Clubbing in Japan was most definitely a new experience for me. As an American, I’m used to a certain sort of “routine” when it comes to going out, so clubbing in Japan was pretty wacky. I only went out twice during my ten week stay there, but I had my reasons for not trying to go out more. Clubbing in Japan might not seem so weird to a non-American, but for me at least, it was quite the experience.
First of all, we weren’t supposed to stay out all night with any of our language partners because apparently the program directors thought that was a no-no. If we did stay out all night, we had to fill out overnight forms saying where we were going to be and what we were doing. One of the cooler language partners encouraged us to make up a story about where we were going, and then just go clubbing with her and her friends the whole night instead.
So, me and my good friend Hunter, being the responsible young gentlemen that we are, filled out an overnight form saying that we’d be overnight at a manga cafe or some nonsense like that. Then, around midnight, Hunter and I left the dorm and took a train to meet up with our Japanese friend and her group of friends before heading out to the clubs.
Staying Up All Night
In America at least, people would normally go out between like 10 and 12, then stay out until they got tired or until the bars and clubs close at like 2:30am. In Japan, though – people go out at like midnight, get to the club at like 1am and then stay out all night until morning when the trains start running again at like 5am or so. It was crazy. Coming out of a dark club woozy with alcohol into the bright morning sun is a surreal experience.
Staying out all night was really fun, but it certainly made for a rough next day. Getting back to the dorm at like 6 or 7 in the morning didn’t leave a lot of time for sleep before any activities, and I even ended up skipping out on one of the group activities because I just didn’t have the energy.
In the Club
The first night we went out was definitely the most hilarious. Upon arriving at the club, the Japanese girls showed their IDs and paid their cover and got one drink ticket. These drink tickets were redeemable at the bar for drinks, but more on that later. When Hunter and I got up to the doorman and showed our passports, the guy gave us each two drink tickets just because we were Americans. The Japanese girls thought this was unfair. Hunter and I thought it was awesome.
Anyway, at this club they had a drink ticket vending machine off to the side, and there you bought drink tickets and then took those drink tickets over to the bar and exchanged them for various drinks. The cost of drinks ranged from one ticket to a few, and I’m not sure how efficient a system this way, but it was interesting nonetheless.
As far as atmosphere inside the club goes, it was pretty similar to what I’d gotten used to back home, just with a bunch of Japanese people instead of college age white kids. The only bad part was that people were smoking indoors, and smoke really bothers me, but most of the smokers stayed around the outer perimeter of the venue so it wasn’t too terrible.
Do I Recommend It?
If you enjoy clubbing in your home country, chances are you’ll enjoy clubbing in Japan. My only advice is, don’t go alone, and go with someone who knows good places to go. If you go by yourself or with people who are equally as out of their element as you are, you’ll be less likely to have as awesome a time I think.
As far as language skills go, you don’t really need to know much Japanese to have a good time at the club. Most all drink orders sound the same in each language, but besides that, it’s usually too loud for you to have a conversation anyway. It’s hard enough trying to have a conversation with a new person who doesn’t know your level of language skill, let alone having that conversation in a noisy and crowded nightclub. The real fun comes from just going out and enjoying the whole experience.
It was really nice having someone let us know where to go and when to go and all that stuff. I definitely don’t regret going out while I was in Japan and I feel bad for some of my American friends who passed up the opportunity because it sure was a lot of fun. If you enjoy the club scene and you have the chance to go out in Japan, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
So tell me, have any of you gone out clubbing in Japan? How was your experience? For those who haven’t had the chance to, is it something that interests you? Let us know in the comments!