Finding Entertainment in Japan

The Japanese are known to be hard workers, and you may find yourself becoming a bit of a workaholic, too, as the yen begin to pile up.

There will be many opportunities to blow off steam in your off-hours, particularly in the larger cities. Expect your students to invite you to go drinking with them or sing karaoke (almost impossible to avoid). Not much entertaining is done at home, though, so don’t be surprised if you never see where your best friends live.

Since most teachers end up in Tokyo, and those who don’t at least pass through, we’ll mention a few of the main night spots there, but this list is by no means exhaustive.

  • Koenji – There are a lot of small live music clubs here. The crowds tend to be young and casual.
  • Ginza – Normally the domain of businessmen on expense accounts, there are a few reasonably priced discos and bars here. Ginza parties are a little more sedate than Roppongi or Shinjuku. It is a beautiful place for a nighttime stroll.
  • Roppongi – The main foreign nightspot in town, Roppongi has too many discos and watering holes to count. A favorite with American military on passes and the model crowd, so it’s easy to forget which country you’re in here.
  • Shibuya – This area is mainly a college student playground. It is always crowded, but big, safe, and fun. Everything closes down by the last train (around 12:30).
  • Shimo-Kitazawa – Good restaurants, many small bars, and live music and theater attract a lot of university and high school students to this area.
  • Shinjuku – Shinjuku’s Kabukicho is garish and uninhibited – there are more drunken people per square foot than anywhere else in Tokyo. You should see it at least once. There are also museums, theater, concerts, and traditional Japanese performances to occupy your time.

 

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