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Tokyo Rainbow Pride gets me to bars, finally

Posted at age 25.
Created . Edited .

A month or two ago I talked to another Yusuke on the app Jackd, and then subsequently on Facebook. He lives three hours from Tokyo, but comes here often. Anyway, he wanted to stay this past weekend, so I told him he could crash with me. So he got here Friday, and though we previously talked about going out, I was still working and wasn’t feeling like it. Yusuke was pretty tired as well, so he didn’t go out either.

Anyway, Saturday I was definitely going out as I told Beam I would go with him to some party at a venue in Shibuya called Vision. Yusuke said he’d like to go as well, so we all met at my apartment to pregame around nine or 10. Pregaming, by the way, doesn’t really exist in Japan. Apparently people go to the bars to drink before going to other bars. That sounds totally logical when I say it out loud. But anyway, I prefered to drink at home first since I hadn’t been to bars in many months, and had never been to a Tokyo one, and didn’t know what to expect.


Me, Beam and Yusuke getting ready to go out. It’ll be my first time going out in Japan… wish me luck! :-P

Eventually we decided to go sometime between 11 and 12. It was one of the last trains, since Tokyo trains strangely stop running a bit after midnight. The atmosphere on the train was interestingly different than usual, as you could tell most of the people were on their way to bars. We took a selfie, and I finished my whisky coke (stored in the Coke Zero bottle, of course), and we made our way to the venue.


Lockers at the club. They cost 300 yen I think.

Upon walking in, I was carded, paid the entrance fee of ¥2000 (about 20USD), and followed Beam and Yusuke inside. The first room was a locker room, which had a seedy sauna feel to it. Lockers cost ¥300, but I didn’t need to store anything. It was quite warm out and I didn’t bring a coat.

I guess I bought a few drinks there, must have danced or something, and made some friends I barely remember. Mostly they were Beam’s acquaintences, as he knows some people who work for Microsoft here. I put in a small effort to learn some new Japanese words, but I mostly spoke in English. There were lots of English speakers there, and strangely the Japanese guys were eager to try to speak English.


Drinks in Tokyo are similarly priced to San Francisco I guess

Eventually Beam left for his hourlong walk home around 3 a.m., and I stayed there with Yusuke till sometime around four. We then took a taxi with a Brazilian lawyer we met to Shinjuku to check out some bars there. I remember walking into the bar Dragon about which I had heard so much, but we stayed for about 10 seconds. Not sure why; I was sort of following at this point.

We ended up at Annex, another of the popular gay bars, and I met another foreigner while sitting outside. I can’t remember why I was sitting outside. I was either feeling slightly ill or didn’t want to be in there, but I’m not sure. That’s when I was approached by a new friend named Herman, and we proceeded to talk about bottled water for quite some time. Then we went back inside, and after a while Yusuke and I headed home on foot, as it was getting light out.

The next morning, Yusuke left pretty early, and I slept till a bit after noon. I texted Beam asking if he wanted to go check out the pride celebration that I heard was this weekend just the day before. Apparently I’m totally out of the loop, or it’s not well advertised, or both. But anyway, Beam didn’t want to at first, but eventually changed his mind. So we met in Harajuku at 2:45, almost four hours after the parade started. Somehow it was still going on, though.


Tokyo Rainbow Pride


Tokyo Rainbow Pride


Tokyo Rainbow Pride


This shows how different parades are in Tokyo compared to in the States. Floats are usually vehicles, not trailers, not huge, and are followed by a bunch of fans. The next float might be five or ten minutes away. So they don’t close the street, but rather make the parade run along the side.


Tokyo Rainbow Pride


Tokyo Rainbow Pride


Another view of the parade from afar.

Beam and I wandered around, vaguely to look for his Microsoft friend Maurice, and just to explore. The grounds were not very large, and the atmosphere was quite different than pride fests I’ve been to in San Francisco and Chicago, and even Milwaukee.


Tokyo Rainbow Pride

Here, there were a few people drinking, but mostly people seemed sober and were just walking around casually. Mostly people wore normal clothes, though a few were wearing less, and some in crazy costumes. In the aforementioned cities, on the other hand, most people would be shirtless and many of them in only underwear or at least very short shorts. But still, I was surprised to see any nearly nude people here at all.


Tokyo Rainbow Pride


Tokyo Rainbow Pride. I wonder what they are looking at.


Tokyo Rainbow Pride

So after an hour of wandering and talking to some of the Microsoft people, we went to get some food in nearby Shibuya, and then we parted ways. It was a lovely diversion of a weekend!


Tokyo Rainbow Pride