Reggae a la Kyoto (& Egan’s)

= Update:  See Vids at Page Bottom =

At this writing, October 2011, it’s been almost two years since I posted the first edition of this piece.  I was in Japan on business, but took a night to go by Rub a Dub, a reggae spot in Kyoto I’ve known and visited for years.  I’ve been back a few times since. . .

I actually had serious meetings involving Serious Business while in Japan during the second week of November (to which my meeting counterparts could certainly attest).  However, I certainly made time to blow off steam and relax a little, too.  While in Kyoto one of the places at which I occasionally like to wind-down is “Rub-a-Dub”, a little reggae watering hole right there on Kiyamachi Dori (street), down the stairs from a great outdoor ramen shop and other like (traditional) restaurants.  It’s just a few minutes walk to Ponto Cho, one of Kyoto’s premier, old-time entertainment streets, built-atop an old sand bar of the Kamo River in the mid-to-late 1700s.  It’s right there on Kiyamachi Dori, facing the 400 year old Takase Canal.

The gallery below combines Black & White, heavily blurred and, occasionally, honestly crisp shots.  Well, they’re all honest photographs, some are just more straight-forward than others.  How metaphorical, how allegorical.  All photos were taken the same night, November 7, 2009.  Hopefully the swirling images will help the viewer to feel Rub-a-Dub’s kinetic, joyful atmosphere in its full, with foreigners and Japanese, locals and expats, regulars and stoppers-by, all being In the Moment.  Rub-a-Dub, when it’s really going, reminds me of Egan’s (when on certain autumn Saturday nights it’s time to play James Brown’s “I Feel Good”) or the now-but-a-memory, Chukker, both of Tuscaloosa.  Above all, there’s a sincerity to Rub-a-Dub for which reggae makes the perfect soundtrack, and catalyst.  And, of course, it’s fun.

Finally, at the very end, there’s a vid.  Taken a couple days later, in the early evening.  I had stopped in for one beverage after a meeting and on my way to Three Sisters Inn .  .  .


065 .









*   *   *









From May 2010 . . .




Here’s the Rub a Dub vid I did in November ’09. . .


I’ve now found a real nice, clean studio version of Dawn Penn’s “You Don’t Love Me” . . . nice. . .

.      .      .

F o l l o w  –  u p

At the very top of this I mention that Rub-a-Dub reminded me of Egan’s, a little Tuscaloosa, Alabama, watering hole.  I happened to be in Tuscaloosa yesterday, with a friend from college, and we dropped by Egan’s for a few minutes.  It was daytime and was actually a bit staid compared to how it can get on a Saturday night, but its altogether jolly atmosphere was still there, made and enjoyed by younger and older people, locals and out-of-towners, students and tradespeople and professionals and dropouts and PhDs alike. Here are a few snapshots, for comparison purposes:

Bob at Egan’s. October 8, 2011.





    • sarahemc2
    • February 7th, 2010

    I love all the pictures, but the video is extra-special wonderful.

      • letsjapan
      • February 7th, 2010

      Thanks. That vid’s just a moment in time. A nice little one for me. I’m happy to (hopefully) draw others into it, after a fashion.

      Please feel free to share it, and any of the other galleries / stories / posts with anyone else you think may enjoy it/them.


    • Lois
    • October 14th, 2010

    Interesting how not a soul noticed you recording them. And to think you’re the one who introduced me to the term “stalking.”

      • letsjapan
      • October 14th, 2010

      Hey, why are you bringing that “stalking” thing up, all these years later? That restraining order was lifted a long time ago! ;0).

    • sunbrick
    • February 7th, 2011

    Wow watching that video brings back conflicted memories. I visited Japan in 07 with my girlfriend at the time and stumbled across Rub a Dub on our visit to Kyoto.
    Spent a few evenings there chilling and chatting to one of the guys who ran it. Awesome little spot! Would definitely go back next time I visit!
    Just wish I could go back with the same person.

      • letsjapan
      • February 7th, 2011

      Oh, good Lord, Sunbrick, how I know what you’re feeling! When you get the chance or notion I invite you to read my stories, “A Night in Kyoto,” “Auction,” and “Etsuko.” They’re clickable via the “Stories” tab on this site.

      At any rate, I’m happy, though, to e-meet a kindred spirit when it comes to Rub-a-Dub Reggae. It is a cool little place, is it not? I make a point of dropping by whenever I’m in town, once or twice a year these days.

      All the best, Yours in Empathy –


  1. April 22nd, 2010
  2. September 20th, 2010
  3. October 14th, 2010
  4. November 10th, 2010

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