Saturday, October 10, 2009

My First Japanese Club

Last night I went to a nightclub in Roppongi (六本木) with Rob and another friend from Leeds called Matt. It was a very interesting experience, as it's only in the last year or so I've been to British clubs and bars (age being the issue, in Britain you have to be 18, and in Japan 20).

We went to the British pub we went to a couple of weeks ago in Kichijoji with Katy first, and then we headed off to Roppongi, and she went home as she had a lot of work to do the next day.

We took the Chuo line (中央線) to Shinjuku, where we changed to the Yamanote loop line (山手線), and changed to the Hibiya subway line (地下鉄日比谷線) at Ebisu. It was about 11.30pm and it was the last train (終電, shuuden) from Ebisu to Hiroo, which is only one stop, so we had to walk the last twenty minutes or so to Roppongi. As with any night out in Tokyo, once the last train has finished, you're stranded until the first train (初電, shoden) starts in the morning, which is usually about 4.30 or 5am. So there was no turning back for us! We didn't want to spend £70 on a taxi home!

In Ebisu station we met a couple of loud Australians, who were nice, but in Japan on a kind of party trip, and weren't really our sort of people. So we escaped being roped into going to a club with them by declining their offer of sharing a taxi.

We were looking for a particular club called 3.2.8 (さんにいっぱ) because Rob had been there with the friend he came to Japan with last year. He said it was really foreigner friendly, and it was easy to meet people and practise Japanese.

We rounded the corner onto Roppongi-doori and there it was! We'd passed it briefly on the Midnight Walk we did through Tokyo last weekend, but it was quite far out from the main area of Roppongi, where most foreigners go. It has to be said that Roppongi is not usually the place I would choose to go, due to the type of people it attracts, but I knew that the club didn't look like the kind of place they would go.

It was around midnight by the time we arrived, and I was already a little bit tired, but I knew I'd wake up once we were inside. We paid the Y2,500 (£16) to get in, which included two drinks, which were around Y800 (£5) each. It was expensive but we weren't going to find anywhere cheaper!

We got drinks and then sat down and watched the people. It was quite a bohemian atmosphere, and the people seemed like nice, relaxed types. The sound system was good, and there was a mix of 90s British rock, modern English dance, and Japanese music too, some of the songs I hadn't heard for years and years! But, in the middle of the evening, the music switched to quite low key reggae covers of pop songs from the 90s, which wasn't at all where it should have gone, it was the peak!

The highlight was definitely when the Japanese version of YMCA came on. Everyone was there doing the dance, and singing along with the Japanese lyrics. All I understood was "若い子" (Young man!)

I thought it was such a difference from British clubs to see the DJ smoking! (But he wasn't meant to see me taking this photo...)

The people there were mainly Japanese, and we were brought into a circle of frantically jumping Japanese guys early on, but they left at about 2am. Later on, quite a large group of Westerners came in and took photos of nearly every corner of the club before having a drink. There were also quite a few business men and women there too, some dancing, some just drinking. The average age was about 30 I think. We were definitely the youngest people there!

By 3.30 we were all quite tired, so we stopped dancing and sat at the bar chatting for a while. Just before 4 we decided to go to a family restaurant I'd seen as we walked from the station, Jonathans, and have a bite to eat. We were all falling asleep, but we got one of the first trains at around 5.30am and retraced our steps home.

The first trains are so strange! They're eeriely quite, and everyone on there is falling asleep, either because they'd been out all night, or have to be up early for something. Not what Tokyo trains should be like!

Needless to say, I slept very well when we got back to the guesthouse!

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