And so a jolly evening was had with a Bemused Sage, a Mellow Spendthrift, a Local Chick and, at his own insistence, a Dumb, Lovable Fatman.
The plan was innocent enough - meet at Bond in Hiroo for a couple of drinks, then head to Absolut Icebar for our reserved 45-minute session to drink as much as humanly possible in minus 5 degree temperatures. As the boys were in Tokyo on their way through to Vladivostok, I figured vodka and sub-zero conditions were suitable training for their time in Siberia, and a humid Tokyo night was not going to cut it. Yup, this place was made of ice. Ice walls, ice bar, benches, glasses...
We actually arrived on time and were immediately swathed in silver capes with a (faux) fur-edged hood, which was totally my reason for wanting to check the bar out. Nothing screams superhero more than a silver cape with a (faux) fur-edged hood. And if you're a regular reader of this drivel, you'll know that I aspire to superhero-dom. Black gloves hung off the sides of the superhero capes - the better to clutch your iceglass... and the better to protect your tender mitts, my dear.
The light shimmered on the ice and we all looked like silver spectres drifting in and out of sight. Or maybe it was because I wasn't wearing my glasses and kept losing everyone as they kept running back to the bar. I have no idea how many drinks we managed in the limited time, but they certainly warmed up the nipply bits, as did the cape. There was a pattern to the frenzy: drink, take photos, drink, more photos. For the curious souls reading this, here's Fat (left) and I (right)... duh, like you can't tell.
We were then booted out, so we piled into a couple of taxis to Roppongi. I was clueless as to where to take them next, but thought we'd try Mogambo. The link shows the generous folk who have stepped behind the bar to ring the bell, which signals to the bar staff that you're buying shots for everyone. For your generosity, you are rewarded with a tacky Polaroid stuck up on the roof or wall, which is exactly what Fatman wanted to do. The Bemused Sage and the Mellow Spendthrift duly presented their wallets, while GG demurred. My insistence that it was a dumb idea, and that I barely had enough money for a taxi home, were not well received.
A mass-exodus ensued and I was deemed a shite tour guide for not having learnt any Japanese (Fat is fluent), for not knowing where we were going at any given time, and for then picking a crappy bar. My only protest at this point was that they've read my blog and I have never proclaimed to be anything but useless. I moodily muttered that Fat could find his own freakin' fun, so he did just that. After wandering for a while, we all stumbled into a biker bar, High Riders, (which is a great name as there is a lot, and I mean A LOT, of high-ridin' trouser activity happening in Tokyo and it ain't pretty.)
This is where my narrative stalls somewhat as the flashbacks become quite random. I remember drinking whisky. I remember the Mellow Spendthrift excitedly spending a huge wad of cash on a very heavy bike jacket, which I'm sure he is bitterly bemoaning the presence of, as he lugs it across Siberia. I have a sinking feeling he may not have realised how much it cost due to my generally confused state and inability to successfully convert yen into Australian dollars. Ah, erm... there should have been another 4 zeros in that conversion. Ahem.
My memory returns when I'm whizzing around Tokyo on the back of a motorbike. I think I casually (drunkenly) mentioned (pleaded) to the owner of the bar that I would love a ride on his bike, fully expecting him to tell me to piss off. However, I had forgotten about that cultural difference whereby Japanese consider it rude to say no, let alone piss off. The poor bastard probably figured he had no choice but to oblige. We went zooming into the night, zipping in and out of traffic, and eventually around the base of Tokyo Tower, which looked just magical.
Then, after a few more whiskys in the bar, I yelled farewell to Fatman and friends as they took off in a taxi. I stumbled home at about 3.00am and woke in the morning with that wonderful feeling you have when you know you've woken before the alarm has had a chance to jolt you from your slumber. I rolled over in a rather languid fashion and shrieked to see that it was 10.00am. I was at my desk at work by 11.00, with 8500 words to proof by the end of the day, with makeup from the night before smeared across my face, and the stale stench of whisky permeating the air around me. Good day.
To the three travelling stooges, I raise my whisky to you. Cheers for an evening I won't forget, well, except for those bits I've already forgotten. I so wish I was on that train with you.
* Hamish, be very, very afraid. They're coming your way and I hear you're on their hit list.