Tokyo nightlife

Every city has two faces, the daylight sunny straight up working metropolis face, and the other side, the nocturnal spirit of that city, the dark parts, the fun parts, the entertainment aspect of town and for the tourists the highlight of each day.

Tokyo is not a normal city. Never was, never will be. It has it’s own identity which has been forged in the fire of countless working drone salary men, it has the traditions of a thousand years of dubious adventures and myths and it has the weirdest vibe that I have ever witnessed in a city. And that is just the daytime Tokyo…

There is something unique about the atmosphere on the streets of Tokyo once the working crowds have been swallowed by the early evening train home, and every one who was left in the center of town prowls the streets, first for food and then for fun. Groups over groups of people moving from restaurant to bar, from food stalls on the street to the private clubs hidden on the high floors of the next building with just a sign on the elevator to show it is there.



This is one of the things you get used to in asia, where real estate is high and population is so condensed you step on each other, and it might seem strange to a westerner, but at a certain point you get used to living in a vertical entertainment universe, where six or seven different clubs and bars are on separate floors of what seems like a normal condominium.

And when you have limited space, where you bar just can not be seen from the street, this is where the neons and the lit signs come into play, each one more brilliant, more shinny, more dynamic in the light movement, and more alluring in the pictures they display. It is not a wall, but a colorful menu.

The dark side of Tokyo is darker than even my home town of Bangkok, and that is not easy. I think that this is the reason why they try to illuminate it so, thousands of neons in all colors and dazzling screens of glowing wonders, all just trying to hide the darkness underneath.


But if you don’t go too deep into the psychological problems of the Japanese and the weird forms of entertainment they seem to like, it is a pure joy to walk down the streets and just take all this visual mayhem in, to let the lights and the people engulf you and drive you with the masses towards something good to eat.

Food is a large part of every city’s nightlife, and Tokyo is not an exception, and it is a great experience wondering around just peeking into restaurants, taking a minute to eat some snack sitting on an upside down wood crate in the corner of an ally, watch businessmen order hundred dollars of sushi in a fancy marble eatery or dropping by into one of the oh-so-trendy cafes and bars to do some manwatching, and see how the locals spend their leisure time.

Tokyo by day is interesting. Not my kind of town for obvious reasons, but it is definitely interesting. But Tokyo by night? That is more than interesting, that is intriguing and at times even exciting. Much better that day Tokyo. When you make your travel plans, leave the nights open. You never know what you will find.



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