Saturday, 27 September 2008

Gimme 180 yen beer!

At late notice I got an email for a night out in Shimo Kitazawa the night before.

What I noticed mostly in the email was "180 yen" and "beer". With those magic words, it was a good turnout of twelve people. Mostly fellow teachers and their friends.

I finished my shift at 5pm and went home for a rest. Compared to Higashi Rinkan last week, this place is not so far away.

I caught the connecting Keio Inokashira express line from Shibuya. It's the first time I've been inside this part of the Keio line building. I saw a few shops for the first time. It's good to discover something new again.

For a saturday night, everyone was packed like sardines to go home. Luckily I only had to get off at the next stop.

My first impression of this place was that it was really quiet. It was only 8:30pm and all the shops in the small, main street were already closing.

Once we all met up, we made our way to an izakaya for a LOT of 180 yen beer. I'd give the location if I knew exactly where it was. I was just blindly following the others that knew the way. It might be a good thing though. For such low priced alcohol, places like this should be kept a secret.

The beer was served with quite a bit of beer head foam but for 180 yen I guess you can't complain too much.

We were seated on the roof terrace which has a nice atmosphere. I didn't know most of the other teachers there, so at first it was a little awkward getting to know everyone. But after quite a few drinks that really wasn't a problem.

Later on we had some Austrian hippies join us at our table with their guitar. They mostly played older rock songs which didn't draw my attention much.

When it got late, they told us to move downstairs to keep on drinking. It was still pretty good. By then I was doing my best to keep up with everyone else's drinking, getting harder and harder to get to the bathroom. The done thing in Japan is to split the bill evenly, so I had to make sure I got my fill.

Some Japanese people were having a birthday party next to us and at some point got to know us a little better. They gave me a birthday cake pin-on which I ended up bringing home.

The high point of the night was getting the chance to play and sing "Gimme Head" loudly to everyone in the restaurant. A classic moment. It's great when the Japanese don't understand English sometimes.

I gave them 3,000 yen for my share of the night's drinking. That would mean I would've drunk at least 15 beers. Somehow I didn't think I drunk that many. But then again, I lost count after three. Feeling my hangover well into the next evening reminds me that I probably did drink so many.

By the time we left the izakaya, someone inevitably mentioned karaoke.

I really didn't feel like doing it and wasting any more money, so myself and a few of the others passed on it. Instead we hung outside a bar nearby patting a big black dog, and chatting to a few of the locals wandering by until the sun came up.

We caught the first train in the morning. I was on autopilot getting back to the apartment. I slept for a long time.

I don't think this will be the last time in Shimokitazawa. No siree.