Out the station, up the hill, I walked, just to reach this Japanese style bar, in Kamiooka, that has become one of my favourites in a short time. A truly Japanese bar in serving and spirit, going there makes me understand ever so clearly, why is Japanese Bar so different than, the Western Styled Bars, found in Japan.
Photo: Taichiro Ueki on Flickr
The high starts, way before I get drunk. As soon as I reach the door, all the customers and not only the bartender make some noise, just to let you know that you have been welcomed into their gatherings. I think the ambience these bars hold, and not only the drinks, is the most important part of the Japanese Bar Experience. The moment you have been welcomed there, you become a larger part of their ever growing family. A member of their clan, who gets drunk, sings, dances, misbehaves, recklessly, so that you can shed all the fatigue you had gathered through the day and reach your home, energized.
Then, of course, there are the drinks that keep on pouring, because you bought it. Or, because someone else at the bar bought for one reason or the other.
Photo: 呉 松本 on Flickr
Just this other night, I went to the bar, I asked for a glass of Sake, dry and not the sweet one. The bartender aka the owner, poured me this amazing glass of Nihon-Shu and gave me a detailed explanation on the types of rice, yeast and techniques that goes in making the different types of Nihon-Shu, which are found in a great deal of varieties.
Photo: Dom Pates on Flickr
As we were talking, this gentleman came up and offered all of us, a round of shots, because the bar had just completed its 7th anniversary. Shot, it was! On my second Sake, down with my first shot. Whatever Japanese I knew of, I started exploiting to the maximum. And my drinking partners as well, exploited whatever English they knew, to the fullest. So, now, the bar was amidst a mix of broken Japanese and broken English conversation, that ranged from everything. The country I came from, the food that we like, the kinds of different drinks that goes with the different types of food. The day we had managed to finish, the types of girls or boys, that we liked. Yes, everything.
And a little more, drunk, we came to know, this gentleman, with ever reigning smile, had his birthday just around the corner. A anniversary just completed, and a birthday in the horizon, what more reasons, would we need? On the house, another round of shots! As the night ripened, we got more drunk, we talked more, and we enjoyed more.
Photo: 呉 松本 on Flickr
My tour to this or some more Japanese Styled Bar has taught me that, if you think, you can’t handle unknowing rounds of drinks that will most definitely come your way, Japanese Bar is not the place for you. If you are looking for a moment of silence, consumed with your drink in hand, Japanese Bar is not a place for you. If you are thinking that the limitations of your Japanese language, and color of your skin will come in your way, to mingle around, and refrain yourself from going into one, Japanese Bar, is definitely not the place for you.
But if you are well prepared for whatever adventure that would come your way, in terms of drinking, in terms of mingling, and in terms of experiencing the local culture, Japanese Bar is indeed the ultimate experience. If you always believe in living on the edge, with ever-welcoming attitude for whatever comes your way, just get up right now. Find a nearest Japanese bar, and let yourself submerge, into a different culture, a different experience, and be ready to come out from the bar, a different person, than the one who entered before.