November 13, 2003 – First all nighter in Tokyo

(partial rewrite of original post)

Had my first taste of Tokyo nightlife on Thursday (and Friday) with Marshall. The plan was to go to Shibuya, meet up with Mississippi Mike and his friends, and catch the last train home. Naturally we had a few drinks before we left, and got a “traveler” for the train. For the record, drinking beer on the train is legal, but generally frowned upon by other passengers.

We arrived in Shibuya with no idea of where to go and way too many options, so we decided to wander around the major streets and see what looked interesting.

1st stop – The Oil Bar – We went in entirely because of the name. Oil Bar was is a small pub that played hair metal. We were pleasantly surprised that the staff spoke English very well. It was a good to get a beer and make a plan for the evening. No communication yet from Mississippi Mike.

2nd stop – GasPanic – Depending on who you talk to, GasPanic is either famous or infamous. It is most well known as a popular place where foreign guys go to meet Japanese girls. There is no cover charge, and all drinks are 400 yen. There is a large sign on the wall informing customers that you must have a drink in your hand at all times to remain in GasPanic.

When we arrived it was very crowded, but welcoming and fun. Many beers were consumed, tequila shots were downed and chased with more beer. We met a group of Canadians and managed to have a conversation (as well as you can in a noisy bar) about hockey and Japanese women. Marshall and I left just after midnight feeling very good, and started heading for the station in order to catch the last train home. As we had the station in sight I finally got a text from Mississippi Mike to let us know that he and his group has just arrived in Shibuya.

Depending on your destination, the last train to leave most stations in Tokyo is around 12:30am. The first train starts around 5:00am. If you miss the last train you can either get an expensive taxi ride home, or decide to stay out all night. The beer and tequila in our system helped convince us to turn the evening into an all nighter.

3rd stop – WombApparently one of the best dance music clubs in the world, not just Japan. The whole place was huge, but since it was Thursday night (technically Friday morning), the main dance floor was not open. It would have been cool to see all four floors open and busy. Cover was 1500 yen and drink prices were obscene, especially after coming from the economic GasPanic. Our group danced to live DJ music until the they closed down at 4:30am.

The trip home – This part was not very fun. Shibuya is a confusing place when you are sober and not exhausted. Nobody remembered the way back to the station, and for some reason everyone broke up into small groups going in different directions. All of the groups kept walking in circles and running into each other. After about half an hour, Marshall and I finally found Shibuya station, but due to our diminished capacities we could not find the Keio line. We finally gave up and took the Yamanote line to Shinjuku, switched to Odakyu line, fell asleep on the platform, then woke up to catch a train back to Noborito. There is nothing worse than seeing the sunrise after too much partying. I got home at 6:30, about 9 and a half hours before I needed to leave for work.

Despite the trouble getting home, good times were had by all.

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  1. February 12, 2004 – The night I fell on the train tracks | Drinking in Japan
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