August 2013


Gay Hiroshima

I did not set out to make this trip a party trip – this trip was, first and foremost, about seeing baseball games, while engaging in a bit of nuclear tourism. But that’s not to say I didn’t look up information about gay Hiroshima.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about gay life in Japan out there, plus, due to an accident of history, typing the phrase “Gay Hiroshima” pulls in a couple random hits with information about the Enola Gay and its payload.

I did find the obvious resource, Utopia Asia – but I couldn’t tell when the information about Hiroshima was last updated and some of the directions didn’t really make sense to me – counting streets, looking for signs, etc.

Now that I’ve been there, it makes sense: street addresses are complicated, and there are actually a number of gay bars – more than the website lists — but the gay bars are, typically, tiny.

Better than messing with any of this is finding a local who will take you to his favorite gay bar – which is how I found a gay bar with nine seats.

To be honest, had I been alone, I never would have worked up the nerve to go into one of the local gay bars – my inner sense of safety would tell me that going into a four or five story building, taking the elevator to some random floor, and opening one of several doors – that just doesn’t spell safe or sane. Plus I tend to be extremely shy about these kind of things – and add in the language barrier… eeek.

With my local, I also went to Hiroshima’s gay club night – Hiroshima Gaynight 54 – I believe it happens once a year and I managed to nail the right weekend, purely by chance. Hiroshima is a city of 1.5 million, but, given Japan’s conservative culture, especially with respect to homosexuality, the club night was, in my experience, small. I’ve seen much larger crowds in other similarly sized cities.

I should note that the entrance price was, with the flyer, 3500¥ (26.63€/US$35.37; current exchange rates), which is a really steep price, even if it does include the first drink. The most exciting, and count me as odd, surprise was the discovery that Zima lives! Many moons ago, Zima was my go-to drink, but then it vanished from the US market and I never saw it again. Until Hiroshima: same funky bottle style and same flavor. Life was fantastic.

Zima Lives!!

Oh the memories that come flooding back when I drink Zima.

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