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Archive for the 'Nightlife' Category


Pachinko, Japan’s favorite pasttime


At first thought, Pachinko seem to be like the Japanese version of the pinball except that it’s not. It is actually a cross between a slot machine and a pinball machine. You amass these balls and then you win and if you’re lucky you get trays full of them. Pachinko is fun and so addictive it should be illegal because people are gambling money away for that euphoric feeling of WINNING.

I found an article which teaches even FOTB gaijins proper Pachinko etiquette, and was rather amused at the matter-of-factly tone of the write-up. It’s serious business when it comes to Pachinko, don’t let the colorful lights fool you.

Pachinko feature article at

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Etiquette, Japanese Culture, Misc, Nightlife, Social | 4 Comments »


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Events Calendar: Catching fireworks at play

During summers in Japan, a line of firework displays are scheduled weekly for the public eye in Tokyo. And usually these fireworks are a wrap up to festivals during the summer so here is a list of events to check out and mark on your calendar if you want to catch these work of art in the sky.

Yokohama 150th Anniversary Fireworks Festival
Sun July 20. Boom Factor: 6,000. 7:30-8:40pm. Nearest stn: Sakuragicho (JR Negishi line); Minato Mirai (Minato Mirai line). Tel: 0180-99-4045.

Katsuhika Noryo Fireworks Display
Tue July 22. Boom Factor: 10,000. 7:20-8:20pm. Nearest stn: Shibamata (Keisei Kanamachi line). Tel: 03-3838-5558

Sumida River Fireworks
Sat July 26. Boom Factor: 20,000. 7:10- 8:30pm. Nearest stn: Asakusa (Tobu Isesaki line, Ginza line, Asakusa line); Kuramae (Oedo line). Tel: 03-5608-6951.

Teganuma Fireworks Festival
Sat Aug 2. Boom Factor: 13,500. 7-8:30pm. Nearest stn: Abiko (JR Joban line); Kita- Kashiwa (JR Joban line). Tel: 04-7182-3131.

Sakura Shimin Fireworks Festival
Sat Aug 2. Boom Factor: 10,000. 7:20-9pm. Nearest stn: Usui (Keisei Main line). Tel: 043-4866-6000.

Ageo Fireworks Festival (Saitama)
Sat Aug 2. Boom Factor: 13,000. 7-9pm. Nearest stn: Ageo (Takasaki line). Tel: 048-775-5917.

Atsugi Ayu Fireworks Festival
Sat Aug 2. Boom factor: 10,000. 7-8:40pm. Nearest stn: Hon-Atsugi (Odakyu line). Tel: 046-295-5496.

Kanagawa Shimbun Fireworks Festival
Sat Aug 2. Boom Factor: 8,000. 7:15-7:30pm. Nearest stn: Sakuragicho (JR line, Yokohama Municipal Subway); Minato Mirai (Minato Mirai line). Tel: 045-227-0744.

Edogawa City Fireworks
Sat Aug 2. Boom Factor: 14,000. 7:15-8:30pm. Nearest stn: Shinozaki (Shinjuku line); Koiwa, Ichikawa (Sobu line); Keisei Edogawa, Konodai (Keisei Main line). Tel: 03-5662-0523.

Seiseki Tama River Fireworks
Tue Aug 5. Boom Factor: 4,600. 7:30-8:30pm. Nearest stn: Seiseki Sakuragaoka (Keio line). Tel: 080-6574-1404.

Enoshima Fireworks
Tue Aug 5. Boom factor: 5,000. 7:15- 8:15pm. Nearest stn: Katase Enoshima (Odakyu line); Enoshima ( Enoshima line); Shonan Enoshima (Shonan Monorail). Tel: 0466-24-4141.

Tateyama Bay Fireworks Festival
Fri Aug 8. Boom Factor: 10,000. 7:30-8:45pm. Nearest stn: Tateyama (JR line). Tel: 0470-22-8330.

Tokyo Bay Fireworks
Sun Aug 10. Boom factor: 12,000. 7-8:20pm. Nearest stn: Kachidoki; Hamamatsucho; Toyosu. Tel: 03-3248-1561.

Nikkan Sports 2007
Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival Thu Aug 7. Boom Factor: 10,000. 7:30-8:30pm. Nearest stn: Sendagaya; Shinanomachi (Chuo-Sobu line); Yoyogi (Chuo-Sobu, Yamanote lines); Gaienmae, Aoyama-Itchome; Omotesando (Ginza line). Tel: 03-3547-0900.

Chofu City Fireworks
Sat Aug 23. Boom Factor: about 12,000. 7:20-8:30pm. Nearest stn: Keio Tamagawa. Tel: 042-481-7311.

Hachioji Festival
Fri 1-Sun 3. Some 1,500 participants stomp around carrying a flotilla of four-ton portable shrines. Day three is the highlight, when the six floats start a running battles, or buttsuke (literally, “hitting”). Nearest stn: Hachioji (Chuo line). Tel: 042-648-1531.

Asagaya Tanabata Festival
Sat 6-Wed 10. The highlight of this Tanabata “Star Festival” is the elaborate kusudama decorations. Nearest stn: Asagaya. Minami-Asagaya Tel: 03-3312-6181.

Fukagawa Hachiman Festival
Wed 13-Sun 17. One of the three biggest Shrine festivals in Tokyo. Also known as the water-covering festival: water is splashed while the crowd carries 120 portable shrines calling out “Wasshoi!” Nearest stn: Monzen Nakamachi (Tozai line or Oedo line). Tel: 03-3642-1315.

Azabu-Juban Festival
Fri 22-Sun 24. Hundreds of food stalls, plus traditional dancing and music. Expect large crowds. Nearest stn: Azabu-Juban. Tel: 03-3578-2111.

Asakusa Samba Carnival
Sat 30. Interesting combination of traditional Brazilian dance in Tokyo’s most traditional town. 1:30pm. Nearest stn: Asakusa. Tel: 03-3847-0038.

Koenji Awa Odori
Sat 23-Sun 24. A huge traditional summer dance festival in this vibrant area of western Tokyo. 6-9pm. Nearest stn: Koenji (Chuo line).

Super Yosakoi Festival 2008
Sat 23-Sun 24. The Tokyo alternative to the southern island of Kochi’s traditional dance festival featuring about 80 amateur teams. 10am-6pm. Nearest stn: Harajuku; Meiji-Jingumae; Omotesando. Tel: 03-5766-1320.

Katsushika Noryo Fireworks Display
Kicking off Japan’s hanabi season, the Edo River lights up with about 10,000 fireworks. Head over early to beat the crowds. July 22 7:20-8:20pm, free. Shibamata Baseball Field. Nearest stn: Keisei Kanamachi Line, Shibamata.

The list is courtesy of Metropolis.

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Festivals, Japanese Culture, Misc, Nightlife, Social | No Comments »


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Spider in Roppongi Hill

This made it to picture of the week and I can understand why. Abstract art is really subjective and somehow it represents Japan in many ways. Or you can look at it as the artist wants a giant spider walking around town in the middle of December.


Posted by The Expedited Writer in Misc, Nightlife, Social | 1 Comment »


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3Yen’s Photo of the Week

It’s a picture i scoured online to represent what this week means and with Christmas so close by, nothing sums Japan up with a fantastic display of lights.
Picture courtesy of Shiniciro Ishihara, Fotos from Kyoto and Kobe.

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Misc, Nightlife, Social | No Comments »


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Japan After Dark

A montage of hotspots around Japan’s nightlife; Tokyo.

The city comes to life with it’s flickering neon lights and bustling streets.

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Misc, Nightlife | No Comments »


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ONE night only

Where can you go if you only have ONE night in Tokyo? Well, i found a website where it gives you a guide on the awesome night spots you can visit for one night to make your trip to Japan worthwhile and memorable. Who knows if you’ll score that night *sniggers*

Friday is the best night for going on, as are with every other country. Whoever stays in on Friday nights really? Anyway, here’s a rundown of places you should visit for that one night of fun! This is just for Tokyo only:

Japan’s Mogambo

Bar Ambrose. Located in the “Pyramid” building, it’s just another restaurant/bar but features a $4 drink special for happy hour. Not a bad choice for a date or afterwork drink. It’s not worth going to after 8pm.

Bar Milwaukee. An English-style pub in a basement that features darts, foosball and a pool table. And a lot of Gaien men. Be careful upon entering; the dart board is precariously close to the bottom of the stairs.

Bauhaus. A Japanese band plays American ’70s & ’80s cover tunes. Sometimes the lyrics are sung phonetically. A lot of fun, more so for those able to talk their way past the $20 cover charge. The “band” allows people to challenge in for spots and its members double as waiters and bartenders.

Charleston and Son’s
. An Italian restaurant with passable food that features an outdoor patio. Good place to start a night. The crowd is mixed of Gaien and natives

Hobgoblin. Another pub-style bar full of transplants from Great Britain. The house brew isn’t worth drinking. The highlight of PubClub’s visit there there was seeing a bachelor, celebrating is last night of freedom, hitting the floor at 11pm on a Thursday. He was wearing an S&M hood, pink lei and pink sequined g-string over his suit.

Magambo. This is an African-themed bar full of white people. And it’s pretty lively. Be wary of this bar on a pay-day (Friday). The bell above the bar’s purpose? To announce someone is buying shots for the whole place. (At $10/shot one has to be a very generous host but it happens more frequently than one would expect.) There’s also a “2 for 1″ weekly special. The walls and ceiling are dedicated to polaroids of people with their name and number. There’s a plaque on the wall dedicated to the “1,000 Shot Club.”


Posted by The Expedited Writer in Misc, Nightlife, Social | No Comments »


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Nightlife in Japan


Shibuya At Night

Japan’s main cities may look like the busiest, sterile-looking, all business and no nonsense during the day but at night, it transform into a different creature entirely. At night, the city comes alive with lanterns, neon lights and beautiful nightlines. The city never sleeps in Japan, some restaurants even stay open till 5am when the first train starts its rounds.

Take for example, Tokyo. It has a nightlife that never sleeps and there is practically a hotspot at every corner of the city. In the city that never sleeps of Japan, you can find anything you want – sex shows, karaokes, jazz, indie band shows, dance clubs, gay bars..just about ANYTHING! You might even find a place that will satisfy weird fetishes too…….

Anyway, action usually starts at 11pm. So don’t go around the bars at 8pm and end up looking like a loser there. Late is a cool statement in this case. And apparently, some clubs will not allow you entrance if you have tattoos….lol…you know, cos you could be part of the yakuzas. So if you have really bad ass tattoos…cover it up with a long sleeve shirt or makeup. :)

Read about reviews on nightlife in Japan HERE, HERE and HERE.

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Misc, Nightlife, Social | No Comments »


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It’s summer time in Japan right now. Freaking warm! Hot and humid and sticky. The cicadas go nuts, the rainy season dumps down on us, and in late July and August, the hanabi bloom.

Hanabi (hana 花: flower and bi 火: fire) means fireworks! It’s a summer institution in Japan. Everyone, men and women alike, dress up in yukata, which is a summer kimono and head out on hot summer nights to line the riverbanks or seashore. There, they watch literally thousands of fireworks explode in the night sky.

There’s no obvious story behind the fireworks, like there is in Hong Kong and China during Lunar New Year celebrations. The only announcements that you might get thanks to the corporate sponsors. Think of it as another hanami party.

That is, dress up, go out, get drunk, get crushed on the last train home. Rinse, repeat.

Photo from

Posted by Chidade in Festivals, Nightlife, Social | No Comments »


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The Kombini Life

Convenience stores, or kombini, are the epitomy of Japanese, errr…convenience. There are a few major ones: 7-Eleven, Lawsons, Circle K, am/pm, Family Mart and ….umm…that one that only seems to have heart and star symbols as a shop name. I’m sure it has a real name. Comment if you know!

There was recently a survey which said 24-hour kombini are actual a vital part of many people’s lifestyles. I tend to agree. The local grocery had real meat and vegetables and was open until midnight. But my 7-Eleven was there 24 hours a day if I needed water, or a cheese fix, or if I suddenly remembered at 2am that I hadn’t paid my internet bill.

Or, even, if I was bored and wanted to browse through the magazines.

The food is relatively healthy but you can easily find hot and greasy junk to satisy your cravings too. In winter, you can buy oden, which is basically assorted foods that have been wallowing in some sort of soup broth in the open til it’s at the point of disintegration. Many Japanese and gaijin swear by it as a warm pick-you-up, but personally I’ve been too terrified to eat it. Honestly! They’ve been sitting there for days!

Two good blogs to read up on strange kombini food are, which in the past had food reviews, and Konbini Life, which is a moblog dedicated to reviewing the strange foods found in a konbini. Or kombini. Or combini. Or conbini…whatever!

Image from

Posted by Chidade in Food, Misc, Nightlife, Utilities | 4 Comments »


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Manga Cafe

Manga cafes in Japan are a strange cross between entertainment and hospitality and a library and accomodation. They are mainly, as the name implies, a place to sit down and read from the shelves and shelves and shelves of manga. Sadly, the manga collections are almost always only Japanese. You pay for the amount of time that you spend there, which can be from 100 yen for 15 minutes.

You can sit an read in an “open” area (if the cafe has one) or inside partitioned booths. These booths are not the epitomy of privacy, they tend to reach shoulder height and are open at the top, so noise can still filter in. The booths usually contain a chair, table and a computer with internet access – which leads on to one of the other functions of a manga cafe: an internet cafe.

Many of the more upmarket cafes however, are more than just a place to read manga and check your email. The booths may also contain a television with a DVD player, Playstation and XBox, with a collection of DVDs and games to play. Many magazines are available to peruse. Some booths are decked out as an office, with a printer, phone and fax machine. There is usually a drinks counter and sometimes a full kitchen selling gourmet foods. One manga cafe I visited in Kyoto recently had a solarium and showers.

Manga cafes are another option in the ‘Where to stay when I’ve miss the last train home” list. Many cafes have a ‘night pack’ which can cost around the 2000 yen mark. Most Japanese people use them as a place to kill some time or a place to escape to when the outside world gets too much. Admittedly, some of them look like nightclubs and have a great atmosphere. Indeed, these days, manga cafes aren’t just the realm of otaku.

Manboo (in Japanese)
Media Cafe Popeye (in Japanese)

Posted by Chidade in Nightlife | No Comments »


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