Ask for me to-morrow and you shall find me a grave man

You may not have known it, dear Reader, but strange and bizarre machinations were at work this past three-day weekend.

In an event so massive it’s a wonder that central Tokyo didn’t implode from the sheer weight of it, several of this city’s most prolific bloggers decided to team up in the flesh for a night of drunken debauchery — at a horror-themed izakaya called The Lock-Up.

Do things in life get any better than this? I put to you that they do not.

In attendance at this Meeting of Meetings were:

Mr. Salaryman, the principal architect
Yours truly
Tokyo Cowgirl
Neil Duckett
Billy West
Green-Eyed Geisha

Being the bitter, disdainful creature I am, I have to admit I initially viewed this meetup along the lines of a social experiment. We bloggers are a strange and often reclusive folk, and I certainly didn’t expect to get along with an entire roomful of them.

Shockingly, that’s exactly what happened.

Of course, like any group of people meeting for the first time, there was that initial awkwardness, the pauses in conversation and inevitable queries of, “Who are you again?” Luckily, alcohol is arguably the single greatest invention in the history of great inventions, and thanks to the 1,800 yen all-you-can drink special, there was no shortage of it to help get things going.

Now, it cannot be overstated just how craptastic our choice of locales was. The photos do not do it justice — any restaurant that actually chooses to kill the lights and set off explosions while employees don gorilla masks and dangle from the ceiling in the name of “entertainment” is clearly not fooling around in the crap department. Apparently, however, we are all twisted enough to be able to take it in stride … and to not get too bent out of shape over our quite visibly pissed waitress, who had had more than enough of our rampant alcohol consumption.

Two or three hours later (not quite sure which — killing enough beer to free up the alcohol limit so we could keep getting Tokyo Cowgirl her glasses of wine took a rather concerted effort from our end of the table), the all-you-can-drink, all-you-can-eat special was concluded, so we promptly buggered off.

Incidentally, as fantastic as everyone was that night and as much as I look forward to seeing them all again, I’m going to have to single out Tokyo Cowgirl for a bit by saying that if any of you are thinking of meeting her in real life — don’t. She is so wonderful to be around that the minute she’s gone, running off to ice bars or wherever it is that cowgirls from Texas run off to once they’ve had enough of their drunken and altogether dubious company, it’s like suddenly losing several shades of color from your visible spectrum. Most unpleasant and not at all recommendable.

Luckily, your average guy is just a hair’s breadth up the evolutionary ladder from a tree-swinging baboon, and we were able to deaden the blow of having all three of the very nice ladies in our party simultaneously leave by drinking some more beer.

Next up was The Hub, a chain of izakaya that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a genuine English pub. One or two foreigners lumbering in usually isn’t enough to get the locals staring, but having five of the rowdy buggers come in at once led to a bit of staring that soon led to some friendly, protracted conversation. And by “protracted,” I mean that by the end of the evening, we were all in a bit of a dodgy state (some of us dodgier than others).

Thus, the first official meetup ended in my mind exactly as it should have — the members of our party scattered and chatting with strangers, with one of us half-asleep with his back drunkenly up against the wall.