Apr 012008

By total coincidence, it just so happened that Japan Lair, the online community created just last year by a PUA named Genki, was having its annual Christmas Party during one of the three nights that Peder and I would be spending in Tokyo.

The Venue: Butler’s Café, Shibuya.
The Cost: 2000 yen for foreigners, 5000 yen for Japanese
The Deal: All-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink, and lots of fun.

In all honesty I was a tad nervous about heading to this party, not really having any idea what to expect. I’d been out hundreds of nights in dozens of countries, but this would be the first time amongst true PUA’s – a group of guys who, to some extent or another, had devoted their lives to studying human psychology and perfecting the art of social interaction. To analyzing and reading peoples’ emotions and reactions, to sculpting their personalities to hook the attention of others, to creating a movie-star aura around an average everyday normal guy.

We hyped ourselves up, put on our smiles, and burst through those doors.

“Uh oh, you guys look like trouble…how’s it goin’, I’m Genki.”

It was a line we’d heard dozens of times from Andy, manager of Sam and Dave’s Kyoto. Er, except for the “I’m Genki” part 😉

Awesome. We had his approval. Maybe it was the antlers 😆

The party turned out to be fair-to-good, and I was pleased to find how friendly and down-to-earth everyone was. It’s a shame there isn’t a bigger Community in Osaka, but who knows…maybe there will be by the next time I make my way to Nippon.

The remainder of the night turned out to be pretty standard fare. We headed into Roppongi, socializing for awhile with the passing crowds and combini-shoppers before hopping from bar-to-bar until around 8am. This is much more fun than you might imagine, as on weekends the streets can be just as packed as the venues themselves.

You know, even though I maybe partially biased in favor of Kansai, I really think there is a huge difference between the people down there and the Tokyoites. That’s not to say that there aren’t a bunch of awesome people up here too, but after a year of partying in Kyoto, the un-friendlyness of Roppongi had just become really obvious. In Kyoto, when Peder and I walk around wearing reindeer antlers, people stop all the time to laugh, give a high-five, or even invite us to go drinking together. Every bartender remembers our names, often inviting us behind the bar for a free shot or two. But in Roppongi, the second you walk into a place the bartenders start hassling you to buy a drink – the moment you put it down, even if it’s still full, they take it away so they can force you to buy another.. There’s no “personal feel,” it’s just a machine to churn people through, filtering as much money as possible along the way. Street hustlers are constantly trying to drag you into strip clubs promising free drinks and good times – which of course come at the cost of a second drink at quadruple normal cost. Somehow the general vibe is just much less “we’re friendly and care about you,” and more “give us your cash and get out.”

Don’t get me wrong, Tokyo’s still a fantastic city, loads of fun, and safer than pretty much anywhere I’ve been outside of Japan. Although I’d never choose it over Kansai, I don’t think it would be too much of an issue to live here. It’s just that with millions and millions of people in such a small area, the personal feel that you get from Kyoto or even Osaka can slip away all too easily.

When the night finally ended and the sun started to rise, Peder and I returned to Hotel Fukudaya and picked up our bags. Because we’d arrived without any reservations, unfortunately they didn’t have a vacant room for us on the 3rd night – we had to switch to another place across town.

What was supposed to be a super-quick move ended up taking the better part of the day, because we couldn’t bear to separate ourselves from the incredibly sweet little old couple who ran the place (photo in the previous post). I would almost go back and stay at Fukudaya just to see them again. The woman was so friendly that every time she left our sight, she’d come running back with crackers and chocolates, putting extras of anything we liked into our pockets as a snack for the road. She reminded me of my little grandma back in San Diego.

The clerk at our second lodging, Sansuiso, was similarly amiable – his initially brash and grumpy-seeming demeanor in the end turned out to be little more than a dry, but very friendly, sense of humor. When he came in the room to bring us tea and noticed that I was wearing my yukata wrong, he spent about twenty minutes helping and teaching me to retie it properly.

He just about cut off circulation to the lower half of my body in doing so, but it was still a pretty fun experience 🙂

One short nap later and we were off to Ageha, one of the biggest clubs in all of Asia, for their fifth anniversary party.

It was our last night in Tokyo and Japan.

Time to go out with a bang.

  3 Responses to “Japan Notes 8 – The Japan Lair”

  1. Nice cone 🙂 What are the characters on it? I am assuming the 2nd one means car (like 车), and the last two mean prohibited (禁止)

  2. You got it – it means “No Parking” (car-parking prohibited)

  3. You said something interesting … On the different ways with which it was received in cities of relatively similar culture … On the commercial interests … On the sympathetic woman who recalled his grandmother … There is also well … And this happens here in the same city, and within hours the same day! Life is so … Put in our front people and situations … Often cool … Often difficult … So it is good living!

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