Happy drinker in a relaxed, rat frequented Tokyo bar

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Open for over 30 years, this small, cluttered little bar is a wonderfully relaxed place run by the mama-san until late evening, then her son till much later. An establishment so relaxed in fact that a good-sized rat that ran along a shelf behind my pal and I, caused only the briefest of distractions — a nod of recognition basically. Then, just as before, the drinking and conviviality continued on.

happy Japanese drinker

Astonishingly drunk and asleep in Tokyo

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Seeing astonishingly drunk and asleep men, women, and even men dressed as women on the streets of Tokyo isn’t exactly what one would call rare. But seeing someone fast asleep in a position like this, probably is.

drunk and asleep in Tokyo

An unconscious prayer perhaps for a hangover that isn’t of biblical proportions.

drunk and asleep in Tokyo

An old Tokyo bar and its even older owner

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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

Stares and beers in a Tokyo bar

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Some places are way more photogenic than others, and despite the limited space, the bar below is definitely one to go back to — hence its numerous appearances on these pages over the years. It has arguably the grubbiest lamp one could ever imagine. Character and customer-wise it sometimes seems like it’s stuck in the past. Plus inquisitive stares are often an additional part of the scene. The latter of which I got lucky with again in this latest photo.

Stares and beers in a small Tokyo bar