It can’t really be a good thing to live day to day with such an incredible amount of self restraint from the pressures of society, that as soon as you get a bit tipsy you instantly get an irresistible urge to rip your salaryman costume off like the Hulk, call your boss a cuntface before passing out half-naked in a doorway covered in your own fried chicken and shochu flavoured puke, while hoards of students jump for joy as their video selfies posing next to your pathetic desperation, instantly making the popular page on Instagram. Sometimes it can be an interesting observation though.
Japan can seem like quite a contradictory culture to foreigners, and although I’ve been here for over 5 years now I can still get surprised. For a place with so many rules and extreme obedience, people seem to get pretty wild at night.
The naked thing for example… I know its more normal for Japanese people to be naked in the same place because of the culture of bathing together (Europeans pretty much only ever get naked for one good reason), and we all know that certain skaters like to get their kit off and show their cocktail sausage to the whole wide world after a few beers, but it still catches me off guard sometimes.
This story starts on a random night in Shibuya, around 1 or 2am, when I was showing a foreign friend around town. We picked a random bar on a 3rd floor and walked straight in before realising that everyone in the place was completely naked and blind drunk. Everyone. Differentiating between staff and customer was pretty difficult, but I was pretty parched and felt the need to get a few cold beers in to enjoy while soaking in the authentic Tokyo nightlife atmosphere, so I woke up one of the cross-eyed and bare-skinned bar dwellers and asked for 2.
He seemed to struggle to use the beer tap, but miraculously served me one plastic cup with 20% beer and 80% foam with a big fat smile and one sweet word – “SERVICE”. I wouldn’t have minded actually paying if it meant we could get a proper beer each, but maybe I didn’t look so impressed, so he handed me a bottle of whisky as well and told me to help myself, while making me the most disgusting cocktail I’ve ever tasted, made from about 10 different types of liquor and no mixer.
The scene was visually revolting, the drinks were unnecessarily foul, and the music was ear-splittingly loud, but as I sat there watching a bunch of naked lunatics dance to reggae music and randomly take naps on stools before having to wake up a few hours later to put on suits and go to work in accounting firms, I reflected on the fact that I’m glad to live in a city where such insane behaviour is pretty standard. One day I’ll be living far away in a small country town where nothing ever happens but my mind will be so full of surreal memories. Thank you Japan!