Tokyo has a wonderful habit of conjuring up surprises — even in the city’s largely characterless residential areas. Like this fantastically equipped classical music cafe. A completely unexpected oasis of eccentric calm in an otherwise nondescript little street.
Independent bars and eateries overseen by sprightly septuagenarians aren’t a rarity in Tokyo — quite the opposite in fact. There’s this one owned by a lovely lady for example, and this wonderful establishment run by a jovial ex-French chef.
However, while such places obviously differ in regards personnel, there are often certain similarities: they are tiny, cluttered and show a decidedly cavalier approach when it comes to cleanliness. Common elements very much in evidence in the drinking den pictured below.
In business for over 40 years, and run by its 70-year-old owner, the bar is definitely on the cosy side, with seating at the counter for only 7 or 8 people.
And, as previously mentioned, it follows a familiar pattern by not being exactly spick-and-span.
But, what it is above all else is friendly. Not to mention an awful lot of fun.
The varied owners of Tokyo’s mind-boggling array of rough and ready bars are generally an interesting bunch. They are invariably very friendly. Often really quite old too. But rarely are they rockabillies.
And presumably even rarer are rockabillies with a penchant for portable record players.
For a country obsessed with rules and regulations, Japan is oddly relaxed when it comes to hygiene standards — or at least it is in regards the capital’s countless, and wonderfully comfortable, little bars and eateries. Places where cooking areas often seem as old as the septuagenarians using them, and buckets even make do as a bathrooms. And yet even those elements could arguably be deemed as minor concerns when compared to this lamp. A device that is now almost more artefact than implement.