Before returning to Kyoto from Tokyo, I met up with my friends Makoto, Taka, and Yosuke, whom I hadn’t seen in six years since studying with them in Eugene. After dinner I explored Nonbei Yokocho and Shonben Yokocho, two former post war ramshackle outdoor market turned alley bar and restaurant mini districts. Shomben Yokocho, or Pisser’s Lane was a working class drinking area during and after the war, now attempting to re-brand into Memory Lane. After meeting my friend Yosuke again, we took a trip through the final notorious alley spaces of Tokyo with Nonbei Yokocho, or drunkard’s alley, which was formerly an outdoor market very near Shibuya’s famous intersection.. This place is a small two lane strip full of two and three story alley bar and restaurants similar to Shinjuku’s Golden Gai, yet more refined, and perhaps less notorious. We had a great night full of interesting conversations (of which I understood about a third of), drink, and food.
Tokyo is an incredible place and indescribable in image or word. It literally is a mega city- or a mega collection of towns shoved together, shaken up, and interlaced with rail lines. It is a fantastic mess.