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Jude Brand
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Feb 24, 2002
Like mama, like son
George's Bar, on a corner of the former site of the Defense Agency headquarters in Roppongi, needs no introduction to its hundreds of regulars. For those who haven't dropped by recently, though, I have some good news and some bad news.
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Feb 17, 2002
The heart of the jungle
While the ink on this page was still drying, several dozen bankers were careening toward the hangover of a lifetime. Of course, a Sunday hangover is nothing unusual for the average salaried employee, but for these chosen few -- these fast-track Masters of the Universe with brain cells aplenty to burn,...
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Feb 10, 2002
Home with the best
Being the youngest in a large family meant, in my case, becoming an auntie when I was still in my teens. And during my long self-exile in Japan, I patiently awaited the arrival of a new generation of travelers -- but then started feeling neglected as one nephew and niece after another circled the world...
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Feb 3, 2002
A bar that's right on the Button
Ebisu hides many secrets -- especially at night. And Button -- a neat, two-story attic perched on top of a building near the Nishi-Ebisu fiveways -- is one of the area's most precious. And you know it the instant the elevator doors open onto the sixth floor.
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Jan 27, 2002
Straight from the mothership
So, before I inundate you with a slew of new discoveries in the Shibuya-Ebisu-Daikanyama triangle, I must first pay homage to a funky little hole in the wall of seven years' standing -- Enjoy! House. It -- like 2626 (Flo Flo) -- sits within seconds of the Nishi-Ebisu fiveways. I can never make up my...
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Jan 13, 2002
A space-age think pad with the sweet smell of success
Each year begins with a clean sheet. Like the first page in a new diary, it is pure and unblemished. (The coffee-and-ink stains come later as we juggle our resolutions with the realities of life.) As such, the simple, white world of Bar Kapa seems an appropriate place to start. Even after two years of...
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Jan 6, 2002
Daybreak in the garden of Any and Yappy . . .
By the time you read this, Tokyo will be back to business after the New Year's break and the people and traffic will have returned to choke the city's streets. But the pollution that hangs like a lid over the greater metropolis will take a few days longer to return. Blue is the color of the New Year...
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Dec 30, 2001
Party on, to the break of the new dawn
I was going to make just one recommendation for New Year's Eve -- the countdown party at Milk, a freestyle club in Ebisu. I have had a couple of great New Year's Eves there -- including one special moment making mochi (traditional rice cakes) as the first tendrils of dawn crept across the sky in the...
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Dec 23, 2001
Finding the Christmas spirit (and ale)
Christmas was once a lonely business for an expat in Japan. With no holiday, no family and everyone who could manage it having already left town, it was downright dismal -- even for a seasoned Japan-hand.
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Dec 16, 2001
Get high on romance this Christmas Eve
Christmas used to be a nonevent in Japan. But, due to a variety of factors, suddenly Christmas Eve was up there with Valentine's Day as a romantic night for a hot date. And Santa's look was revamped for sexy young girls in need of a little red dress for the occasion.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Dec 9, 2001
Everything goes . . .
One night recently, after a rampage through Kabukicho, my friend Peter suggested a nightcap at a nearby kyaba-kura (cabaret club). But one, he said, with a difference -- namely, all the girls who work there are "new-halfs," or transsexuals. There was no need to blush or blink -- I had already been to...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Dec 2, 2001
You know you want it
Meet Carl X, a quiet, unassuming Englishman who, for 10 years, has been working the graveyard shift in the bowels of Roppongi and beyond. And -- as far as I can see -- has survived unscathed. Remember Gold in Shibaura, Tokyo's most famous and decadent club in the late '80s? Carl worked there. Remember...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Nov 25, 2001
I'd like to teach the world to karaoke
If, like me, you cannot sing, karaoke is a curse. One of the first things I learned to say in Japanese was, "If I sing, all your customers will leave."
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Nov 18, 2001
Seriously, where are you?
Lately, I've found myself worrying about you. Yes, you -- my vicarious companions; my invisible tagalongs. You, who follow my adventures by remote control. You, whose presence is most notable by your absence. But that's not what's bothering me. It seems that your absence has also been noted in my absence,...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Nov 11, 2001
So a girl walks into this bar
You usually are taken to the best bars -- or you're told about them. You don't usually find one by walking down a random street -- especially a big street -- and lurching through the first open door you see.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Nov 4, 2001
Not just another hole in the wall
Our last stop in Golden Gai takes us in deep -- deep into its heart and soul, deep into its geographical center. This is where you'll find the crumbling cinder-block row houses, which once dominated the area, still clinging to the narrow alleys that zigzag through Golden Gai's core. Whereas Tre Tre and...
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Oct 28, 2001
The golden girls of Shinjuku
Last week I introduced Tre Tre -- a funky little hole-in-the-wall near the entrance to Golden Gai. Gaku, the master, has not only helped many new-generation barkeeps leverage their way into the area, he also knows all the coolest spots to drink. So, this week and next, we will stay in Golden Gai and...
CULTURE / Music
Oct 28, 2001
He's not just your average Joe
By the time I finally managed to contact Joe Strummer for a phone interview, The Mescaleros were in Los Angeles. It was the last port of call on the American leg of their tour to promote their second album, "Global A Go-Go." They had already played the first of four gigs at the Troubadour in West Hollywood,...
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Oct 21, 2001
This size fits all
West Shinjuku is a showcase of sleek, modern high-rises. East Shinjuku, by contrast, is a low-rise mishmash of department stores and restaurants, which are gradually replaced by movie theaters and hostess clubs the farther north one moves. And if you find yourself surrounded by street hawkers instead...
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Oct 14, 2001
P-chan gets started under the right track
Have you ever seen the Woody Allen movie "Radio Days"? In it, Woody grows up with his family, living snug-as-bugs in a tiny room underneath the Big Dipper on Coney Island. Every time a roller coaster careens overhead, the walls shake and objects pogo off the tables. Of course, nobody notices. It was...

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