I started this post months ago as a summer travel guide to Japan. My drunken, very, very drunken travel guide to Japan, but now it’s just going to be… Well a drunken travel guide/living in Japan post and it still works so bite me. You know you want to come here at some point in your life and I will help you with that (not the airfare moron, unless you are a very cute Korean girl that likes psychobilly). You want to come here. If you are a man it’s to nail Japanese girls, if you are a girl it’s to nail Japanese girls (or Japanese guys, please do, they don’t get enough foreign girls) and if you are from the Otaku segment of the foreign population – well the ones not in Japan – you dream of going to Japan, Tokyo in particular to nail Japanese girls because you think they look like any number of random girls from all the Anime you watch (they don’t, and you will not have 10 girls fighting over you no matter how shy and nerdy you are). In light of this I thought I would offer my services to be your most humble (and drunken) tour guide through the Kanto Plain (the place Tokyo and it’s surrounding cities are in for those of you who can’t be bothered to look at an atlas, or Google the shit, you’re already on the internets you lazy fucks). I am also not going to go into the different clubs or bars because I think I’m going to save that for another post.
Also before people bitch I am going to be using the name of the train station for some places, sometimes the Ward (it’s a section of a city) or area has a different name but I’m using the names of the train stations closest to what I’m talking about (sometimes they are the same) as a reference and it’s less confusing this way. Trust me on this, if I told you to go to Hatagaya in Shibuya you would get on the train and go to Shibuya even though you really wanted to go to Shinjuku to get the train to Hatagaya in Shibuya since that is the easiest way to get there if you are not taking a cab. So I’m just going to say Hatagaya and not Shibuya. But I’m not even going to talk about Hatagaya here because other than Club Heavy Sick (a good place for horror punk and psychobilly shows) I have no idea what else is in the area. My point is always navigate using the name of the nearest train station and you are much less likely to get lost in a place it’s very easy to get lost in (I’ve gotten lost in train stations, they can be that big) and addresses look like a math problem. I am not kidding about this; my own home address has no street names in it but a lot of numbers, it’s so bad I feel like I’m going to get graded on finding my way home. “Congratulations you just got a B+ in Finding Your Own House 101, but sorry but you failed Mailing A Letter To your Girlfriend 204”. I have given addresses to cab drivers in Tokyo before and they gave me a blank look and said they couldn’t help me and the cabs have GPS. My water bill only comes once every two months and I think that is because the postman can’t find my house. It’s bad. Lucky for me I can pay my utility bills at a convenience store so I don’t have to try and play the Hope To God My Electricity Doesn’t Get Shut Off Game every month trying to mail them a check.
First lets go over Tokyo and it’s many little cities within a city. Tokyo is large and it’s full of people, like really, really full of people and we all ride giant robotic battle suits to work every day. I’m joking, only 17 year old kids with unnaturally colored hair get the battle mechs the rest of us ride trains if we aren’t stupid enough to try to drive and can’t afford Godzilla’s outrageous taxi fees. I’m not going to get into the train system or driving in Japan since I have already done it (go here, and here) so let’s get on with some of the wonderful neighborhoods to hang out in Tokyo.
Shibuya is famous for having the busiest crosswalk in the world. I know you have seen pictures of it. We have all seen the videos on the Discovery Channel of the giant bears swatting people out of the crosswalk while millions of people try to get up street in the hope of doing some shopping or getting laid. Always remember to walk in the center so the bears don’t get you. The main points-of-interest in Shibuya is the large amounts of high end shops, bars, clubs and of course what we affectionately refer to as “The Hill”. The Hill has most of the night clubs, most of what border on a Rave if they aren’t actually throwing one (all the people my friend – who actually likes techno – tells me are big name DJs play there often). The prices to get into the clubs range for a little much to holy shit but depending on the night and the DJ that’s playing it might be a good time, plus while the door prices can be a bit much drink prices are always 500 Yen (that is good in Japan) and the clubs are open all night so you can spend a lot longer in them getting turned down by women (unless you are me, I never get turned down and always leave with a couple fake numbers). Jokes aside this is one of the better places in Tokyo to pick up girls at clubs, there are places that it’s easier but the quality is a lot worse. There are also several concert halls and every other building is a love motel (if you have never heard of a love motel take a second and you can figure out what they are for) and a smattering of massage parlors you don’t go into for a massage if you get my drift.
Akihabara is what nerds all over the world face when they pray 42 times a day. Or is it 5? I can never get these religions right. It’s filled with Otaku, vending machines that sell udon in a can (because the broth for regular udon just isn’t gross enough apparently we have to have to can it and sell it in a vending machine), electronics shops, shops that cater to every creepy whim of the Otaku, Maid Cafes, porn stores and other degeneracy dedicated to those unlikely to reproduce very often (if ever). Maid cafes are great, or great in the humor value of it, not great as in a place you want to touch anything. Maid Cafes are a place you can go to eat like any other cafe only these sometimes have cover charges to get in and all the girls working there are dressed like a maid from the creepier kinds of Anime. The patrons are primarily Otaku (am I over-using this word yet or is it just me) who go there to see a girl dressed up like a maid and serve them a banana split, cake or well… something. Mostly they sort of sit around ogle the girls and generally be their creepy little selves. Lucky for me the last time I was in one (well, the only time I’ve been in one) they did serve beer and were open at 4 in the morning. Don’t you judge me, I was waiting for the trains to start running and it was all that was left open! I did have an amusing time mostly fucking with people and making them listen to obscure Japanese punk bands and trying to get the local wildlife to come out of it’s nerdy little shell. I don’t know if it worked and doubt it did but I had to try. OK, I’m a bastard what of it? Well back to the point I guess. Other than the freaky body pillows of prepubescent anime girls the rest of the stranger side of Otaku culture Akihabara is a really good place to shop for very cheap computer equipment as well as a wonderful place for people watching in that all the best (read: the craziest) of Japanese fashion is always on display.
Don’t ask, just don’t fucking ask…
I know I have spoken about Shinjuku before but I will again. Shinjuku is basically the place every single Yakuza film ever made is set. The reason for this is that as far as I can tell the local government of Shinjuku is the Yakuza. It’s also has the best clubs to see live music in, especially punk, metal and other forms of angry and fast rock (the only things that matter if rockabilly is not being spoken of) so no matter what day it is there is always at least 20 live shows going on you can go to. I love this place. But other than the punk shows and the Yakuza, Shinjuku has a darker side, Kabuki-cho, as I have said in previous post Kabuki-cho is the place they used as the model for the game Yakuza (best game ever). Kabuki-cho has some great clubs for live music but it also has a lot more to offer, especially if you are a pervert. It’s filled with sex shops, love motels (a lot of them, so many I can’t believe that many is necessary in this one place a lot) and hostess bars. They also have a lot of host bars, so many it’s insane ( I know women like to get theirs too but usually they are a little more on the DL about it, and hostess bars are more for the drunken businessman set in the first place). For some reason every single guy that works at a host club (they like to call them clubs, whatever) has the same haircut where he looks like he is the lead in a Final Fantasy video game. They all look the same, and I’m not saying that in the “racist Asian stereotype” the same but I think they just cloned one guy a hundred times and made his clones work at every Host Club in Shinjuku.
This is him… or one of his clones… I don’t really know…
Oh fuck he brought friends… I’d make a joke with a Star Wars reference in it but fuck you George Lucas, fuck you!
Now there are some things to watch out for in Shinjuku (mainly in Kabuki-cho), do not go into hostess bars. OK that’s a given any place (really if you want to check one out go into one in Yokohama or something and leave after 7 minutes you’ll see all you need to). The reason I say stay out of the ones here is that a lot are not really hostess clubs but cleverly disguised places to get hookers. You walk in pay you entrance fee and some girl sits down, you buy her a drink like you would at any of them places (really don’t bother going into one, ever) and rather than sit there and talk to you like they do at the normal ones they strait out tell you the price it is to go to the love motel (in normal hostess bars they do not do this, they only drink and talk, no sex, it’s like a strip club without the naked girls). Why do I know this you ask? Well I wish I didn’t but I’ll explain. Unfortunately after missing the last train one night and trying to find a place to drink the night away till the trains started running (not that uncommon here) I ended up getting dragged around by a very crazy Russian guy to took me to several of these places (he hadn’t quite figured out that I only wanted to drink and every time we left one he would say he knows a better place). For the people that think this is a good idea the price runs you about 30,000 Yen and that is over 300 bucks (in American money) and that is just to the girl you still have to pay the love motel. I think anyway I didn’t (read: wasn’t going to) get that far, so for all I know it only gets you 5 minutes with her in said motel. Oh, right, and prostitution is wrong!
Another thing to watch out for is Nigerians, OK in Japan you always watch out for Nigerians. Even the Nigerians will tell you that. There is a Nigerian crime syndicate in Tokyo and they usually run the worse hostess bars and massage parlors and there is always some scam going on so while the Yakuza and Triads just want to get however much they can get you to spend at their clubs and brothels, the Nigerians will get your credit card number and you will get drugged and wake up several thousand dollars poorer. To be fair this is not all Nigerians, so far I found two bars, one in Shibuya and one in Shinjuku were the guys are trustworthy and cool but one of the guys managed the bar for the Yakuza (well it’s a strip club) and the other just owned his own bar and wasn’t affiliated with any sort of organized crime. Both however kindly told me never to talk to Nigerians. Look, I know some people are going to jump on the whole “that’s racist thing” but fuck you, do what you want, but to the rest of the world just watch the hell out since you might be dealing with a syndicate and if you are you do not want it to be the Nigerian one.
Yoyogi Park and Harajuku:
Yoyogi is a section of Harajuku, or it’s a section of Shibuya attached to Harajuku (Harajuku being part of Shibuya), or it’s a park, it doesn’t matter. I am going to go to the park other people like to go wander around in Harajuku to see all the freaks but you can get enough of them at the park and I could give a fuck about the shopping. Yoyogi Park has everything, festivals all night parties, people playing random instruments they can’t get away with playing in their apartments, strange Japanese greasers dancing with giant pompadours and public sex. Yeah, I’m not kidding about the last one. Now before you fly here just to get involved is some giant park orgy it doesn’t work like that, people do have sex out there but you can’t see shit because they are hiding in sleeping bags and usually behind a tree or something. You are not going to be asked to join so just don’t bother trying and just leave them alone you sick fucks. Yoyogi park is also a great place to see the most insane of Japanese fashion, and cosplay fun, especially on this one bridge (no I don’t know the name of it) where most of the people with the best in insane fashion hang out.
Yes it always looks like this, sometimes worse. Just look up Harajuku fashion on the internets and you can get a break down of all the different flavors of crazy. It would take months for me to break it all down and make fun of it all separately so I don’t want to bother (or I’m planing on doing a whole other post on just that so I’m saving all the jokes till then, I haven’t decided yet).
Do not under any circumstances go to Roppongi. It sucks. Roppongi is one giant party, it’s also one giant crime against humanity. The clubs are overpriced and they always play the same crappy top 40 dance music and if you are unlucky enough to spend enough time in a club there you will notice when the music goes on repeat. If you walk out of one club and into another one quickly you will notice that the same song is playing. People have been known to waste entire paychecks there and can still walk out relatively sober. Granted people don’t go there for music or even just the booze, they go to find girls, and there are a lot of girls, just not a lot of quality girls. If you are a foreigner looking to fuck a Japanese girl go here, it’s easy to pick them up since many of the clubs are basically made for foreign guys to pick up Japanese girls. Just remember she is there to fuck foreign guys and you do not know how long she has been going there. Also it’s filled with Nigerians and not even just the “I’m going to steal all your money kind” they have a lot of the “drugged and rapped kind” if not the “sold into sexual slavery kind”. Under no circumstances to you talk to a Nigerian in Roppongi, not that you should follow anyone who promises you girls and sex in Roppongi since that isn’t something you should ever do, but when it’s the Nigerians really, really don’t do it. I guess my point is, if someone says “do you want a massage” do not follow them, and if they say “do you want sex” you definitely do not follow them. Although from what I have heard if you don’t get your credit cards stolen the hookers are a lot cheaper there than they are in Shinjuku. Once again, prostitution is wrong!
Roppongi is filled with night clubs, strip clubs (in Japan you will owe a kidney and your immortal soul to the Yakuza from the price just to look at the drink menu) and the ever wonderful massage parlors that if you only go in to get a massage you will feel ripped off no matter how cheap it was (I’ll give you a hint, they are not there to give you a massage). Japan is usually a safe country and you can drink all night without having to worry too much about muggings, murder, rape or people drugging your drink, Roppongi is the exception to this. You walk into the wrong place have one drink and the next day you wake up sleeping on a park bench and wonder why you have $3000 missing from your bank account. The point is unless you don’t care about shame, VD or your bank account do not under any circumstances go to Roppongi.
Shimo-kitazawa is a nice place to go for concerts. It’s really close to Shinjuku. There are a lot of places to see shows here and there. There are also a lot of little streets with small shops to go to and hang out at. I’ll talk more about the clubs if I ever get around to that post…
Now let’s move on to some of the other places near Tokyo.
Machida is a decent place to go out drinking or shopping. There are some good bars there and it isn’t that expensive. OK, I don’t have much to say about the place other than it’s fun enough.
There is stuff in Chiba like Tokyo Disneyland and since I could care less about Disneyland I have never been there so I can’t tell you if Tokyo Disney is better than normal Disney. There are also a lot of large venues for concerts (the only reason I have ever been to Chiba). OK there is a lot more there but really unless you know someone that lives there if you are on vacation I have no idea why you would go. Well unless you are coming here in March since Iron Maiden is playing two shows there.
Kamakura was once the capital of Japan. It’s a nice place to do the touristy thing. They have a lot of temples, shrines and places to shop and get food. It is a really beautiful place. They also have the second largest statue of Buddha in Japan. And yes, it is quite large.
The store there sells beer.
Nikko is about 86 miles from Tokyo. Yeah, I know this was mostly about Tokyo and Yokohama but fuck you, Nikko is the shit. It’s a nice place although was a bit expensive. Nikkō National Park is very beautiful and has a lot of waterfalls and hot springs (or Onsen in Japanese). It is a very relaxing place. Lake Chuzenji that end with the beautiful Kegon Falls is at the top of a mountain and the ride up there is amazing. The mountain is so steep that they have one very winding road for up and one for down because they didn’t have space to make them two lanes. And this is Japan where they make two lanes out of any road big enough to fit two cats on. Down the mountain they have a couple of shines such as Nikkō Tōshō-gū that is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu and has the urn that hold his remain there. You can see it if you want to walk up what feels like a million steps up a tree covered hill to get to it. Other than the foot blisters it is a very nice walk. Really there is about 9 shines or temples in the area although it’s more like 103 different building close to one another in a forest of giant trees. It is really beautiful. You can walk around there for days. Another good reason to go is Nikko Beer. Nikko Beer is the best beer in Japan and sadly hard to find anywhere else. They also have Nikko Wine. The regular wine is OK but the Strawberry Wine is really good, and the ladies love it. Also hard to get where I am. Nikko is the perfect place to go if you want to go on a relaxing weekend with a date. The only problem with Nikko is that a lot of the hotels at the top of the mountain (all lakeside for a wonderful view) close their doors at 10pm as well as most places do so you have to be back by then. This isn’t that big of a problem since most places are not open all night like in Tokyo however I did have one incident where I ended up at this tiny little local bar off the beaten path that stayed open late and ended up having to crawl into a window that was unlocked to get into my hotel at 3 in the morning quite drunk. In my defense while I may have had to break into my hotel I didn’t break anything to do it and was nice enough to secures the window I have crawled through and the back door I had unlocked to let my friend in before hitting the bed. My hotel was nice though since it had a hot spring in it and a very good Bangladeshi/Indian restaurant.
Ah Nikko, how I love you. Well other than the fact it was May and it started to snow and I didn’t pack much other than shorts and t-shirts and I was on an hour long boat tour of the lake when the weather changed and could do shit about it… Yeah it does get colder there especially on the mountain because of the elevation. But you know you always wanted to go to and outdoor onsen in the snow.
Now let’s have some fun in Yokohama.
This is what most people think about when you say Yokohama. If you tell a girl you will meet her at Yokohama at 2:00 she will naturally go here. Probably because the train station here is the Yokohama Station the 5th busiest train station in Japan. Around the station are a lot of bars and restaurants and if it a fairly decent place to get some beers are some good food. It also has two places every foreigner living near or in Yokohama has spent an inordinate amount of time in. TGI Friday’s and The Hub (it’s an English pub/restaurant, they have good food and beer), they are also decent places to pick up girls. They also serve what is known as “American portions”, since if you are American you are used to larger portions at a restaurant than what you usually get in Japan (we be fat people). There are also a lot of decent places to take a girl on a date.
A lot of bars, shopping and good for tourists. There was a really good club for punk music I used to basically live at called Club 24 West, but it closed and then reopened under new and shitty management. Other than 24 West I never did much else there other than play pool.
It’s really Minato Mirai 21 but who cares. It is a good place to take dates and other than tourism it’s what it’s known for. A lot of restaurants, bars, movie theaters, shopping, an amusement park with a very large ferris wheel that lights up the sky right next to the bay. It’s also right next to Chinatown.
The largest Chinatown in Asia. Well the largest one that isn’t China I guess…. It is a nice place to take a date or for tourism and to get really good food. It’s a nice place for a date or to go shopping.
It is in Niki Ward but you don’t care about that. You want the hookers. Yes, hookers. The place was a red light district. Notice I just said “was”. It’s not now but until they cleaned it up it looked like Amsterdam, or well Hinodecho. Prostitution is not legal in Japan, well it’s mostly not legal they have some interesting loopholes in the laws, it is however usually ignored so people kind of get away with a lot. Once again, prostitution is wrong. Hinodechō was at one time street after street of half dressed girls in doorways trying to convince lonely perverts to join them for a little pay by the hour fun. While Japan might have a tendency to look the other way at this kind of thing it was a little too out in the open so the city finally closed the place down. Like I said prostitution is wrong, but if you want to go get herpes you can’t do it here anymore, go to Roppongi that places is filled with the herpadillos. Now the streets and alleyways where you used to be able to buy sex are not there anymore and if you look like a lonely pervert looking for sex the cops will shoo you away. All the girls and brothels are gone but many have been changed into apartments (not the girls, I’m not even going to go for that joke). Yes, people now live in what used to be brothels, it’s kind of popular with the hipster crowed out here. Yeah I know the local government thought they were cleaning it up and making it more classy and now it’s worse (and unlike what a hipster thinks is irony this actually is ironic). Plus converting an old syphilis factory into an apartment makes sense when you are renting it to a bunch of annoying douchebags since it’s illegal to kill them out of mercy (for our mercy, not theirs) it helps when you can keep them in one area so you know not to go there and if we are lucky (we are not, but there is always hope) they will stay there and not come out to bother the rest of us.
Alright lets move on to some other places. Lets go with some of the areas around the U.S. military bases. You might wonder why you need to know where they are and what is around them but you do. You see, if you are living in Japan there are certain things that you can’t get unless you have friends in the military to get them for you like cheap steaks or a rack of ribs that doesn’t cost your entire paycheck. Now it’s wrong to use them this way and they are not supposed to do it but for some of the simpler things it helps. Take contact solution. Every time I have used Japanese contact solution it ends up burning the fuck out of my eyes (granted I may be mixing up contact solution with rat poison but that’s not important), so I get one of my friends to score me a couple bottles now and then so I don’t have to use the Japanese stuff or spend forever trying to find one I can use. Cigarettes are another thing. Japanese Marlboros, Lucky Strikes and Camels do not taste the same out here and are not as good due to the fact that regulations require them to use at least 25% Japanese tobacco. There are some brands Japanese brands such as Hope and Mild Sevens that are decent but every now and then you just want a pack of Luckies or Camels and it’s the place to get them. Another reason to make friends with someone in the military is that if you want to have a cookout they can score you a lot of cheep meat and beer since both meet and beer is expensive out here. Unless you are trying to get someone to get you a couple cases of Red Stripe on base it’s going to cost you a fuck-ton if you are lucky enough to find the stuff. That and other than a couple bastards out there (everyone has them) they are decent enough guys and girls, much like The awesome people in the Japanese Self Defense Forces (JSDF) and they like to drink and they always buy rounds for the people they are hanging with.
In order to get to the Atsugi base you need to go to the Sagamino station in Ebina this way you can get to the city of Ayase were the base is. To further confuse you if you go to the city of Atsugi you will not be anywhere near the Atsugi base. In reality you have no reason to be here. Really, the city of Ayase doesn’t have much in it other than a lot of houses and not many good places to go out drinking. They do have a lot of Thai hostess bars for some reason if you’re into that sort of thing. There is a Tattoo shop up there called Edo that does really good work.
US Army Base. It is close to Atsugi and there isn’t much around it other than it is close to Machida. Other than that I have no idea what is there.
Air Force Base, I have no idea what is there other than people say “nothing”.
Navy Base. This place mostly sucks. There isn’t much there other than right outside the base there is this place called “The Honch”, but I really think it is called Honcho. It apparently has nothing but a lot of bars sailors got to that have 15-20 men for every girl and a lot of massage parlors who for some reason can stay in business even though the sailors are not allowed to go to any one them. The only reason you would go here is to go to the club Pumpkin. Pumpkin has a lot of punk bands play there and is a nice place. A lot of the bands that used to play at 24 West in Kannai play there now that 24 West sucks. OK there are some bars there that are OK but unless you live in the area or are trying to grab a few beers before Pumpkin opens (or on the way home from Pumpkin) I don’t know why you would bother.
OK, that might have been 40 years ago… Not really sure when it was… Don’t much care…
Well I hope you enjoyed my little tour and I would tell you I can’t wait to see you out here but to be honest I really mostly hate people so why the fuck would I want to see you? Now I know several people are going to bitch because I didn’t mention this place or that place but really I don’t care plus this thing is already over 5,000 words long. Really if you want to know more go get a book about it. I did this for free.
I do love it here. However I can never end a post that way so…
I hate it here…