Monday, June 27, 2005

Experiences at GB in Shinjuku 2-chome, Tokyo

A few years ago I worked for a Japanese bank, and a couple of times a year I would have to visit head office in Tokyo. There is a thriving gay scene in Tokyo, especialy in the Shinjuku 2-chome district, although as with many things in Tokyo there’s one scene for gaijin (foreigners) and another Japanese only scene.

The most famous gay bar in Tokyo for gaijin (and Japanese guys who like gaijin) is called GB, which apparently stands for “Ginger Bar” named after the singer Ginger Rogers. It’s just a single room in a basement, quite small and often packed. As well as using to find guys for fun, on each trip to Tokyo I would also try and visit this bar to try and meet guys in the old-fashioned (off-line) way.

On one occasion I picked up a young but slightly overweight Japanese fashion designer who drove me back to his appartment for a bit of fun. He was definitely a style queen, the car he drove was a two seater convertible. After we’d had a bit of fun he didn’t want me to stay the night with him because he had to head off early to put on a fashion show somewhere south of Tokyo. I also had a plane to catch.

But the most interesting visits to GB related to when I left the bar alone.

On one occasion, it’s late in the evening when I leave GB. I decide to try and find the gay sauna which I know is located near there, so I get out a small map to try and work out the way. Perhaps I should be more careful in foreign cities to avoid publicising the fact that I don't know my way around, but the street outside GB is almost deserted, apart from a couple of young guys seated on the steps opposite who look completely harmless.

I find the sauna, it’s in a small back alley, but when I get to the door there’s a sign on it in both Japanese and English – Japanese speakers only. Ahhh well, too bad. Apart from GB I know there are also several other bars in the area, so I head off to try and find one of them. But I fail! Maybe my information is out of date, or maybe it’s just that I’m having trouble working out the Japanese system for specifying addresses – no less logical than the western method of “house number, street name” but just completely different.

I head back to the subway. I’m half way down the steps and someone says “Hey”. I look up and there’s a young Japanese guy, dressed in loose fitting clothes with a small rucksack, talking do me.

“Don’t go yet, I can show you where to go”. He seems anxious for me not to go back to my hotel.

How does he know what I’m looking for? Why does it matter to him whether I go or not? Am I going to be mugged? Is he employed by the owner of a local gay bar to entice gaijin inside where there are expensive rent boys? I can’t decide whether to trust him a bit, or to head back to the hotel. He can tell I’m wavering.

“Can I just show you a bar, not too far? We can go inside if you like, it’s up to you.” He looks me up and down smiling – with his eyes resting just momentarily on my crotch. He’s cruising me! But is he paid to do this? Or if I recriprocate, will he end up wanting money? Against my better judgement I have to find out.

“OK, why don’t you show me”, I say, giving in. I’ve only had one drink at GB, I hope that I’ll be able to look after myself if things turn nasty.

As we’re walking back along the streets near GB bar, he tries to talk to me. His English isn’t very good, but we can just about communicate. He seems like a nice guy, perhaps he just wants to practise his English on me? We go into another bar together and he doesn’t seem to know anyone there. I get him to order me a beer and he orders a soft drink for himself, although I pay. Same price as GB, so that’s not the scam. We sit down next to each other and chat. He’s still a student. Gradually we get closer to each other, and then he rubs my knee every so gently.

“Is there anywhere we can go?” he says.

Well if he’s not going to ask for money, maybe it’s my lucky night. He is a lovely looking, young Japanese guy, and he’s effectively just asked to have a bit of fun with me.

“Do you want to come back to my hotel?” This is it, if he wants money I should find out now.

“OK sure”. He smiles at me and rubs my hand. So he doesn’t want money, he just wants my body! Fine my me!!

Outside we take a cab and spend a lovely night together. In the morning I take him down for breakfast in the hotel restaurant, and after that we say goodbye.

On my next visit to Tokyo I also visit GB one evening. Leaving alone, again there a couple of harmless looking young Japanese guys on the steps opposite the bar. But as I walk off, one of them gets up and follows me. Like last time I wander round the streets trying to find another gay venue. Yes, although he’s trying to make sure I don’t see him, he’s definitely following me.

Thinking back to my last visit, it all starts to make sense. The guy last time knew I was gay because he saw me come out of GB. Nothing more sinister than young Japanese guys who like having fun with gaijin.

So the same thing happens again. I end up talking to the guy who’s following me, although this time we dispense with the bar and head straight back to my hotel. This one was gorgeous, just as young but somehow he’s fitter than the prevoius guy. We have fun, he stays the night, and in the morning I take him to breakfast.

Now I think I know how things work, on my next visit I try the same method. But I’m too eager. I leave GB, I get followed by one of the young guys on the steps outside GB, but perhaps because I try and talk to him too soon he runs away. Damm!! Next time I’ll be more careful.

Before my next trip to Tokyo happens, I get a job with a different bank. But if I ever return to Tokyo, I’m definitely going to see whether there are still young guys outside GB looking for fun with gaijin.

Update 8-Jan-2011: I went back to GB bar for a drink with boyfriend T, see Another visit to GB in Shinjuki 2-chome, Tokyo.


Anonymous said...

For us Japanese the unofficial name for GB is Gaijin Bar. It is mainly for white men and potato queens.

GB said...

I'd never thought of GB="Gaijin Bar". It could well be that my "Ginger Bar" story is incorrect, my source was a western gay guide to Tokyo. Anyway, since I'm not welcome in the Japanese only gay bars, I'm glad places like GB exist.

Anonymous said... on the street looking for a place to stay for the night - and a free breakfast, too! You obviously have not been in Tokyo for very long to realize that is about all these guys wanted. Young guys sometimes miss trains, etc. and figure it is easy to get an average/chubby, etc. gaijin into bed and get a free night's stay somewhere. I wouldn't pat yourself on your back too hard just yet.

Anonymous said...

I spent one wonderful year as regular at GB while working in Tokyo. The manager was wonderful, and I met many Japanese friends, mainly a man named Susumu; whom I have lost contact with. Is Kaiji sill the manager? I would love to know how to get in touch with either of them.

Anonymous said...

"looking for a place to stay for the night - and a free breakfast"


There are plenty of manga kissa/internet cafes to peruse for those few hours before the trains start. And convenience stores (open 24 hours, naturally) are everywhere. Do you actually think Japanese are that poor/desperate?

Anonymous said...

japanese guys has many options for sleeping overnight after the train stops: sauna, capsule hotels, etc...if some japanese guy speaks to you and follows you, thats indeed because he is interested!

Anonymous said...

I always thought 'GB' stood for Gaijin Botchi (Foreigner's Cemetry)

A LGBT in investment banking said...

Hi, I am a transsexual (the only one so far) in investment banking in Tokyo. Can you recommend a place in Tokyo where ppl like me may meet older white men?

Unknown said...

Hi. Amazing stuff! Would you recommend GB (or whatever follows) to a 20-25 year old slim effeminate bi gaijin looking for casual sex with gorgeous Japanese boys?

GB said...

I'd definitely suggest that area in Tokyo, Pete. However, the guys that followed me after I'd visited GB were definitely much more gorgeous than the ones drinking (and smoking) in the bar itself!

GB xxx

Unknown said...

Will be visiting Tokyo def.2 chome
I'm Asian American w/soupcon japanese speaking

Question:where should I go, then?

GB said...

If you find anywhere better, G, then please let us know :-).

GB xxx

Unknown said...


Wish my trips will be full surprise and cum'

Keep on posting your adventure as well, please


Anonymous said...

Hi there I guess if you are a white male in japan your chances are pretty high of finding a hook up or let say a date, in my case I'm doomed, who the he'll want to date a mixed Mexican guy, when white gaijins are looking for Japanese guys and Japanese guys are looking for white foreigners... For a guy like me that doesn't look so "Mexican", neither too white nor darker, is just hell... One have to learn to survive in the "indefinition" of an interracial background And most the time the surrounding prejudices are staggering, for many japanese mexico sound exotic but they don't wanna know anything else... Yes and avoid the white foreigners crews, don't show any national pride (ha if there is something excelling now, which I doubt), revealing your nationality is even worst than being black... Specially the french, so that's my story...

GB said...

But, recent anomymous commenter (whoever you are), my experience is that mixed race guys are always the most gorgeous guys around! Somehow, mixing genes from two different gene pools always seems to create something wonderful :-). But I won’t deny that prejudice can make people blind to the beauty of mixed race guys.

GB xxx

Jimmy said...


I remember GB clearly. I'm not into Japanese but as a latin brazilian I was a hot commodity out there in the Gay world anyway so I had foreigners after me. I met my Australian BF at GB about 10 years ago now in 2000. Wow, how time flies and right across the street is Dragon bar/night club. All the gay military boys would go there and have fun.

Those were the days; not to mention once the Disney queens appeared there were so many orgies it would be ridiculous to describe here. Also Fuji karaoke bar was lots of fun but mostly Japanese older men hung out there.

Callum said...

I'm a twenty year old Australian guy, anywhere you can recommend for a twinkish blonde haired blue eyed guy to go? Looking to meet mature japanese men, or other foreign men :)

Soccerphile said...

Dragon and GB in Shinjuku 2-chome would be your best bets if youre looking for older guys, as these bars have a good age mix.

Anonymous said...

GB was the first gay bar I visited in 1986 while living in Japan - there were some other places for foreigners, but I always came back to GB. Never made a friend there, but it was fun being there. In 1990 I was there the last time. I have only fond memories.

Anonymous said...

I spent 6 years in Japan, and while it was hard getting Japanese guys who were into foreigners, I had some very sexy, very freaky young Japanese guys. When they were hot, they were REALLY hot! I didn't have much luck at GB, but cruised the toilets and had lots of fun!

Bob said...

Hmm, sounds interesting. I found a gay guide website called gclick (all in Japanese, but if you open it with Chrome, the automatic translations aren't too terrible). As well as Ni-chome, there appears to be a few other little gay districts dotted about (always compartmentalised, in the Japanese way XD). As the other ones are low profile, they probably restrict gaijin even more. But a few on gclick have a "foreigners ok" label.
No luck finding a gay rock bar, yet, though. But there is a live venue very close to ni-chome. Might find a long haired omipolone in there one night XD