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Suzy's Bar, Takasaki

Hits 23948 | Created 2007-05-23 | Modified 2007-05-23

Ah, the memories. This was a bar in Takasaki, where I used to drink in 1996/1997.

If you have any stories about this place, send them to me and I might publish them here.


So I sat, alone, at the end of the bar, staring across the room to where some Canadians were laughing, screaming, and generally flirting with the off-duty strippers.

This is Suzy's Bar in Takasaki, Gunma, Japan, and it's perhaps six or so years ago.

Everyone I know has left to go home and the time is fast approaching five a.m. Even Mino, the hyper-active co-owner of the bar, has slumped into a seat in the corner of the room.

I get up from my stool and wander behind the bar with my empty beer glass, and pour myself another. Mino's sixth bar-sense made him open his eyes and watch me. When I had finished he made writing motions with his hand and I dutifully scratched another mark onto my bar tab. The bar had a curious way of keeping tally of drinks, instead of using four straight lines and a diagonal to make a five and a 'gate', they'd use some complex pattern that no doubt made sense in Japanese, but to a gaijin was merely confusing.

I passed by the Canadians and strippers and eyed one blonde girl from Finland. She looked at me with eyes that told me she was just toying with the man who was chewing her hair in a teenage attempt at flirtation. I felt sorry for him. This was the kind of girl whom you couldn't trust, I decided.

After I had passed by she turned back to him, let out a little yelp and squirmed in his lap, making his eyes roll.

I sat back down at my bar stool and lit a beedi, the little Indian cigarettes made from rolled up leaves filled with nothing more than a bit of stuff swept up off the floor, probably. They didn't sell rolling tobacco in Japan, much to my horror, and these were the closest thing I could find to it in town. Every time I went to the local (and only) Indian restaurant in town I used to buy about six packets, much to their consternation.

I wondered if I should go home. I felt like a loser, sitting all alone in this bar.

At this moment, Dobu, the other owner poked his head through the curtains at the back of the bar and looked around. His eyes stayed on the drunken Mino for a while and I tried to read his expression, but his face was always a mystery to me. He caught me looking at him and smiled before ducking back through the curtain.

Dobu rarely got drunk and seldom said a word. Neither of them really spoke any English, and we generally got by with pointing and mime, along with a few badly pronounced Japanese words. Mino would always look disgusted and shocked whenever we said anything at all in Japanese and shake his head, running over to correct us. He would shout the word in obvious fury, pulling a face like a Kabuki actor discovering his entire family had just been murdered. It was only later that we discovered that this was the normal way for men to say such things.

The blonde girl had left the disappointed looking Canadian and walked across the bar to sit next to me. We engaged in small talk whilst she examined me, seemingly making up her mind about something.

'Are you gay?' She said, finally.

'What?' I spluttered.

'Everyone thinks you're gay. Is Peter your boyfriend?' She smiled sweetly.

'No, I'm not gay. Peter is just a friend. Why does everyone think I'm gay?' I asked.

She thought about this. 'You just look it.' She said, then added, 'I'm glad you're not gay...' A wicked look came into her eyes.

We chatted some more. She worked in the hostess club next door where most of the girls simply sat with, and chatted to, Yakuza gangsters; but where the real money was to be made by stripping for them on stage, or simply sleeping with them.

She finished telling me a story about one of the other girls who had taken some crystal meth and woken up the next day, naked, in a strange Japanese man's bed. 'And she didn't know if she'd had sex with him or not!'

She sipped at her drink and used her toe to worry a bit of loose wood on the bar stool.

'The big boss came in tonight...' She began. The 'big boss' was the Yakuza boss, not the club boss I learnt, '...and he had a bandage on his hand where one of his fingers was missing! I asked him what happened and he said "accident". But I asked someone else and they said that he had to cut it off as one of his men had made some mistake, so he had the choice of having his man killed or cutting off a finger.'

I thought about this. We had met an ex-gangster in a nearby town a few weeks ago with only one finger and one thumb left on each hand.

'Ex-gangster?' We had asked him.

'Yes,' he had said, looking sombre, 'I could not afford any more mistakes.'

I noticed the Canadian man glaring at me across the room. The blonde girl noticed too and looked at me, the wicked look had returned. 'Come on,' she said, 'let's go back to your place.'

I finished my beer in one gulp.

Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by Steven Hits | Last Modified 2008-05-30
I loved that place!!!! I heard that it burnt down a couple of years ago. As for your story, I totally understand, CRAZY, god love the Hostes.
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by Ralpharama Hits | Last Modified 2008-05-31
Yeah, one of the boys fell asleep after a big session and the place caught fire... Doesn't surprise me! Ah, good memories... Any pictures?
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by anna kameda ramos Hits | Last Modified 2008-11-10
i loved suzi's bar when i lived in takasaki.the best place to have fun
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by Jenny Hits | Last Modified 2009-10-09
Mino is a legend! Dobu dissappeared... those were amazing days... nights... and days again.... Great memories!
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by Jenny Hits | Last Modified 2009-11-05
Just remembered, my raving buddy was named Ono-chan.. I know he is married now to our happy raving buddy... good memories!!
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by Jenny Hits | Last Modified 2009-11-05

Honestly, This bar was a major part of my experience in Japan, Minoru Suzuki san was one of my best friends! I wouldn't call myself a stripper but I did work at the bar next door and some people may have seen my boobs once or twice, but that is not what it is all about... The amount of unbridled fun that we had in that bar, usually from 3am - whenever Mino kicked us out has been beaten by none, and I was there before the turn of the century... wow, never said that before! I guess my boots burnt down with the bar, but I heard Minoru suzuki chan started another bar somewhere... if anyone is still in touch with him, please please let me know.. also Ken Chan who started the White bar, my really fun raving buddies, who'd wait till 3am to take me to party in yoyogy park, tokyo, for the big weekend raves.. names names... wish I could remember them... oh yes, one was ... Masaru.. very tall and very good looking, Also Oko? Yoko? Can't remember... But I do remember Anna, who posted here, let's find each other again... thank you for making this site, I really want to find my friends again! Those were the best times.. get me on jennyblenny@live.com Some of the best memories of my life!
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by anna kameda ramos Hits | Last Modified 2009-12-24
hi Jenny there is my e-mail daiki27@hotmail.com...r u stil in japan like?i moved 2 england but i missss takasaki- new las vegas club and that 1 next 2 suzys bar.had a good time there.dont remember names but i liked 1 off the bar mates in suzys-he was hot:))))
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by alex Hits | Last Modified 2010-06-27
hi everybody!!!
it's me , alex from poland, worker of ces't jour, jenny and anna , do you remember us? poul, darek, and alex??? my email is tencio@o2.pl
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by deano Hits | Last Modified 2010-10-18
hey, everyone and alex from poland, its english dean also worked at cest jour, the above story sounds like every night after work!
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by chris Hits | Last Modified 2011-07-26
I wish Mino could check this out and post his phone number or something~
I too, have lots of crazy but fond memories from Suzy's in Takasaki. at one point, I would stay there for a week at a time, sleeping upstairs in Mino's tiny flat and party 'til morning.
I remember the strip joint at the end of that street where I used to hang out once in a while. I still remember some of the girls but I won't name names here. I can say it was one of the highlights of my 7 years in Japan. Thanks Mino~~I still consider you like my older brother.
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by Hits | Last Modified 2011-10-25
hi guys and yes i do remember .yeah guys from ces't jour where hot hot hot hahaha.dean is that u who had a sister working in japan to .i am trying to find her she was mine and agas good friend
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by Henio Hits | Last Modified 2011-11-04
Hi,i´m from brazil and i used to get drunk at mino´s bar too...i do remenber the poland guy and the girls that used to dance at ces´t jour...good times...I was there when suzy´s bar get fired...belive me or not,but me and another friend just asked the fried potato that start the fire...i saw mino about 3 years ago...with a new suzy´s bar...but it´s not like the old Suzy´s bar...
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by BigEoghan Hits | Last Modified 2011-11-17
Cool. I spent nearly every night of my 4 month college placement in Takasaki (Sep - Dec 99) in Suzy's, almost always the last to leave at stupid o'clock. :-) The perfect bar - good beer, good customers, great owners, open forever and with a good helping of craziness just to keep things interesting. I was back for one night in 2002 (World Cup) and went to the new Suzy's - not as good but still stayed drinking with Mino and a few others till dawn. Have some photos from both 99 and 02. Anyone know if I can post them somewhere? Eoghan (Owen to you foreign types :-D) from Ireland.
Comment Suzy's Bar, Takasaki comment by seiji kumazawa from mexico Hits | Last Modified 2012-05-31
minos bar was my best days in japan, with my cousin julios from peru we has a lots of memories from minos bar if somebody can tell me minos email I will be thankfull i want to say hello to minos

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