Big in Japan: A Night Out at Tokyo’s Gas Panic

There is a house in Tokyo.
They call the Rising Sun.
It’s been the ruin of many a poor foreigner,
and me, o’ God, for one.

If I had listened what Mamma said,
I’d ‘a’ been at home today.
Being so young and foolish, poor boy,
let a pretty Japanese girl lead me astray.

The only thing a drunkard needs
is a night out at Gas Panic.
The only time he’s satisfied
is when he’s out on a drunk.

Fills his shot glasses to the brim,
passes them around
only pleasure he gets out of life
is chasing girls around Tokyo.

Let’s clear something up right off the bat. If you think Japan is all about order, cleanliness, subservience, minimalism and restraint, clearly you’ve never been out in Tokyo on a Friday night.

Although I’m an American (one of the few who has a passport I might add), I consider myself to be fairly well traveled. And, being that I love a good drink from time to time, I make it a point of exploring the night life in virtually every country I visit.

Truth be told, and feel free to disagree with me to your heart’s content, Tokyo’s raging nightlife bests New York City, London, Paris, Hong Kong and just about any other city that I know. Of course, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, given that 35+ million people working 100+ hours per week need to let out some steam from time to time.

If you ever do find yourself in Tokyo, make a point of stopping by a little place in Roppongi known as ‘Gas Panic.’ I promise you that you’ll never look at Japanese people the same way again.

Gas Panic is one of the most notorious clubs in Tokyo, particularly because it’s a mixing ground for foreigners on the prowl and Japanese ready to give it up. It’s a bastion of cheap liquor, sultry beats, loose women, hungry men and enough dancing space to loosen up the legs as well as the drawers. It also serves as a classic introduction to the dirty underbelly of Japanese culture, which sits at the opposite end of the spectrum from raked pebble gardens and silken kimonos.

Now, I know there are a healthy number of resident foreigners and self-respecting Japanese who won’t go near Roppongi, let alone the den of sin that is Gas Panic. But, I’ve always believed that in order to fully understand a culture, you need to experience its best and its worst.

And, let me tell you – Gas Panic is arguably Japan at its worst.

But of course, a little booze and some casual sex never hurt anyone, which is why Gas Panic has reached the heights of fame amongst those in the know. It’s the kinda place where you can forget your name, forget your identity, forget all about life’s little troubles, and most likely forget most of the night if you don’t go easy on the booze.

Sure, it’s sinful, but a little hedonism never damned anyone…

To reach Gas Panic, take the Hibiya Line to Roppongi or a taxi to Roppongi Crossing. The club is located off of Roppongi-dori just past the Don Quijote department store.