How I ended up bar crawling with strangers in Tokyo

I was in my last few days of my trip to Japan. I had been to Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, hiked the Kumano Kodo trail, had my first true omakase experience in Tanabe and now I was in Tokyo, before heading back home to Gent. It was my first night in Tokyo and I had booked the Robot Restaurant, a super-tacky hyper-touristic animatronics spectacle in the center of the city. But that was only the start. This is the story how I ended up bar crawling with strangers in Tokyo.

Bar crawling with strangers? Strangers is not the best word. People I never met might be better. Because the moment I sat down next to her, we connected – we were the travelers’ tribe. She was from London, had been traveling Australia and larger parts of Asia and now had ended up in Tokyo.

We were seated next to each other because we both were solo visitors of the Robot Restaurant – in contrast with most of the other tourists around that were either in couples or larger -usually homogenous- groups. So we got into talking, shared travel stories, made jokes about the show and we eventually decided to have a drink after.

Tokyo bar with singer.
Tokyo bar with singer.

We ended up in the bar connected to Robot Restaurant, an even tackier, fake-golden, glittery bar where a Japanese singer was covering famous English hits. It felt like something from a bad dream: glitter everywhere, golden toilets and toilet seats … tackier than tacky.

We had great fun with it and were soon joined by one of her other acquaintances, an Australian lady she had just met the day before in her hostel. Now we were 3.

Tokyo bar
Tokyo bar

We decided to explore the area – one of Tokyo’s bar areas with small, cozy bars, sometimes hidden by non-distinct staircases.

It was not too long till we dumped into an English couple, two guys who had their first evening in town and didn’t know where to find the bars. That made us 5.

In one of the next bars, we bumped into another solo traveler. We were six now.

An unlikely group of 6, of people who had never met before and were now continuing the night together. A joint love for travel, for unexpected experiences and an open mind.

We talked relationships, travel, Japan, life abroad, kids, parents, weather … anything you can imagine. A few hours later, it was already dawn, we parted our ways.

Saying ‘yes’ is the gateway to adventure. With an open mind, you experience more. This was one of those nights – I actually had told my Airbnb host that I would be back early – well, that turned out differently.

And that is how I ended up bar crawling with strangers in Tokyo.

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