Many of the little bars and eateries I like to visit are completely unknown quantities on the inside — their faded exteriors not always reflective of what lies behind the sliding doors. The contents of this ramshackle structure by the side of a road several hours north of Tokyo, on the other hand, were pretty much exactly as imagined, right down to the septuagenarian owner. A man who has been running the place for nearly half a decade, and at 78 years of age, has no intention of shutting up shop just yet. In fact he rarely even has holidays, opening seven nights a week and only taking time off to celebrate special occasions.
The one unexpected thing, however, was the complete lack of a toilet. A situation that’s not ideal when beers are being consumed. So it was either try and somehow gallantly hold on, or pop round the side and brave the elements. And so somewhat inevitably, several unceremonious sojourns into the bushes were added to the experience of the evening.