After Tokyo Game Show concluded, it became a fairly standard trip to Tokyo – which is to say, “freaking awesome.” By total coincidence TGS fell on the front end of a three-day weekend, so a whole group of friends were available to hang out: JingJing, Matt (from Osaka), Herbert and George (two super-cool Tokyoites we met out on Kiyamachi a few weekends earlier), Kitti (a former coworker, who was nice enough to put me up in his place), Andy (another former coworker), and a pile of new friends we met while out on the town.
Since you’re probably sick of reading about nightlife, I’ll just provide the highlights:
1) Lexington Queen, one of my favorite Tokyo nightclubs, is back open – under the name NewLex! Something tells me this place has been back opened for awhile, but after seeing the “out of business” sign on their door after New Year 2006 I just never bothered to go back and check.
Apparently some law was passed that prohibits any nightclubs from operating in Roppongi – those that survived were the ones somehow able to re-classify themselves as “bars” or “lounges.” This is also the reason why Vanilla and Velfarre, two of Roppongi’s biggest mega-clubs, closed down at the same time. Why the government feels the need to keep making laws that limit people’s fun is beyond me, but I’m glad some of the places managed to survive. (Since my first visit to Japan it’s become illegal to have all-night parties at Suma Beach, to have BBQ’s by the river in Kyoto, to ride your bike in certain parts of downtown kyoto, to light fireworks by the river in Kyoto, and to operate clubs in Roppongi. It’s also now illegal to smoke on most major streets in Osaka…but that one’s just fine with me 🙂 )
2) I attended my first Tokyo houseparty! The number of people was small, but the host certainly knew what he was doing – he had a full DJ/turntable setup and live beer tap in his little apartment just a few minutes’ walk from Yoyogi Station. “What can I say, I just love to throw parties?” he told me.
Should be a cool guy to know for my next visit 🙂
3) JingJing is the man with the connections! Thanks so much for getting my entire group of friends free admission to Club Muse…and to Camelot whenever I’m around next, apparently 😉
4) While taking a cab from Shibuya to Roppongi on Saturday night, we used Peder’s cellphone to play music (as usual), keeping our energy and “genki” up the whole way there. The driver loved it. When we arrived, the meter read 1900 yen. He watched as 3 of us pulled out 500 yen coins, then stopped us – “That’s enough, the rest is サービス – thanks for an awesome time!” he said.
How nice! 🙂
That’s about all I can think of with regards to Tokyo. Due to the 3-day weekend, we weren’t able to get a bus back on Monday night as planned, staying instead until Tuesday. The remaining day was spent strolling through KoreaTown (or so it seemed) to the 社会保険庁 to inquire about the status of my pension refund, eating Yakiniku in Shinjuku, stuffing our faces with free ice cream at the a Bagus Internet cafe (the very same one I stayed at with Eli more than 2 years earlier, discussed here), and programming for a bit in a local coffee shop.
Er, actually Peder was programming. I was sorting the weekend’s 300 pictures and attempting to McGuyver back together my headphones that ripped apart in my luggage.
And now we’re back home. Those Tokyo nights were some amazing fun, but it feels wonderful to be back in Kyoto.
And so, things are back to normal.
For now 🙂