The awesome folks at Trans-Pacific Radio put together a cool meetup of Tokyo bloggers, blog readers, and general techy Westerners at the Pink Cow in Shibuya. It was huge! They expected about twenty or thirty attendees, and I think we probably topped out with over fifty.
It was really nice to talk with non-exchange-student foreigners for a change. I love my exchange buddies to death, but we're all in the same boat, studying, exploring the city, and goofing off, knowing that we're bound for another year at uni before we have to face the big, scary adult world.
Tonight, though, I got a cross-section of all sorts of foreigners living and working in Japan. There were English teachers, consultants, grad students, a guy from Apple, a reasearcher for The Economist, a photographer, a Fulbright scholar studying Mah-Jongg, guys from the Yokohama military base, and all sorts of random ex-pats and travelers. Some studied here and stayed, some came through work, some came for love. Some seem to be doing great, others struggle with the job market, the language, or the place in society Japan sets aside for foreigners here. Talking to everybody broadened my ideas about what I want to do post-graduation- I'm pretty sure I'll be back here within a year and a half, doing small business consulting or corporate training, helping all the brilliant unknown people and projects in Tokyo grab some recognition, investment capital, customers, and business partners from the rest of the world.
The Pink Cow is a new addition to a growing list of restaurants that feel more like Portland or San Francisco than Tokyo. It had a funky, hipster vibe, actual western beer on tap, a cool california-ish buffet, a full English-speaking staff, and space for a band or DJ. Runs on the pricey side (drinks 600-800, dinner buffet 2800), but what other restaurant in Tokyo brands itself an "expat hangout bar…with live music"?