Club Into The Jaws Of Hell
September 6, 2009
I don’t know what part of my brain decided clubbing all night in Osaka would be a swell idea, but that once unknown part of my mind won out this weekend. It’s apparently a tradition to come into the big city late and then, instead of being a rational individual and sleeping, catch the first train out of the city. I sorta did this before, but that time I sprung for a capsule and left a little later than six in the morning. So this time I needed the real deal – and, at the very least, it would give me a chance to see a Japanese club for the first time.
The night started eerily similar to the last Osaka outing – a little bit of walking around the conveyor-belt like streets followed by Mexican food (much bigger portions this time) and then to the same bar where the infamous beerpong bro-down happened. The only new wrinkle came when we went to an English pub and befriended a trio of Japanese college students who enjoyed talking about English soccer (yeah Arsenal fans!) and Rage Against the Machine. Also, one of them smoked a cigarette like he was snorting crack, which was a very strange/entertaining sight.
We eventually wandered over to our club destination for the night – Sam and Dave. My hopes of a ’60s R&B club went up in smoke as soon as we descended the stairs and were met with a wall of posters promoting an upcoming event featuring hipster-beloved DJs Diplo and Steve Aoki. Also something called “Industrial Goth Synth-Pop Nigh.” After paying the cover charge and throwing some stuff into the complimentary locker room, we entered the main floor – which looked pretty much every club I’ve ever been to that happens to be underground. Which, admittedly, isn’t a large size.
Though this club didn’t have any major crazy differences from something you would find in America (whoa mayo shots that would be cooky!), there were small details that seemed rather strange. All the lit-up decoration signs around the floor were for Zima, which I was surprised to learn still exists. Various TV monitors showed what appeared to be Red Bull infomercials on loop. There was a foosball table just sitting in the middle of the room (OK, that was pretty cool). The clientele of Sam and Dave seemed about right – a mix of young Japanese people (dressed in clothes ranging from “club-appropriate” to “Hooters casual Friday”) and foreigners clearly very interested in the prior.
My enjoyment of a club hinges on the DJs music selection – I’m not naturally inclined to just start dancing, so the best way to get me moving is to play music I don’t dwell too much on. I’m not a very fun person to hang out with. Sam and Dave’s musical prospects seemed very bleak at first…I’m I total dick when it comes to music, but it’s not like I was shouting out at the DJ to cue up Deerhoof. I just want something dancey and poppy to move to. What I got, at first, was soulless techno music ripped from the Fruity Loops demo page and what sounded like Daughtry. When the DJ dropped a dance remix of Linkin Park’s “Numb” I had to literally stop dancing to process the series of events in my life that had led to me being at this club listening to a dance remix of Linkin Park’s “Numb” and wondering if humanity could be redeemed. Again, I’m not a fun person to go out with.
After a bit, though, I loosened up and started getting into the whole dancing thing. It helped that they started playing more pop music, even if it meant a Lady Gaga remix. Once you get caught up with what is going on, it’s easy to get totally swallowed up by the club world. For me, this means me doing things that are extremely unlike me – dancing, being flirtatious, talking to strangers who may not know a word of English. I was able to impress one girl by flexing my knowledge of J-Pop trio Perfume…never thought that knowledge would come in handy. Like everyone else, I temporarily shed my former self in the name of having a good time. Which I did.
Problem is, when you’ve been up for 18 hours beforehand the club eventually transforms from an escapist paradise to a little version of hell with every hour. The red hue became more sinister. The DJ played Flo Rida’s “Right Round” for the third time. A scantly clad woman got up on the bar and started dancing around. A WALL OF FLAMES WENT OFF BEHIND HER TO ENHANCE THE SHOW. If Dante sipped on Patron this is how we’d remember The Inferno. Eventually, all I wanted to do was get out of this netherworld and see the sun again.
That was a stupid thought. Once we actually left at about 6:15 in the morning, the sun became our greatest enemy, beaming down into our faces and making the walk back to the train station a death march. Stunningly, Sam and Dave was still operating until 8 a.m., and I heard a few other people talking about going to another club…at 6:30 a.m. No better way to start the day than with more Zima! All I could do was stare blankly at my iPhone while riding the train back home wondering when I could collapse into bed.
(Japanese Fun Fact #14 – You all know Japan’s first lady is insane in the membrane, right?)