Saturday, June 17, 2006


A lot of cities seem to have a little corner that embodies a certain stereotype. This stereotype can be either a good caracature or a bad one, but it seems to consist of a large number of people looking for an experience that they read about in a guide book, or heard about in a movie, or just read about on some over-hyped website (like this one).

Often, this place is built based on tourists and locals who enjoy parting them with their money. Amsterdam, for example, has "The Red Light District" - one of the most famous drug and sex filled places on earth. Though it may be full of prostitutes, weed, banana shows and who knows what else, the portion of dutchmen who head there to get a "fix" (of whatever kind) is probably fairly small. I suspect that most opt for local banana providers.

Edinburgh has the Royal Mile, which is really only populated by mad amounts of transients during the annual theatre festival, but they certainly manage to jam all the insanity from 52 weeks into about 6 by spreading said insanity over multiple venues.

Now that I'm finished with my really gross generalizations that did little beyond steal away some of your life, we can get to the heart of what I am rambling about.

Tokyo has a certain area that embodies a certain stereotype about Japan. This is the part of town where the foreigners go to play... Business, fashion, music, drinking, more drinking and even more drinking. Hostess clubs (aka either "dry humping bars" or "straight up whorehouses") abound, and the place is a beacon for highly fashionable and highly questionable people.

The other thing, beyond morally bankrupt foreigners, are legions of Japanese folk who have opted for the "fascination" part of the "disgust/fascination/horror" that many of the locals reserve for the average Westerner. People who want to meet and party with foreigners come out in droves.

The crowd is young, hip, trendy and unconstrained by a social moral code founded in puritanism.

It's called "Roppongi". I like to call it "disastertown" or "hell".

Inevitably, the free flowing beer ends up costing an arm and a leg, and the "all you can drink" always has a hidden catch. You can dance all night, any night, at one of the countless typically named dance caves (eg "Yellow" or "Let's Improper Usage!").

Don't get me wrong - its a crazy party town, and I am certain that there are countless highly interesting and wonderful places to enjoy in Roppongi.... But, I haven't done my research. I just tagged along with whoever has foolishly planned the night.

While stories abound, I will share just one thing with you:

When you are in Japan, you can influence your dance surroundings far more strongly than in a Western club. All you have to do is act crazy, and dance crazy. Sure enough, with a few high fives and the odd smile, you can convince nice Japanese girls and boys to VOGUE to trance music.

More stories may or may not follow. For now, it's enough that I'm alive and writing after dragging my smashed but sober self through the door at 7:30 am.

It is, most certainly, bed time.

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