The Tokyo Vegan Meetup May 2007

The day was far from over, however. I did go back to my apartment but I could only spend a few minutes there because it was time for the Vegan Meetup group. The meetup gathered near Kinshicho Station in a restaurant selling various vegetarian and vegan dishes. There were various street musicians playing outside and I had difficulties finding the place (the landmark points were not overly helpful).

The people at the meetup were very international. The organizer (George) is from the U.S., various Japanese, an Indian and some other nationalities. Being late, I found a place at the end of the long table, sitting next to two Japanese who are part of a band. There was an introduction round where everyone had to tell his/her reason for being a vegetarian. As it turned out, we had an impostor among us: Ray, who is a carnivore (that word sounds quite barbaric, don’t you think?). Of course he had a hard time afterwards, but he’s alright and it’s not like a group of vegetarians/vegans keeps talking about salads and tofu for hours.

Restaurant in Tokyo


Still I got a few addresses of restaurants from one of the band members. When you look at the Japanese cuisine you will have a hard time believing that they were once a society with lots of meat-less meals. Now they seem to be the biggest meat eaters on the planet, throwing a piece of pig or cow in almost any meal.

One of the vegan group members showed me a handy little notebook which contains a description about vegans in dozens of languages. You could show it to the restaurant owner if you are unlucky enough to find someone who has no concept about what vegetarians or vegans are allowed to eat. The same guy also studies Esperanto (crazy, but in a positive way) and gave everyone who asked or didn’t ask a calendar in Esperanto.

The restaurant served a set of dishes, so we had lots of smaller meals, each very delicious.

There was also a German in the group so we talked a little in German language but the main language spoken was English today. While everyone was encouraged to “mingle” and switch to a different seat, most stayed at their places. The group was not overly huge…

People enjoying food at the meetup

…which is a good thing for group shots 🙂 Ray also filmed a bit. He is participating in a Final Cut user group which, being a FCP user myself, sounded good. He publishes videos on YouTube mainly about his project to restore old Japanese houses to be used by artists.

Crazy ideas part 1: I told Ray about the Asakusa matsuri and he asked me if I wanted to take part in a similar matsuri, helping by carrying a portable shrine. I agreed. Uh oh.

After the meetup a few of use were open to the idea of having a drink. After a lot of thinking about where to go, we just went to the bar next to the veggie restaurant 😉

And oh-oh once more because I agreed to take part in the Tokyo marathon. A “group run” was supposed. At least I added that it also depends on the body condition. It’s not like being vegetarian alone makes you a good long-distance runner.

I realized that I must have been drunk without having drunken anything. Oh well, the best way to remedy this is to drink something.

When we went back to the train station, there were still some street musicians, playing to a non-existent audience. As I arrived at Tabata, I had to walk since the last bus drives at 10 pm.

Mia Jaap

Journalist, developer and passionate about Japanese and Korean language. Japan is my #1 country for travelling, penguins my favourite animals.

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