Drinking · EAT! Hamamatsu · Hamamatsu

DRINK! Hamamatsu : An EAT! Hamamatsu Special

I’ve mentioned before that in many ways Hamamatsu is the Sunderland of Japan.
(Osaka is the Newcastle of Japan btw.)

This is for so many reasons – but mostly that while as uninteresting it may be in general, nevertheless there is many a watering hole in which to spend your hard-earned (debatable) wages. Here are a bunch of my favourites…



Kagiya tends to be a favourite for a lot of people in Hamamatsu and is usually a 50/50 mix of locals and gaijin.
Most drinks are only ¥500 and they also offer bar snacks including pretty good cheap pizzas.
If you’re looking for a language exchange group: there’s one that meets every Monday from 7pm. It’s ¥500 entry and includes a drink.

The Lord Nelson

The Lord Nelson

My pal Felipe asked me if The Lord Nelson is named after my local in the UK. Doubtful. Nobody who visits Jarrow leaves with all their limbs intact.
Are you even an expat if you don’t frequent the local British pub? (There’s a chain in Japan called Hub, but The Lord Nelson is independent.)

There’s canny enough beers on tap, and an impressive selection of Japanese and imported spirits – especially if you like whiskey. Food is fairly cheap too, around ¥600 for decent fish and chips.
The staff are really friendly with a high level of English, and if you’re a regular you can sit at the bar and they’re happy to chat to you.

The Smuggler

The Smuggler

The Smuggler is another British pub…that has a pet owl and a cat. Do I need to say anything more?
The music selection is actually very authentic – they often play UK artists such as Robbie Williams, Take That, Little Mix etc. I haven’t ordered the food myself but I’ve heard it’s pretty bomb.



A cool standing bar which is particularly lovely in summer. A mostly Japanese crowd and a nice drinks selection including beers, wine and spirits.

No Name Bar

No Name Bar

Ahh No Name. It should be called No Shame Bar, being as it’s the place of all bad decisions.

Usually I can’t remember my own name by the time I’m stumbling out of here.
Good bottled and tap beer selection (I’m usually on the Sam Adams but their cocktails are only around ¥600) and the staff are all super-nice, especially the lovely Hassim. Tell him I say hello!
If you’re feeling peckish, there are some authentic Turkish bar snacks on offer such as shish kebabs.

Liquid Kitchen

Liquid Kitchen

Hamamatsu’s premier divebar, ran by an Australian nutcase named Marty. Pretty much exclusively an international crowd if that’s your thing.
I’m usually too steaming by the time I’m in Liquid to take a decent photo, so enjoy this one from their Instagram page of Felipe looking like a Mexican drug lord (his words).

Mein Schloss

Mein Schloss

I’ve done a full post about Mein Schloss here already, but drinks-wise if you’re into craft ales they have their own brewery and they’re all really good. I do recommend the food, but if you’re just looking for beverages they have a nice beer garden.

Beer House Tir na n-Og

Beer House Tir na n-Og

A bar specialising in regional and national craft ales. It’s pretty pricey – about ¥1000 upwards for a pint, but really nice if you fancy something different to most other bars in Hamamatsu. There’s also a small selection of bar snacks – sausages, peanuts, pretzels etc. Mostly a Japanese crowd.

Grindhouse Rock Bar

Grindhouse Rock Bar

Hamamatsu’s premier rock bar, which reminds me of my beloved Trillians back home in Newcastle. As you can imagine they often have a band on with reasonable cover charge. Usual selection of beers and spirits. A fairly mixed crowd, Grindhouse is popular with Brazilians!

There are of course so, so many more – but some I have completely stumbled into my accident and never been able to find again on Google Maps (the bar of requirement?). So I’ll leave the rest of the exploring up to you!

~ Carla

Drinking · Lifestyle

Hungover in Hamamatsu

NOTE: The sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants has been banned for two months already in several prefectures in Japan – including Shizuoka, and looks like it’ll be extended until October. Just know that I’m absolutely clamming for a pint.

Just like the UK, Japan has a big drinking culture. From cheap beer to expensive sake, if you enjoy hitting the sauce then there really is something for everyone.

With inhibitions lowered, Japan transforms into a different place at night – akin to a session down the Bigg Market in Newcastle on a Saturday night.

The same people who go to work with their heads down, eyes fixed on their phones, nodding and bowing and agreeing and hai hai hai-ing all day really know how to let their hair down at the weekend. In a matter of hours these same people are shouting, screaming, singing, hugging in the streets well into the early hours.

Public transport stops pretty early in most cities – around 11pm-midnight, so your options are run for the last train, pay for an expensive taxi or – the most popular option – stay out all night until the first train home at 5am. (Karaoke is a good call for this. 24-hour McDonalds are commonplace too.) Most train stations even have guards stationed at the weekend to stop merrymakers falling onto the tracks.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve almost been steamrollered by a group of guys holding each other up, almost tripping over the most kawaii of kawaii girls puking in the street while their friend holds their hair back, or people flat out fast asleep in bars, on walls, in bus stops, on the pavement still in their black business suit.

As you can expect of course, the last train home is definitely an experience.
One of my favourites was a group of salarymen literally threw their colleague (who was wearing a silly hat) out of a train carriage presumably at his station. He waved and shouted a hearty おはようございます (“Good morning!”) as the doors closed. As the train pulled away, we all saw him fall backwards in the direction of a bemused guard, a look of elation on his face.

But as always – what comes up, must come down.
Even as someone who is a bit of a seasoned drinker (annoyingly, Felipe can still outdrink me) and a Geordie, living in Japan has blessed me with some of the worst hangovers (“futsukayoi” in Japanese…as I’ve now learned) in my life.

Thankfully, Japan is well prepared for such situations because of course they are.
Here are my favourite hangover remedies…

Before (and/or after): Ukon no Chikara

Famous Souvenirs from Japan: Ukon No Chikara (ウコンの力) - Easy Travel

As always in life, it’s all about preparation, preparation, preparation.

There are a plethora of little bottles of liquid cures in every conbini containing ingredients such as tumeric, vitamin C, B, and iron which are believed to help break down toxins and alcohol during the night.
They’re also pretty helpful the day after – but some are pretty gross tasting (such as Ukon no Chikara above, the top seller) and difficult to keep down after a particularly heavy night. Apparently.

During: Ramen

It’s very popular amongst Japanese drinkers to stop at a ramen place for a pick-me-up.

Personally, I can’t stomach a bowl full of rich broth and noodles while drinking (my drunk food is McDonalds) however at my last niji-kai before the ‘rona, I told my co-teachers I would just order a pop. But because they were all half-cut and eager to treat me, I suddenly found myself with five glasses of Coca Colas in front of me.

After: Pocari Sweat

ポカリスエット(POCARI SWEAT) ポカリスエット 500ml (メンズ、レディース、キッズ) 通販 LINEポイント最大0.5%GET |  LINEショッピング

My favourite hangover remedy is a cold bottle of Pocari Sweat, a delicious electrolyte drink with a terrible name. Similar to Gatoraid in the US and Lucozade in the UK it contains potassium and magnesium to rehydrate you. However unlike them, it doesn’t have a lot of carbonation or a strong taste – a little citrusy and a little salty which I appreciate.

It’s available in convenience stores, but most vending machines also have it – really easy to grab a bottle (or two) as I’m stumbling home.

Also trust me, it pairs perfectly with a few 7-11 hash browns. *chefs kiss*

So there you have it, you’re now prepared for a big Japanese night out.
After the ‘rona, of course. Stupid ‘rona.

~ Carla

JKMH · Language

Japan Keeping Me Humble #17

Not in my vodkabulary

So in front of all my teachers INCLUDING THE VICE PRINCIPAL, I was trying to say “I’ll go for two days”.
Know that I tried so SO hard in HORRIBLE broken Japanese:

私は二日通いです (Watashi wa futsuka gayoi desu)

However I came out with:

私は二日酔いです (Watashi wa futsukayoi desu)
(I am hungover)

Thank GOD the teachers at my school have a good sense of humour and explained my mistake after they’d finished pissing themselves laughing.

~ Carla

PS: Sorry for being quiet lately, it’s been spring vacation!


Japan Keeping Me Humble #16

Whiskey Business.

Today I was doing “What do you want me to do?” with my 3rd graders. They had to answer “I want you to bring _________” in relation to a BBQ, a birthday party or a school trip.

One student said: “I want you to bring me a highball.”
(A highball is a popular drink here consisting of scotch and soda water. It also comes in the form of a lethal 9% canned cocktail that TRUST ME leaves you with a pounding headache the next day.)

Nice try though, me little hun.
Aww, they know their ALT is from Newcastle.

I guess this is the Japanese schoolkid equivalent of “Can you gan into the shop for me…?

~ Carla