Thursday 10 April 2014

Tokyo's Golden Gai

23 hours into the ferry journey and I'm slightly bored so thought I'd write about one of our evenings in Tokyo at the Golden Gai. The Golden Gai is on the edge of Shinjuku, one of Tokyo's main nightlife areas - and home to the red light district. Tucked in behind the high rise buildings with their neon lights is a series of alley ways lined with ram shackled tiny wooden buildings, no more than two storeys high, each no wider than a caravan. These buildings are home to tiny bars and restaurants, most of which are exclusively for regulars and unwelcoming to foreigners: at one point we saw a Japanese guy knock on a door, give a password and the door momentarily open to let him in. 

But a few places do let foreigners in and we were in search of Albatross G (thanks for the recommendation Sara - it's still there). In the end we went to a ramen noodle place; you had to buy a ticket for your meal from a vending machine then queue outside down a dark alley, getting funny looks from people walking by (most of whom ending up joining us in the queue, probably because they assume if there's a queue it must be for something good). When there were spaces available the waiter ushered is up the stairs into the tiniest restaurant I've ever seen. There was "room" for about 8 people at once on stools crammed between the bar and back wall, with the kitchen on the other side of the bar. I'm not sure how Julian managed to fit... He looked a bit like Gandalf in Bilbo Baggins' house.

I'd like to say they were the best noodles I've ever had; all I'll say is they were the fishiest noodles I've ever had. But it was an experience to remember.

No comments: