Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Golden Boy (part deux)

Just at the time Matt arrived, Yumi and I started to realize the guy who said he was "waiting for his girlfriend"- did not in fact HAVE one. Yet. He was winking at us hopefully.

We were rescued by the Polygon pictures folks who had been waiting across the street. After everyone trying to lead the party in different directions at once, we finally ended up going to a bar in shinjuku that managed to be noisy and expensive at the same time. Food was good though. But we wanted to GET DRUNK!

You see, Japan is a drinking society. My husband goes drinking with his coworkers sometimes up to three times a week. Even I'm invited out to drinking parties at least once a week. But the sad fact is most people here (that I have had the pleasure of drinking with) stop after one beer.
Only one beer?! Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating.
Sometimes it's two!

So we foreigners wanted to enjoy the chance to drink substantially more than usual without being gawked at. And this expensive restaurant wasn't going to cut it.
At Matt's reccommendation we wandered into the north side of town, home to love hotels and a large park occupied by several dozen homeless people. Not really the nicer side of shinjuku.
"This used to be the hangout of yakuza and chinese gangs during their height of power in the seventies to early eighties!"
Matt said, hoping to lighten the mood with a little trivia.
"In fact, there are still some hardcore members that come here for drinks every now and then. Keep a close eye out, guys!" He announced with the cheery voice of a tour guide.
Yumi and I responded with a whimper.

We ducked down an alley facing the park, and we were suddenly in a maze-like neighborhood of tiny pubs and "snacks", or hostess clubs. Each side of the alley (hardly wide enough for two people to pass side by side) had dozens of doors within several feet of each other, creating a rather hotel-like atmosphere.
I could only imagine the difficulty police would have finding a fugitive in this place. There must be hundreds of places to hide, all with back doors facing a different alley. On the plus side though, if they couldn't find their guy, I had a feeling they could probably by sheer chance run into some other wanted felon.
After peering into some windows of a lot of empty and sad looking bars clearly past their peak, or very full looking bars of people we wouldn't want to meet in broad daylight, let alone a dark alley such as the one we were on, Matt stopped suddenly in front of a little place with a light wood paneled exterior and track lighting.

"This is the place! The Golden Boy Pub!"
After looking left and right down the alley to try to memorize the way out of the maze back to the station, we nervously entered the bar.
A small elderly gentleman put down his newspaper and turned off the large television that took up an entire wall, and stepped behind the bar.
The tired adventurers that we were were pleasantly surprised by the cozy atmoshere of the 12x6 foot tan-wood paneled room that was the Golden Boy. Graffiti was everywhere, and seemed to be encouraged.

It was tiny. It was old. The five of us found it was perfect for our small party. And just like you would expect from a true gangster hideout, it didn't have girly drinks. no mixers, no wine coolers, or anything of the sort. After my beer, I tried to negotiate with the bartender for something other than whiskey. He did have some nonalchoholic drinks, which gave me an idea.

"Do you have coke?" I asked.
Of course he had coke. Everywhere in the world has coke. I think it's one of the true signs of america's "superpower".
...I eyed the beautiful bottles of strong distilled liquor. Some of them had customer's names on them.
"Do you have rum?" He nodded. "Could you make me a rum and coke?"
.. "Rum and coke? You just mix them together, right?" He said, willing to give this new exotic combination a try. He made me the strongest rum and coke I've ever had. It was deee-lish.

I don't exactly remember all of that evening, but I have a vague memory of doodling on the wall. I even have a picture of it.
(my proof)

I've tried to get Takeshi to go back with me on my quest to find the elusive Golden Boy once more, but he refused. "Only five people fit, right? I think you need to make a reservation."
I explained that it really wasn't the reservation kind of place, since I doubt most of the customers wanted any record of their whereabouts.
Finally he confessed... "I...just don't wan't to go." "But the drinks are good and the old man is really nice!"
"..I'm afraid I'll run into someone I recognize from a wanted poster, and they'll remember me".

Well, that's one good thing about being a foreigner in this town. We wouldn't recognize any such people.
Someday, if one of you guys come to visit, we'll try to make a run to the elusive Golden Boy pub. If you're lucky, you'll see someone from the news.
If you're unlucky, you might BE on the news.

But either way, it'll be an adventure!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds fantastic! Please take me there next time I come to Tokyo! In return, I'll show you (if you don't already know it) a really really cool bar down a tiny alleyway in Shinjuku - if you go up to the 2nd floor they pass you your drinks up through a hole in the floor.


7:34 AM  
Blogger Kyra said...

Please do! ^^
when's your next visit?

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully I should be passing through some time in August! Will keep you posted.


7:54 AM  

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