20. Beer Club Popeye, Tokyo, Japan

7 04 2013
Electric Town Tokyo

Electric Town

Beer Club Popeye

The boys at Beer Club Popeye.

Beer Club Popeye

Sampler at Beer Club Popeye.

Sumo!

Caption not necessary. Sumo!

Beer

When we saw this vending machine Todd said “I think Tokyo and I are going to get along just fine.”

Golden Gai

Tiny bar in Golden Gai. You’re looking at pretty much all of it.

Golden Gai

Golden Gai. Bars and bars and bars and bars.

This post is about Beer Club Popeye, but it’s also going to be a Tokyo photo dump. I love Tokyo. I had always heard that visiting Japan is as close to visiting a different planet as you can get, so I had pretty high hopes. Tokyo was not what I expected, but it did not disappoint. First off, we visited Electric Town,which is a zoo of multi story video game halls, cell phone stores, bizarre porn shops, and all things electric. It’s a sensory overload that feels a little like being inside a video game, or maybe a pin ball machine.
Everything in Japan is different. The language doesn’t sound like anything familiar, the food is so strange and different that you can’t figure out the menu like you can in other countries. We went to a sumo match and couldn’t figure out what was going on but loved it. We bought beer out of vending machines and walked around the city self consciously drinking it. We bought strange food we couldn’t identify by the package and then couldn’t identify when we were eating it. Tokyo convenience store. No idea what these items are.My favorite thing we did during our short stay in Tokyo was visit a place called Shinjuku Golden Gai, which is a tiny section of Tokyo, maybe six blocks, which has over 200 small bars. A lot of them are private, most have only a few seats. We visited two (we tried to get into more, but a lot of times were shooed out because we weren’t local). The first was on the second floor, and we ordered and paid for beer and food from a vending machine before being packed into a corner to wait for our stuff. The guys running the place were cool, and the food was typical – bizarre but delicious. Golden Gai We got some noodles with some meat, maybe ham (?), an egg, some strips of seaweed, tofu, and a strange blackish pasty stuff. The second place we went to was amazing. Cool decor, lots of taxidermy (not sure why taxidermy always makes a bar so much cooler but I’ve found this to be true) chandeliers, and a really cool bartender. We literally spent every single Japanese dollar we had trying different Japanese cocktails and being hyped on the atmosphere. If you go to Japan make some time to get to Golden Gai, and don’t be a wimp about opening doors, the worst is that you’ll get a look at a cool bar and they’ll throw you out. OK, Beer Club Popeye. During the day they cater to the businessman lunch crowd. You order your lunch from a vending machine outside, with plastic plate samples for you to pick by. We showed up figuring we’d have lunch, beer, and cross it off the list, but for some reason they were not serving beer at lunch time. We ate anyway, were confused, as we ofter were in Tokyo, and left. We went back at night and found the place pretty packed with the beer drinking crowd. We enjoyed ourselves a lot. Good beers, fun, strange, Japanese atmosphere. We spent the whole time we were in Japan jet lagged, which made it feel a little Lost in Translation, a little like a Radiohead video. I loved it and hope to return sometime. Cheers!IMG_0661

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