METROPOLIS | CLASSIFIEDS | PERSONALS | JOBS
LIFE IN JAPAN
Paul Gibson

Occupation:
Proprietor, The Fiddler Pub
Time in Japan:
7 years


We used to be called the Mean Fiddler, but people were always calling it ' Fiddler', so we thought we would change the name.

Plus people kept thinking we had some kind of connection with the Mean Fiddler organisation in London, which we haven't. And we found that Japanese people especially misunderstood the use of the word 'mean', thinking it meant 'stingy'. So we decided to shorten it to The Fiddler.

Another misapprehension is that we are an Irish pub. We're not! I'm British, and so is my partner, so why would we want to open an Irish pub? We sell Guinness, but we sell a whole range of British and foreign beers as well. And we do proper British pub food, all under ?1000: fish'n'chips, shepherd's pie, ploughman's lunch. I don't know how the Irish thing got started, although we do have an Irish folk evening on the last Wednesday of every month. The funny thing about that is the band are Japanese. They're amazing, really good. The vocalist is brilliant, she sounds almost like an opera singer and she even sings in Gaelic!

We've been open about eighteen months now. The first three or four months were really tough. Some nights we were virtually empty.
It was especially nerve-wracking because we'd spent all our money getting the place open, so we had nothing to fall back on. But we started advertising, and things started to pick up. But what really made the difference was the music. That really got the crowds in.
Thursdays, it's usually a solo singer/guitarist or a duo. I suppose you'd call it soft rock, rather than folk. Then Friday and Saturday nights it's usually hard rock'n'roll. One of the bands that play here most are Blast, they're pretty popular. They do mostly covers, it's mostly dancing music, and we get quite a young, very genki crowd, and there's a lot of dancing going on. The other band that play here a lot are The Hitmen, which is a similar kind of thing. We also have some blues bands playing here, like the Bottleneck Blues Band. They're a great, really fast, electric blues band, so people are up and dancing to them, too. There's no cover charge, either. All the music here is free.

The bands don't start until 9pm or 9:30pm, so usually people come in and eat first, then the tables are cleared away so there's room to dance. We do sell a lot of food, but we're definitely more of a pub than a restaurant. We also do a drink speciality called Dracula's Blood; it's a German drink, it's red and tastes a bit like spicey Ribena - with alcohol - and we serve it in tests tubes. It's a bit of a gimmick, but if one person orders it, it seems to start a chain reaction! On draught we've got Guinness and Bass. Plus we've got Bodington's, that gives a nice creamy head, and a lot of European lagers too. And we usually have a special; this week it's an American beer called Wild West.

We don't import the beer ourselves. You have to buy through the big brewers. Guinness is brought in by Sapporo, Bass by Asahi. You can import beers yourself: for instance, there's a British real ale called Old Speckled Hen that will be in Japan soon, and I believe that's being brought in privately. But it's much easier and cheaper to buy through the breweries.

I run this place with a partner, Nick Ward. His wife's Japanese and so is mine, so they were able to help with a lot of the paperwork when we were starting up. To be honest, we didn't find any barriers against us setting up here because we were foreigners. In fact, generally speaking things are a lot more relaxed here than it would be back home. Why a pub? I've always liked hanging around pubs. It's been a dream for a long time, to open a pub. It didn't have to be Japan, but I was here, so it seemed to be the best place to do it.

Paul spoke to Rob Prince.

Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? E-mail us at editor@tokyoclassified.com

LIFE IN JAPAN:
199: Diane Morris
Media & Advertising
198: Ross Mihara
NHK Sumo Announcer
196: Corky Alexander
Tokyo Weekender
195: Edward Obaidey
Acupuncturist
194: Merry Angel
Managing Director
193: Alison Pockett
Managing Partner
192: Zack Konno
Car Export Representive
191: Pamela S. Caudill
Assistant U.S. Customs
190: Caroline Power
Being a Broad
189: Geoffrey Tudor
P.R. Section Chief JAL
188: Ryuko Ishikawa M.D.
Family Psychiatrist
187: Georges Hassam
Arabic Dance Instructor
186: Larry London
DJ at InterFM
185: Richard James
Photographer & Writer
184: Alan Kidd
Rock Musician & Editor
183: Adam Hitchens
Mobile Hairdresser/Masseur
182: Lylian de la Vega
Volunteer
181: Annie Chang
Computer Training
180: Mike Jacobs
Writer/Photojournalist
179: Jimmy Angel
Rock'n'Roll Singer
178: Dante
Performer
177: Elizabeth Spencer
Tokyo Classified Intern
175: Paul E. Ainlay
Proprietor of D.B. Cooper's
174: Steve Bindon
Artist
173: Nanae Nagata & Naji Rahman
Proprietors of Heart Cocktail
172: Tom Holiday
Singer/Guitarist
171: Gordon Hutchingson
Copywriter
170: Barry Cardinal
Renshi Aikido Instructor
169: Tammy
Hostess
168: Steve Feldman
Computer Dealer
167: Eve Suter
Flower Designer
166: Paul Goldsmith
Computer/H.R. Consultant
165: Avry Gottesman
Auto Dealer
164: Russell Pollard
Financial Advisor
163: Sa'dia
Belly Dancer
162: Marcel L'Esperance
Choral Director
161: Gregg Alan
Used Motorcycle/Car Dealer
160: Dr. Greg Sapplers OMD
Oriental Medical Doctor
159: Ute Ikuta
Cat Lover
158: Pam Adkins
Shaw College
157: Cloudy Bong Water
Comedian/Performer/Teacher
156: Melissa
Internet Company Director
155: Paul Gibson
Proprietor, The Fiddler Pub
154: Ann Spiers
Psychotherapist
153: Evans M. Asare
Chef
152: Sandy Weiss
Acting Teacher
150: Kike
Dancer

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