Fairly inexpensive drinking spots are plentiful in Tokyo, but this area under the train tracks is probably about as cheap and cheerful as it’s possible to get.
With the fairly recent addition of a fancy new hotel and cinema complex, Tokyo’s wonderful grubby Kabukicho red light district has started to see distinct signs of gentrification. So families now mill around on a day out, and tour groups regularly move through en masse, frantically firing off smartphone and tablet photos like their lives depended on it.
But for the time being at least, it still maintains a good amount of rough and ready charm. Drunks, for example, can still be seen passed out on the street. Both male and female. Or even males pretending to be females. Plus the area’s various alleyways remain incredibly dingy, with some of its eateries not all that dissimilar. And as such, weekend afternoons in particular are still as gritty and marvellously impromptu as ever.
With work clearly no longer one of his worries, a few quiet beers to wile away a warm afternoon didn’t seem like the worst idea in the world.
Admittedly most of this restaurant’s cooking is done indoors. Where, I’m happy to say, it seems somewhat cleaner. But still, if health and safety had a peek at where some of the prep is done, they’d presumably be appalled to put it mildly.
In many of Tokyo’s little bars, clutter is seemingly very much the order of the day, along with signs all over the walls allowing you to know what to order on any given day. But such a mishmash of stuff does give each place character. And fortunately this establishment, like so many others, also has its characters.
Old people. An old bar. And quite possibly an age-old argument.