Michael Jackson was taken on an all-night crawl of Tokyo's German-style beer halls, exclusive whisky bars and geisha hangouts. He discovered that the city's drinkers don't do things by halves

The communal bath had washed away more inhibitions than I realised, apparently including the one about not mixing grape and grain. As I struggled for a comfortable way of kneeling or crouching in a yukata (bathrobe) and slippers, the dinner table sprouted the local koshu grape (in the form of both wine and brandy); the plum (in a traditional sweet wine); barley (as both beer and whisky); and rice (sake and shochu). I tried to be alcoholically monogamous, but it was futile. My companions kept pouring me drinks. I followed suit (or bathrobe) by charging theirs just as relentlessly.

The communal bath had washed away more inhibitions than I realised, apparently including the one about not mixing grape and grain. As I struggled for a comfortable way of kneeling or crouching in a yukata (bathrobe) and slippers, the dinner table sprouted the local koshu grape (in the form of both wine and brandy); the plum (in a traditional sweet wine); barley (as both beer and whisky); and rice (sake and shochu). I tried to be alcoholically monogamous, but it was futile. My companions kept pouring me drinks. I followed suit (or bathrobe) by charging theirs just as relentlessly.

That is the way it is done in Japan, and nowhere with more eclecticism than in Tokyo. Those of us who voluntarily choose to live in the biggest cities tell ourselves that we do so for that very reason: choice. Where else can you get a properly made Martini at two in the morning? You may never actually require one, but the possible need is neurotically felt. Tokyo's neuroses need constant balms. No city has so many: neuroses, or balms.

"Let's dress," commanded Tetsuya. "Why?" I asked. "Because we have serious drinking to to do." The Japanese have been drinking sake for centuries and despite the tag "rice wine", it is - being fermented from grain - really a beer. Western-style beers have been made in Japan for over a hundred years, and whiskies since the Twenties, both to a very high standard. Tetsuya wanted to drink them all.

Tokyo bar crawl

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