pizza has all-you-can-drink beer for 500 yen.
-The waitresses at the Grade A bar in Yokohama’s Camelot Hotel now wear sexy bunny-girl costumes.
May 31, 2010
Rocknococoro is a fine place to rock yer coconuts. A fun little DJ bar in Shibuya, it’s frequented by the kind of enthusiastic teenybopper fanboys/girls who attend the Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic festivals (indeed, they even throw parties themed around those festivals). I’m usually the oldest person in there, but fortunately I’m entirely shameless, and the endearingly sweet and nerdy crowd are always friendly anyway, especially after they’ve knocked back a few drinks.
It’s narrow, but there’s room to dance in front of the DJ booth, and the large windows give a compelling view of the goings-on on the urban streets three floors below.
Ladies take note- it’s half price drinks for you on weeknights. (I’d try to get round this misandrist policy by wearing a dress and a wig, but at 6’5″ I’d make an unconvincing tranny. Oh well- at least this policy ensures that there are always more than a few nice women in the place.)
Park Bld.3F,10-1, Udagawa cho, Shibuya-Ku,Tokyo JP
Open from 7pm-5am daily.
May 6, 2010
Golden Week has come to an end, and bleary-eyed, sunburned Japanese workers are trudging back to work (mercifully only for two days until the weekend.) If, like me, the Golden Week festivities have left you broke, you’re going to need somewhere cheap to drink until the next payday.
Mari of Watashi No Tokyo has helpfully posted a list of cut-price izakayas worth checking out. A new wave of bargain-basement boozers have been emerging since the recession. (One of the benefits of economic downturn! I was broke before the banks collapsed so I’ve been loving it!)
Billy at Tokyo Filter has also discovered a place in Shimokitazawa selling beers for 180 yen!
With alcohol this cheap you can get smashed for months on end and still have money left for the back-street liver transplant!
If you can only afford beer from the convenience store, Billy has also discovered a brand of beer called Zero Life, with which life’s losers can drown their sorrows in total honesty.
Or you could choose to obliterate your brain cells with the lethal low-fat 7% happoshu, “Strong Off” (See below).
Finally, if you fancy an exotic cocktail, as of May the 25th you could mix your drinks with Pepsi’s demented new Baobab-tree-flavoured pop.
I always look forward to Japanese Pepsi’s annual weird summer drink (cucumber-flavour having been a particular favourite in the past) and Baobab looks set to continue the eccentric tradition. God knows what it’s going to taste like, though!
March 25, 2010
I’ve just tried Asahi’s brand new “beer”, the oddly-named “Strong Off”, which sounds like a sexual act performed by an arm-wrestling champion. Strong Off doesn’t taste all that wonderful (like bitter, fizzy water) but is cheaply priced and has 7% alcohol content, so it’s sure to become the convenience-store beer of choice for homeless people, students, pachinko-addicts, and starving English teachers. It’s also supposedly got 60% less carbs than normal beer, so needy Atkins-diet obsessives can join in the fun too.
March 15, 2010
The other day I stumbled upon a Jackson Five-themed bar in Nakano, Tokyo. Groovy!
Perhaps the bar was named to commemorate the famous quintet’s epic 1979 concert in nearby Nakano Sun Plaza.
Unfortunately, the proprietors don’t stick too rigidly to the concept, as you can see from the sign: “we play trance, reggae, and hip-hop”. I don’t remember hearing any trance anthems by the Jackson Five!
However, the drinks are all four hundred yen during happy hour (from 6-9pm) which is fantastically cheap, and they’ve got a dartboard, so who’s complaining.
Jackson Five Bar:
東京都中野区中野5-67-12 ＳＫビル Ｂ１Ｆ
More info (in Japanese) with a map: Jackson Five Bar
By coincidence, this week I also discovered Japan’s very own domestic answer to the Jackson Five, called “Finger 5”, who were great. Fronted by a pint-sized, bespectacled boy (who looks like a girl), and accompanied by his younger sister (who looks like a boy), and backed up by their three gangling teenage brothers, Okinawa’s Finger 5 made catchy bubblegum pop in the early seventies and had several smash hit singles (and even made four movies!) until an unsuccessful bid to crack America, combined with the inevitable onset of puberty and broken voices, put an end to their short-lived stardom.
Disappointingly, they all went on to lead normal lives, and didn’t become eccentric recluses, with pet monkeys and merry-go-rounds in their back gardens.
Check ’em out in action:
December 27, 2009
It’s time for all the shops to re-open for their post-Christmas sales. Ouside a clothes shop in Shibuya, I spotted the sign below, with a rather novel sales pitch.
July 24, 2009
Kentucky Fried Chicken have started selling Kirin beer in their Japanese chains.
Now I know where to take all my dates!