About an hour later we were wandering around a rainy shinjuku. I cannot describe how crazy this place is. There is no other place like this on earth. The busiest train station in the world, a mix of extreme Japanese cultural diversities. I've never felt so out of place for being so normal.
Both being big time processtinators, I set a 10 minute timer. Rather than search forever for the perfect venue we had to find somewhere before the timer was up. We stuck to this process for the rest of the evening and it served us well. With a lot of the popular ( touristy ) and suspicious ( girly bars ) at street level, we knew the hidden gems were hidden up in buildings with only Japanese signage and a single elivator for access.
We got brave and jumped in an elivator. It was very early so a lot of places hadn't opened but our first place was a restaurant in the 4th and 5tg floors of a building. It was fairly quiet but with 3 minutes left on the timer we just needed a seat and a beer!
We didn't get to meet any locals but we did get to play with this high tech ordeing system.
The whole menu is availabe on a touch screen monitor in the table. We choose our beer, size and hit order. 30 seconds later ice cold beers arrived.
The night had begun.
Next we ventured into an English style pub. It was a popular place but with happy our on and drinks being expensive in Tokyo it was a sensible decision.
3 quick ones later we stumbled into a maze of laneways and tiny bars.
Oh I almost forgot. On the way we passed these ones
Oh damn the photo doesn't do them justice bunch of frumpy blokes with makeup sparkles and mini skirts.
Anyway, back to the laneways...
The bars were all this size. Each holds about 6 people and in this area there are 300 little bars like this one mostly catering to regulars.
With 3 minutes on the timer we nervously wandered in and took a seat, hoping to be accepted as outsiders.
The young lady was very friendly and madebus del welcome. We enjoyed some shochu and joss chated back and forth in Japanese.
The night got interesting when these two squeezed into the bar. It turned out this wise old character owns a ramen joint - at Joss's university!!
He comes to this bar 3 times a week but I think he was already a little drunk when he arrived. What followed was a hilarious discussion on ramen and other things I cannot remember. In Japanese of course. I could only offer very basic discussion in Japanese but Joss filled in the blanks. This was the highlight of our night. Rather than siting in the corner observing the crowd and chatting amongst ourselves, for a little while we were PART of this happy little bar in the middle of shinjuku.
After many laughs and shochu's we wandered back into the night - time to find some food.
We struck gold ... And a litttle suprise.
Again we jumped into an elivator to explore the vertically concealed treasures this city has hidden away.
See part 3