Finding Nemo

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tokyo Nights, part V

Tokyo clubbin'
After watching my St Patty's day mates stumble drunkenly off into a taxi, I knew it was time to hit the club.  My American tour-guide in Akihabara had recommended Gas Panic.  I walked in hoping for the best.  After a look around, I instantly dropped my expectations for the worst.  The guide book and the American Tokyo veteran both said something to the effect that Gas Panic was a great place where Japanese girls come looking for gaijin guys.  But it was clear neither was out tonight.  I knew where all the gaijin where... fleeing Japan like rats from a sinking ship.  And after a few inquiries, I figured out where the Japanese girls were.  They were all home eating ramen noodles.  Their families were laying down the earthquake kibosh.  So instead, I surveyed the scene of 50 or so Japanese male youth, smoking cigarettes, looking as Tokyo-cool as possible, leaning against the bar.  I finally spotted a gaijin floating around, he came up and was happy to see me.

"Dude!!!  Where you from?"


"Dude, can you believe this place?  Sausage fest.  You wanna party with some girls?  Let's hop a cab to Shinjuku."

I looked around, and after a second nodded.  He probably knew of a cool spot.  We hopped a cab.  During the day, taking a cab is a disaster.  There is so much traffic and so many lights and the cabs are so expensive, you are dropping US$50 before you get 10 blocks.  The subway is really the only way to go.  But at 2am, the trains are done and I couldn't believe it as we sailed to Shinjuku for only 2000 yen (US$24).  We walked down into the main district, and in a few moments we had about 3 or 4 Japanese and Nigerian hustlers giving us advice on where to go.  My new tour guide picked a nice looking Japanese guy who didn't look Yakuza, and next thing we know we were at a "bar".  My fuzzy idea of just hitting a good club quickly vanished.  In front of us were 5 women lined up for our inspection.  There were 4 guys scattered around in suits, lurking in the corners.  This was beyond bad.  As I tried to formulate something like "Sorry, we were just leaving," my new BFF from Roppongi spoke up.

"Dude, pick one.  Let's sit down and have some fun."

Tsunami alarms sounded in my head.  "Dunno man.  I'm pretty tired."

I had to think of an exit.  We sat down for a minute.  My Gas Panic friend started asking specifics about the "arrangement" he wanted.  He asked too many questions, and after 5 minutes one of the girls got upset.  She yelled "You take too long!  You pay now!"  I glanced around the room.  There were the 5 girls, but in the shadows wearing suits were another 10 guys.  I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed them before, they were like stealth ninjas.  My stomach gave me a funny feeling.  Before I even realized what I was doing, I was walking out the door.  I looked over my shoulder, and realized my guide was surrounded by a mob of girls and the guys in suits were holding him down and poking him in the chest.  Tough luck kid.  I hoped he was alright, but at that point it was a powder day at Mammoth, every man for himself.

I never heard from him again.  It is Japan though, not Bangkok or Moscow.  I'm sure he's fine, wallet a little lighter, and has a funny story.  And I made a mental note... when asking for good clubs at 2am, stick with the bartenders.

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