I didn’t sleep that great. Getting a traditional hotel room seemed a good idea at the time. But sleeping on just a thin mattress isn’t good for my old bones. My hips were aching like crazy by the morning.
We nip over to the 7 11 opposite for some bits and bobs. There really are a lot of little shops. That stay open all hours. And sell beer and whisky and all that good stuff.
Andrew is on Strong Zero, mind. He’d heard about it and was keen to try it. I think because of the price to strength ratio.
“What’s it like?” I ask.
“An alcopop. Not really like it’s alcoholic at all.”
“Not like you then.”
“Very funny, Dad. And you can talk."
He already seems hooked on the stuff.
I deliberately booked hotels close to stations. There’s one not more than 50 metres from our hotel. Meaning despite the heat, we can walk there and survive. It’s really effing hot today.
“Hurry up dad. We don’t want to stand around in this heat any longer than we need to.” Andrew is uncomfortable.
“Stop with the stupid photos, Dad.” Alexei just aggressive.
Plan is to take a train to Tokyo station, have a look at the Imperial Palace, then go to Craft Beer Bar iBrew. Which you can probably guess is a craft beer pub. The kids found it for me, bless them. Though Andrew does seem to have got a taste for IPA on our US trip last year. He quite often orders one.
It’s hot. Did I mention that? The station is huge and full of people milling around. And this is Sunday afternoon.
“I’m feeling really hot, Dad. Can we go to the pub first?” Andrew asks.
“Ooh, I don’t know about that. We wouldn’t want to miss out on the cultural stuff.”
“Stop pissing around. You always want to go to the pub.”
“OK, you’ve twisted my arm.”
We’re using a map on Alexei’s phone to navigate. It isn’t far. Just a couple of hundred metres of what appear to be shopping streets. Should be a piece of piss to find.
We overshoot by several streets. Walking past fancy shops packed with eager consumers. None of that Sunday closing crap here. Though some of the small food places are closed.
“We have to go back that way.” Alexie suggests.
“Just get on with it. I’m burning up here.” Andrew really doesn’t look good.
We’re pretty sure that we’ve located the right street. But where the hell is the pub? We walk up and down the street a couple of times. No luck.
“You look terrible, Andrew. Let’s nip in that shop and get cold drinks.”
After loitering a while in the air-conditioned shop, we find a bench and drink our drinks in the shade. It helps a bit.
We stumble back down along the street one last time.
“Look, Dad! That’s it.” Alexei has always been good at spotting stuff.
The pub is remarkably well hidden. I wonder they get any trade at all. Or perhaps they just don’t like strangers.
It’s tiny inside, but we manage to find seats. You could, perhaps, if they all liked each other very much, squeeze in 20 customers. But they still do food.
The beer list is small, just 10 draught beers. I’d be suspicious if it were longer. No way you could manage any more in a place this small.
“What do you fancy, lads?”
“Leitungswassser Kölsch.” Andrew says, quick as a flash.
“I’m assuming big ones.”
“What do you think, Dad?”
A big one being 46ml, for 745 yen. Not that unreasonable for bag in the centre of town.
I have a 7HOP DIPA. Because I need some alcohol in me and that’s the strongest beer on the list.
“I see you’ve gone for the strongest beer, Dad.”
“That’s just a coincidence.” I lie. “Anyway, it’s weaker than your Strong Zero.”
“Can I have some food?” Alexei asks. He’s the only one of us who’s hungry. The heat really take away my appetite. And Andrew’s.
He orders a portion of sashimi. It looks very good, but I couldn’t face a bite. I do have room for some more beer, mind.
“I think I’ll have another DIPA. What about you, Andrew?”
“I’ll have a Hazy IPA.”
“A sludge beer, you mean?”
“Don’t be so negative, Dad.”
It’s dark and a little cooler when we leave. Trailing back to the station past brightly-lit exotic facades. Tokyo station is still mobbed. Odd that a city this size has a station simply called Tokyo.
We need to change trains at Ueno. It’s quite a large station and confusing as to which line we should take. We seem to go a long way without coming to our station.
“I don’t remember this from the way out, Andrew. I think we’ve taken the wrong train.”
“I think you’re right.”
We have to backtrack to Ueno, where we get the correct train. Still, it’s not as if it’s hot or anything.
We get back to the hotel a little sweaty, but still alive and in relatively good condition. Especially once back a room with some refreshments.
I finish the day with a little hotel whisky. Andrew and Alexei with more Strong Zero. Alexei seems to have got a taste for it as well. What has become of them?
We don’t stay up too late. We’re flying to Seoul tomorrow.
Craft Beer Bar iBrew
Tel: +81 3-3281-6221
Open 13:00 - 23:00