Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Happy New Years 2011 From Tokyo!

Happy New Years from Tokyo! Here are a few scenes of me celebrating the new year in a couple of places from one of my old watering holes when I used to live in Otsuka the Black Sheep in Ikebukuro where I did the countdown. Then I moved on to Shinjuku to Decadance Bar which is like a mini-Tokyo Decadance event every weekend.

At the end of the night I ended up in Roppongi fairly hammered before stumbling back home and missing my connection stop. All in all, a good time! Happy New Years!

From some other New Years Activities in the past:

New Years Eve at Zojo-ji Temple in Hamamatsucho

New Years Day Activities at Yasukuni Shrine

January 2, 2011 Posted by | 2010, 2011, culture, drinking, japan, japanese culture, New Year's Eve, New Years, party, tokyo, tokyo decadance, travel, video, vlog, yasakuni shrine, youtube, zojo-ji | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Youtube Tokyo Hanami Party 2009

The 2nd Annual Tokyo Youtube Hanami Party was held Sunday March 29th in Yoyogi Park. 

A number of Youtubers located in Tokyo and elsewhere gathered in Yoyogi Park – the park next to the Goth Maids and the dancing Rockabilly Elvises.

Hanami is the Japanese tradition of gathering under cherry blossoms to eat, drink, and be merry.

We had KFC chicken, Krispy Kreme donuts, ramen, beer, and Chu-Hi. 

Here people talk about what they like about the Hanami tradition.

Also check these videos from last year’s event:

Pre-Youtube Hanami in Ueno Park at night:

Post-Youtube hanami at a Hub Pub in Shibuya:

April 7, 2009 Posted by | 2008, 2009, beer, Blogroll, cherry blossoms, culture, drinking, hanami, japan, japanese culture, party, sakura, tokyo, TokyoCooney, travel, video, vlog, youtube, Youtube Gathering | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Japanese Beer Trilogy

Here’s a trilogy of videos on Japanese beer – one on beer vending machines in Kyoto, another one on a draft beer vending machine in Tokyo, and a final one on historical beers – beers with labels of famous people in Japanese history with short bios.

This first video is from BusanKevin in Kyoto talking about the wonders of outdoor beer vending machines in Kyoto on a hot day:

In response, I did a video on a draft beer vending machine I discovered in a pool hall in Tokyo a few nights ago.

Taste was not to bad but it gave me a huge head of foam which is quite common anyway even with live servers:

background music by Super Girl Juice

Later that same night I came across some “Historalicious” Japanese beer which were beer bottles with labels depicting famous people from Japanese history. Get your drink on while learning some Japanese history with Historalicious Japanese Beer – if you can read the bloody small cursive writing on the label:

Crack open a cold one and enjoy the Japanese Beer Trilogy!

August 17, 2008 Posted by | beer, Blogroll, culture, drinking, entertainment, japan, japanese beer, japanese beer vending machine, japanese culture, japanese history, life, shinsengumi, tokyo, travel, video, vlog, youtube | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

3 Drunk Gaijin chat about Penis Festivals, Anime, and Japanese History

This vid is from Givemeabreakman’s response channel Gimmeaflakeman.

This was after the Nagoya Penis Festival back in March where Victor, Daichen, and myself drink Old Crow Whiskey and chat about the penis festival, our dislike of anime, and japanese history. I do a 2-3 minute spiel covering the ages of Japan from beginning to present day.

Enjoy our drunken ramble!

May 11, 2008 Posted by | Anime, Blogroll, culture, drinking, entertainment, festival, japan, japanese culture, japanese history, life, matsuri, Nagoya, penis festival, travel, video, youtube | , , , | 1 Comment

Roppongi Nights – Roppongi Mornings

Roppongi Nights – Roppongi Mornings
Tokyo’s Nightspot a Mecca for Nightdwellers

Three Roppongi-ites ring in the New Year

Love it, hate it, loathe it, leave it. Roppongi is a people magnet. Perhaps it doesn’t attract the most savory of characters, but all walks of life rub elbows and more in Roppongi, unlike anywhere else in Japan.

One of Roppongi’s ubiquitous doner kebab stand

Roppongi is Tokyo’s little den of sin for ready-to-go gaijins and adventurous Japanese. Its humble origins date back to the Edo period 400 years ago when it was a quiet little temple town with nary a vice to its name. Tragedy seems to be in Roppongi’s blood. It has faced ravaging fires, W.W.II bombs and drunken foreigners puking all over its long, questionable past. Its party reputation began a hundred years or so ago, when Japanese soldiers were quartered there and, as it usually happens around young men with money and testerone to spare, a sordid nightlife sprang up. The U.S. military continued this fine tradition after the war.

The notorious meatmarket: Gaspanic

King of Roppongi
Gangster Nick Zappetti got the ball rolling

Enjoying the Nightlife Created by Zappetti – “Thanks, Nick!”

Much of today’s Roppongi nightlife can reportably be traced back to one man: an American, Nick Zappetti. Zappetti came to Japan as a member of the U.S. Occupation Force at the end of World War II. With black marketing, racketeering, and a host of other illegal activities abounding, this native from Mafia country, USA, found Japan much to his liking.

After being pulled in by the police for his tenuous involvement in a bungled but notorious diamond heist, Zappetti went legit by starting a pizza place in Roppongi. Roppongi’s nightlife was still in its infancy at the time. The most excitement to have back then was the occasional Yakuza sword battles as gangs etched out their territories. Nick’s place became so famous that Hollywood actors and even the Imperial Crown Prince Akihito patronized his restaurant. And of course, there were plenty of Yakuza employees to be found sampling the wares.

Zappetti’s topsy-turvy life in Japan is detailed in Robert Whiting’s wild and intriguing book: “Tokyo Underworld.”

Tokyo’s finest looking to keep things civil in Roppongi

These days, a night in Roppongi can be spent fending off the lusty advances of horny Nigerians, frustrated sailors and pent-up marines. For the young male out on the prowl, he has to run the alluring but annoying gamut of the massage girls. Shouting: “Massagee! Massagee!” they rush out to grab any passing single male, not letting go until their victims have either given in or brutally fought them off.

Some Halloween Hanky Panky – just an average night in Roppongi

Night is a friend to Roppongi and to its inhabitants of party-goers and pleasure-seekers. The streets are filled with beautiful people stumbling about in a haze as they hop from club to club. In rich, rolling Nigerian accents, club hawkers call out to the passing crowds inviting them with promises of fun and people. Perhaps it’s the blinding flashing lights, the blaring music or the alcohol, but the insides of the popular clubs do boast a population of the most incredibly good-looking, charismatic people who personify the word “cool.” It’s the type of place that any trendy groupie with low self esteem would aspire to become part of.

A jam-packed club

Some nights, however, aren’t a good time to visit – a few sour critics would say that there is never a good night to visit Roppongi. I went for the first time on New Year’s Eve 2001. Nearly the entire crew contingent of the USS Kittyhawk aircraft carrier was there to meet, compete, and throw-up on me – a good place to go if you were female or gay, but not both.

Naughty Roppongi girls out on the prowl

The danger is staying too long. If you don’t find your special someone to fill your emotional void within a few hours or you miss your last train, you will see the horror of Roppongi in the morning. Morning is not a friend to Roppongi. It’s cruel. Daylight hits Roppongi with the gentleness of a sledgehammer wrapped in barbed wire. Morning shatters the glamour, the egos and the illusions given by the night.

A New Year’s Eve street bar dispensing liquid encouragement

When a club’s flashing lights switch to a stagnant piercing glare, the beautiful cool people you were just grooving with are suddenly replaced by a bunch of haggard hung-over hags and trolls. Rushing out into the streets doesn’t save you either as the streets are choked with packs of shambling, stumbling walking dead. In the shadows, pale party-goers avoid sunlight like quaking vampires by seeking the darker recesses of the subways lest they explode in a noxious cloud of bone and dust.

Love the Nights – Fear the Mornings!

In the bowels of the subway station, the survivors of the night huddle like war-weary, third-world refugees as they await the train that will carry them away from this hell. Very few are capable of standing. Most pass out in their or somebody else’s filth. The few who are conscious stare into the void with bleary, blood-shot eyes like shell-shocked war veterans who have been too long up at the Front.

Sporting a Roppongi Souvenir

You tell yourself: “Never Again!” as you lurch for the train along with the rest of the wretched masses yearning for escape. You know deep down, however, you will be out here again and again.

A trio of Roppongi Nightlife casualties

January 10, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, drinking, japan, Nick Zappetti, night out, nightlife, party, Roppongi, sexy, tokyo, travel | 8 Comments

The Tokyo Yamanote Halloween Train 2006 Movie (kind of)

The Roving Ronin Report Presents the Full-Length Feature (7 1/2 mins) of:

The Tokyo Yamanote Halloween Train 2006

I finally got around to making a more indepth follow-up to my early Yamanote Halloween Train videos.I have more commentary from myself and from participants including one who confirms the existence of the Halloween Train event going back to 1990. It also contains a brief message to a pair of Tokyo-living Wikipedia users who last year did everything they could to get an article on the event deleted because they never heard of it.Also for some of the critics who decry the event as just crazy gaijin taking over the train, you’ll note that nearly half the people in this video are Japanese.And here’s last year’s montage video slightly modified with an opening sequence.

October 26, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, cosplay, costumes, drinking, entertainment, event, festival, halloween, japan, life, party, tokyo, travel, vampire, video, yamanote halloween train, Yamanote Train | 3 Comments

St. Patrick’s Day In Tokyo Video

 Here’s a video I recently made about St. Patrick’s Day festivies in an Irish Pub in the heart of Tokyo with a brief interlude of Danny Boy being sung at a festival Enka Style

March 19, 2007 Posted by | alcohol, celtic music, drinking, enka, entertainment, Guinness, Ireland, Irish, japan, party, St. Patrick's Day, tokyo, travel | Leave a comment

Sapporo Beer and Genghis Khan

Museum Offers History and Beer
Sapporo Beer Museum visitors learn about brewing history in Japan while sampling the wares

The Sapporo Beer Museum: A Mecca For Japanese Beer Drinkers

Ever since man raised himself from his animal-like state of existence and achieved conscious rational awareness, he has used his thought process to devise various and illicit ways of removing this burden of consciousness and returning to his former state. One of the earliest relievers of this burden was the divine elixir known as beer. Beer brewing can be traced back over 6,000 years ago to the resourceful Sumerians. The Sumerians were so taken by this brew they dedicated hymns praising their gods for this divine drink. They even had a goddess of beer brewing.

Old Beer Bottles from the turn of the century

Beer came late to Japan — about 6,000 years later. The Japanese, however, were not slack in the “altering of consciousness through liquid means” department. They had been brewing their rice wine for countless generations before beer found its way over. Beer was first tentatively introduced to the Japanese during the nation’s seclusionary Edo Period (1615-1867) by Dutch traders. It did not catch hold at the time.

Geisha and Beer : the perfect combination

In the Meiji Period (1867-1912), Japan opened its borders to foreigners and allowed its own citizens to travel abroad. Seibei Nakagawa went to Germany where he earned a Beer Brewery Engineering License. With the discovery of hops in the northern island of Hokkaido, a beer brewery was planned with Nakagawa as its first brewmaster. In 1876, the first Sapporo Beer was sold in Japan.

A display showing that Sapporo Beer is apparently made by magical gnome-like creatures.

Over the following decades, beer drinking increased in popularity and became an established pastime. These days it’s hard to imagine a Japan without beer, as it has become so firmly entrenched into the Japanese lifestyle. What helped is the fact that a good percentage of Japanese food, from sushi to yaki-tori (chicken skewers), simply goes great with beer.

Commemorative Beer for the 1972 Winter Olympics which were held in Sapporo

The Sapporo Beer Museum in Sapporo is a good place for beer lovers to go to learn more about the history of beer brewing in Japan. The Museum has a collection of beer bottles and cans that date back to the late 19th Century. Visitors can also watch beer commercials that span several decades. There are two small bars where one can — for a small fee — sample the wares. Two of the beers — Kaitakushi and Sapporo Classic — are only available in Hokkaido.

Samples for the studious beer connoisseur

The taste of Sapporo beer, which its admirers harp on about, comes from unique hops that are only produced in certain areas around the world — areas known for their exceptional beers. Sapporo Brewery prides itself in its quality ingredients and the skill of its brewers. Sapporo beer can be seen as a delicious result of German brewing practices and Japanese attention to detail.

At first, visitors to the Sapporo Beer Museum may be a bit shocked to find a red star emblazoned on its building, and suddenly worry that Communist China has gained a foothold in the Hokkaido Island as a precursor to invasion of the mainland. The red star actually represents the North Star, which was the symbol of the early pioneers in the 19th Century. The red star logo was later changed to a gold star, no doubt to avoid any confusion that Sapporo Beer might be a communist brewski.

Genghis Khan: a sizzling plate-grill of lamb meat – ready for the conqueroring

Visitors shouldn’t try to get too involved in their study of Sapporo’s finest brew at the Museum’s bar, however. Attached to the museum is the Sapporo Beer Garten, where for just under 4,000 Yen a person can help themselves to all the beer they can drink for 100 minutes. Accompanying the beer are strips of lamb meat cooked on a grill at the customer’s table by the customer themselves. This dish is named after the famous Mongol conqueror: Genghis Khan. After 100 minutes of incessant beer guzzling and lamb chomping, the only kingdom you’ll be interested in sacking will be the one with the porcelain throne.

All’s Well in Magical Beerland

February 23, 2007 Posted by | alcohol, beer, Blogroll, drinking, Genghis Khan, hokkaido, japan, life, museum, sapporo, sapporo beer, travel | 6 Comments