Drunk and asleep Japanese girl

Tokyo’s Kabukicho red light district offers more than most men could ever want, or even know they want. But, as well as paid for services, the area is also a boozers’ paradise, with bars and the like open till all hours — or perhaps more accurately, all hours.

A wonderfully liberal state of affairs that makes weekend mornings and early afternoons there a fascinating mix of shoppers, very visibly drunk revellers, plus equally inebriated hostesses and other entertainment district workers. Some of them so worse for wear that they simply can’t make it home, and instead sleep off at least some of their excesses whenever, or wherever, their legs finally give up the fight. A situation that clearly befell the young woman below.

Photographed slumped outside a host club — with the faces of said gentlemen staring out from behind her — the night had undoubtedly begun brightly, but ended with the only brightness being the mid-afternoon sun trying desperately to break through the clouds.

Drunk and asleep Japanese girl

*It goes without saying that the content of this photo is of a rather debatable nature. Something that needless to say made me think for a long time about whether to post it or not. Eventually, however, the lack of a visible face, or indeed anything more untoward, made me decide to use it, along with the fact that I’ve posted photos of men in similar, but far more exposed predicaments, in the past. Not to mention of course my/this site’s ongoing project of documenting Tokyo’s good, bad and sometimes seedy side.

Tough Tokyo alley life

The hugely expensive transformation of Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics will soon be well underway. And in the meantime, the much-touted Abenomics continues to stumble along, offering much in the way of promises, if little in perceivable gains. But for many people in the capital, times continue to be tough — really tough.

Tough alley life for Tokyo homeless

Wind-swept Japanese woman

So many times when turning a corner, a person with a bit of character has just passed by, or at the very least passed out of shot — a seemingly unwritten law of the street that is frustrating to say the least. But, on the odd occasion when the opposite is true, and one simply has to be quick enough to fire off a shot, it’s fantastic.

wind-swept and tanned Japanese woman

An old Tokyo bar and its even older owner

Opening the door and stepping inside an old, unknown Tokyo bar is always done with at least a touch of trepidation. Will it be good? What will it look like? And perhaps most worrying of all, will we be even welcome?

Thankfully this place ticked all the boxes and then some. A wonderfully dated establishment with bags of character and an owner so friendly it immediately felt like we’d been going there for years.

old Tokyo bar

Although nowhere near as many years as it’s been open, which is a very impressive 50 and counting. Even more impressive, however, is that the jovial fella in charge is the establishment’s one sole proprietor. A man now into his 71st year, but in possession of such energy and enthusiasm that it’s still possible to picture the young buck who started the business all those years ago.

old Tokyo bar