Golden Gai notes: Pumpkins, heho and sumio.

9:17pm Leave Shinjuku hotel for Golden Gai (a nest of drinking dens).  I promise myself I`ll be back in bed by 11pm.

9:36pm Enter Bon`s Bar and sit between Pissed sarariman and Plastered sarariman who are arguing about which of them is metaboru (grossly overweight).

Bon`s Bar, where it all began.

9:53pm Pissed and Plastered leave to practice their baseball swing in nearby batting cages. 

9:58pm Barman tells me the earthquake did not affect business in Golden Gai as all the patrons are alcoholics. 

10:12pm Pissed and Plastered return. Pissed announces that Plastered has a great swing, but was just too drunk to time it with the oncoming balls.

10:50pm Pissed tells me about stinking fish dishes, Japanese kusaya and Scandinavian surstromming.

10:54pm Leave Bon`s Bar, extend returning to hotel deadline to 1am.

10:59pm Enter a pumpkin theme bar called Zucca  – Italian for pumpkin.

Pumpkin theme Zucca Bar in Golden Gai.

11:03pm Order a glass of Torikai, a 25% rice-based shochu (distilled alchohol).

11:17pm Female bar manager says a Cup Noodle in north Japan tastes different to the same one eaten in the south, the ingredients are discreetly changed to suit regional preferences.  You can spot the difference in flavour on the packet by an N (north), or an S (south).

11:18am I ask for paper so I can start taking notes. 

11:47pm Pretty girl sat next to me introduces herself, “In case you hadn`t noticed, I`m a man”.  Fooled me on first sight.  His name is Asahina.

12:37am Order Rokkudaime Yuri, a wheat shochu.  Rokkudaime means sixth generation, I don`t know the meaning of yuri.  Asahina kindly tells me it means lesbian.  Of course.

1:07am Asahina, resting hand on stool next to me, tells me about east Shinjuku nightlife.

Sumio hang out in sanchome (district 3), and heho hang out in nichome (district 2)”. He says.

“What are sumio?”, I ask.

“Sumio are men who like the company of men.”

“And heho?”

he is short for hentai (extreme pervert), and ho is short for homo (homosexual)”. I scribble furiously.  

1:18am Asahina and friend leave.

1:23am Order a glass of Tantakatan, a herb based shochu.

1:30am Drunk Canadian asks me for Tokyo sightseeing recommendations.  I suggest nichome.

1:45am Decide as I have been drinking slowly, I can extend deadline to 3am.

2:12am Order a glass of shochu, not interested in names anymore.

2:30am Same drunk Canadian asks me for Tokyo strip club recommendations.  I deny all knowledge.

3am Change hotel-returning pledge to anytime is ok, just no more alcohol.

3:17am File notes away, confident they are the best thing I have ever written.

Golden Gai Notes

3:23am Order glass of water.   

3:58am Retire to bed, proud to have stayed true to final pledge.

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