When I was living in Tokyo, I met an American. She was tall, blonde, unbelievably good looking, with the longest legs I've ever seen. She was recently married to an American guy who spoke fluent Japanese, and had been sent to work in Tokyo by his company in New York. He was also sickenly good looking. It was my great good fortune to meet them within the first few weeks of my arriving in Tokyo. They took me under their fun-loving, kind and quick to laugh wing, and taught me everything I needed to know about Living a Glittery Life in Tokyo.
After work, whenever schedules allowed, I would wend my way, via the underground system, to their little flat in a Tokyo suburb. They lived above an older, retired Japanese couple, who had converted their house into two self-contained flats. My friends had the top flat, which was small and open plan. The kitchenette diner led into the lounge. Off that was their bedroom. There was a small bathroom. No pets were allowed.
Within weeks of moving into their flat, my newly married friends decided they wanted to start a family as soon as possible. And before too long their first addition arrived.
A small, grey, dwarf, house rabbit called Petie. He spent his days bobbing around the flat, and being swiftly hoofed into the cupboard if the landlord made an unscheduled visit. The landlord didn't like noise. He thought the sound of breathing was too loud. He especially didn't like laughing. We laughed a lot. He made a lot of unscheduled visits.
Whenever we were able to get together, and the mood took us, we would make our way from my friends' flat into Roppongi, in Tokyo, to our favourite bar there. Magumbo's. The staff in Magumbo's were all, for some reason, American. And they loved to serve beer, tequila shots and cocktails. Magumbo's was unbelievably small, with a central, circular bar that customer's sat around on stools. The bar staff worked in the inner circle of the bar, moving around the circle serving. The bar sat maybe twenty people. It was fantastic.
With quite a kick for a non-alcoholic beverage. I thought.
On my days off, I would take myself into Harajuku in Tokyo, to go for breakfast at a cafe bar there, before doing a bit of sight-seeing and shopping. I started to order Lond Island Ice Teas with my breakfast.
I did this for several weeks. It was only when the cafe bar got a new American barman that anyone mentioned anything.
It's a bit early to be drinking isn't it?
The Japanese staff had all been too polite to say anything to the wee English Lush who ordered cocktails with breakfast.
Those days off were some of the happiest of my life, as I meandered around Tokyo. Ever-So-Slightly-Hammered. But without a clue.
Now I'm back in the UK. Life has a different pace. But every time I taste a Long Island Ice Tea it takes me straight back to my days in Tokyo. Good times.
What could be more creative than making cocktails? I thought today as I sat at my computer, looking out of my window at the grey, overcast day. So I'm on the lookout for a vintage cocktail shaker. My plan is to get some friends round. Bake up some cupcakes. Maybe knock up a pizza or two, and then get creative with my cocktail shaker.
In memory of Happy Times in Tokyo .
So much fun.
Does anyone have a great cocktail recipe or two?