2020 #Wanderlust – Remembering An Electrified Tokyo Night!
I should have been in Paris three weeks ago.
I was scheduled to head to Greece next week.
Like all of you, the worldwide pandemic has brought travel to a virtual standstill.
Even with restrictions slowly lifting, most countries are slow to encourage travel – especially places like Tokyo, where things can get crowded:
Shibuya is the world’s busiest intersection, and I don’t know how “social distancing” is possible.
So, as I stay at home living a #Quarantinelife, I can also share a bit of #Wanderlust with you – the story of my trip to Tokyo in 2016 with my wife and son, and our wild last night, thanks to this:
Golden Gai’s Musical Maestro!
Meet Yuko Yamazaki! He’s a great singer/songwriter from Japan… this great musician lives in Tokyo, and also happens to work at one of Golden Gai’s best mini-bars!
Welcome To Tokyo’s Unique Golden Gai!
Golden Gai is a great night life area in Tokyo’s Kabuki-Cho district – this unique spot houses 275 bars in a three block radius!
That’s right, each bar is so small it only holds 6-10 people! Here is an aerial view at night, which I found online:
Here is what it looks like after dark – note that each bar has a narrow stairway next to it that leads to another tiny bar on the second floor…it’s a great place to explore:
Golden Gai is a great Tokyo nightspot – staying open well into the night for tourists and locals alike. Some bars are less friendly to foreigners, but for the most part, signs make it clear that you are welcome to come in for a beer, whiskey or sake…which of course we did…
I have been to this bar district four times previously to this Tokyo trip, filming some great stories. Here’s the adventure we filmed with Host Alex Sim-Wise for G4 – the night she and her friend Rachel jumped behind the counter at Golden Gai’s anime bar to pour some drinks for customers:
As you can see, the night lights of Kabuki-cho were ready for us:
Golden Gai is just a few blocks from the famed nightlife district known as Kabuki-cho, and we met there for our last night to Tokyo fun! Kabuki-Chi is full of nightclubs, bars, restaurants and crazy people…
Introducing Yuko Yamasaki!
My son Jeff found a great bar that had an eclectic mix of music, and since it only sat six people, the four of us almost filled it – and I got to meet the great Tokyo musician Yuko Yamasaki!
Yuko worked in the bar, serving drinks, playing music, and greeting us warmly – even though he spoke no english! He and Jeff bonded over their mutual love of music!
We got some drinks while Yuko put some classic Creedence Clearwater Revival on the CD player, and then surprised us by disappearing behind a short wall for a minute –
Yuko’s “Surprise” Potatoes And Bacon!
That’s right, in a small corner of the bar, Yuko whipped up a small plate of food for Alex!
After having a few beers, a bit of Japanese whiskey and lots of conversation, Yuko grabbed his guitar…
It turns out Jeff had been to this bar alone a few nights earlier and befriended Yuko, discovering that he was an incredible musician – and once he had his guitar tuned, he played us an original song:
It was such a great night, and we ended up staying at Yuko’s bar for more than two hours!
Getting’ Your Tonkatsu On!
To end the night, we all poured into Coco Curry, a Tokyo institution, where they serve pork “tonkatsu”, a deep fried breaded pork cutlet served over rice and smothered in curry sauce…
It was an amazing musical adventure, and a delicious end to a great Tokyo adventure…of course, the entire trip was full of amazing food adventures like this terrific “eel” bowl…
Alex and I ate here on our first night….the restaurant was on the top of a huge department store, the entire floor filled with restaurants – and we found ourselves doing this:
You can find out what an “eel waiting room” is by clicking on my story here:
We also enjoyed “sushi for breakfast”, a unique experience that I do at the world famous Tokyo Fish Market Tsukiji!
Here is my look at Tokyo’s legendary fish market, which was re-located to make way for the now-delayed Olympics…some cool behind-the-scenes video is here:
I also took the time to eat a burger in Tokyo – I mean, who am I, right?
I also bought myself a triple decker burger – plasticized! Check out this shop that specializes in all kinds of “plastic food” by clicking on that story here:
I hope this bit of #Wanderlust holds you over until you can travel again!
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