A wild New Years’ Eve party was hoped for and a wild New Years’ Eve party was delivered. While we didn’t end up going Ageha—the place with the acrobats—because admission was too expensive, we did end up at a club that turned out to be quite good. There’s really no need to go into much detail about the night. It was just a plain and simple good time filled with friends, drinking, and dancing, as the pictures will show.
The night began with a small “pre-game” party at Trey’s apartment with Trey’s friends Victor and Andre, Andre’s fiancé, and Cinty, the Hungarian girl. After getting warmed up there for about an hour and a half, we ventured out and took the bus into Tokyo. Andre and his fiancé are not drinkers so they opted not to come with us.
When we got to Tokyo we had to navigate through the subway system to get to where we were going, a place called Muse in the area known as Roppongi. Trey was in charge of leading the way, and while he made a few mistakes he sternly told us “not to question the leader”. I joked that this is also his policy when it comes to Obama. Trey was happy to take on the role of Obama for the night.
While on our way to the club we ran into a group of four Josai students, one of whom I recognized as Ollie, the guy I met at the Family Music Festival at Sanmunobori park a couple months ago. We were both amazed at the coincidence of bumping into each other again, and for a moment it seemed that he and his friends would be joining our group for the night. But while Trey and the others stopped into McDonald’s to fill their stomachs before the night of heavy drinking (I’d eaten earlier so I only got water), they went off in search of an ATM and we never saw them again.
When we got to the club it was just after 11:00 and the place looked virtually empty. Our first impression was that we’d made a terrible mistake and this place totally sucked. Trey kept turning to me and saying “don’t look at me like that!” as the parallel to Obama was clear to both of us. He had promised so much and raised my expectations so high, and now it appeared as though he’d failed to deliver.
But the place was filling up incredibly quickly, and more people we know were on the way. After ordering some Jack and coke with our first drink-ticket (entry was 4000 yen for men and 2000 for women, but everyone got two drink-tickets) we headed to the dance floor and decided to just make the best of the situation. We almost decided to leave and go to Ageha and screw the price, but we knew it was too late and if we left now we’d probably be standing in a line outside during the count-down.
To my pleasant surprise, Jack, Lily, and the French guys whom I’d told to meet us there arrived just in time for midnight, with ten minutes to spare. One of the workers at the club came around and handed a shot and a noise-making thingy to everyone in the club in preparation for the count-down.
The DJ stopped the music with just a minute to spare, and the whole place—now completely jam-packed—erupted with a count-down from juu to ichi, and with a loud cheer and the sound of popping noisemakers 2011 officially came to an end and 2012 got started.
There were three floors to this place altogether and after the midnight count-down we decided to head downstairs to the lowest floor where we’d remain for the rest of the night. There we did more drinking and dancing until some of us found our way to a nice little seating-area in the back where we’d sit and chat whenever we were tired of dancing.
I bumped into Stephen at one of the bars about fifteen minutes after midnight, knowing he’d intended to come but sad that he hadn’t been there for midnight. So with him, Jack and the French crowd, Trey, Victor and Cinty, and a few other ALTs and Josai students I’d never met before, we were a pretty decent crowd. Ben couldn’t be there because he’s back in the states now and I’m not sure where Fred is, but other than that it was about as good a crowd as I could have asked for. We didn’t get to see acrobats or the sunrise over Tokyo bay, but the people are much more important than the place.
Even before midnight started, Trey and Victor were trying to get me to join them in their hunt for Japanese girls to work game on, but I was not in that state of mind at all. I felt bad because Victor kept asking me to come and help back him up, but at that point all I wanted to do was just relax and enjoy myself and not get my mind all jammed up with thoughts of my perpetual sexual inadequacy.
But later in the night, one of the guys I’d just met—a guy from Finland named Morten—told me to go up to two Japanese girls who were sitting at a nearby table and give them a message in Japanese for him. I had no reservations at that point so I just went up and said “Sumimasen, my friend wanted me to tell you…um…” I forgot the Japanese phrase so I quickly ran back over to him and got it again, then attempted to say it for the girls who found the whole thing quite amusing and helped me get the pronunciation right. Suddenly I’m engaged in a chat with these girls and I ask to sit down and they gladly let me. Morten comes over and talks in Japanese with the girl on the left who doesn’t speak good English, and I have a nice conversation with the girl on the right whose English is good enough for small-talk. She seems genuinely interested in me and the whole thing is very encouraging, but while she was definitely attractive I just felt no desire for her and didn’t want to go too far down a path that I had no intention of going all the way down, so I gave up my seat and another guy moved in and picked up where I left off. I felt slightly annoyed with myself for giving up what was probably my first real chance of picking up a girl in Japan (or any country for that matter) but I’m okay with the fact that I didn’t. I’m not the kind of guy who goes for something just because it appears doable.
At another point I found myself wandering around in search of the elusive bathroom, and I couldn’t find it on the ground floor so I ended up using the one upstairs on the second floor. I stopped at the second-floor bar on my way back down to get some water and a beer, and was just completely dumbstruck by the bartendress who got me my drink. She was easily, hands-down, the cutest person to ever serve me a drink and I could not help but stick around and admire her gorgeous face for awhile. Not only was she as beautiful as they come, but she was a fantastic bartendress, always completely aware of everyone at her bar and getting everyone served as rapidly as possible. That gorgeous smile was obviously a mask worn as part of her job but she wore it skillfully. It never once left her face the entire time she was working. We exchanged glances a few times and eventually I did start talking to her, complimenting her on her bartending skills, but she just told me in Japanese that she doesn’t understand English. I knew it was a hopeless cause anyway. That girl must get hit on at least eight hundred times a night. I was just one more schmoe in a million.
Luckily the whole women-aspect of things was not dominating my mind the whole night. I was able to just sit downstairs and enjoy the company of the others for most of the time, though of course much of the conversation had to do with women. But there was plenty of fun to be had too, most memorably with a Japanese guy who’d wandered onto our couch and gone to sleep while none of us had been sitting there. We all got plenty of good pictures from that situation, though I suppose it makes us assholes.
At about 5:00 the club workers were very efficient in getting everyone out the door, and soon enough we were back out in the freezing cold Tokyo streets, which were as jam-packed and full of people at 5:00 in the morning as Shibuya was at 5:00 in the evening. By now everyone was hungry again and the McDonald’s was right there, so in we went and sadly McDonald’s became my first meal of 2012. But it was also my first time eating at McDonald’s in Japan and it was shockingly good, both the taste and the quality of my fish-sandwich and chicken tenders far superior to how I remember them tasting in America and even in Germany. Of course being drunk probably helped with that.
Jack and Lily and those guys had hostel reservations for the night, and I think Stephen did too, so the four of us who’d come from Togane together said goodbye to them at the McDonald’s and we began the long and frustrating journey home. Because the busses don’t start until 8:00 and it was just before 7:00 when we got back to Tokyo station, we knew we’d get back sooner if we took the train. We all trusted Trey to lead the way again, and again he managed to get us there with just a few minor errors.
We had to transfer three times but due to mistakes we ended up changing trains about 4 or 5 times, but that’s to be expected when you’re attempting to navigate the Japanese railway system after 12 straight hours of drinking. But I’d been doing a pretty good job of pacing myself the whole time and drinking lots of water, so I had no sign of an encroaching hangover and just felt more exhausted than anything. I was extremely glad when I finally got back to my apartment at 9:00 and curled up in bed, though I was only able to sleep until 12:00. At least that meant I was able to call home before 2012 began in America, and at 2:00 p.m. here I watched the ball drop in Times Square on an online livestream.
So that was New Years’ Eve 2011-12. It was vastly different from the Marxist-Leninist-German-Turkish New Years’ Eve party of 2010-11, but both were enjoyable in their own way. As I keep writing, 2011 was a hell of a year, possibly the best of my life, and while I did get worried for a moment it did end up going out with an appropriate bang. I don’t imagine it’s possible for 2012 to top 2011, but you never know what could happen…