As construction workers continue kitting out the latest sushi bar across the street from Torisho, groups of girls in tiny dresses and heavy makeup scurry back and forth between the members-only closed-door establishments to pour expensive sake and exchange sweet smiles with the CEOs and business-class elite. Cold fluorescent street lamps flicker to life, neon spills down onto the wet concrete, lightning slams down all around, and a cluster of souls take shelter in a nearby bar. Between the bleary-eyed solo diners, with laptop cases propped against their polished shoes, sits a young Vietnamese couple on a date, chatting and laughing and grazing over an endless parade of small plates. It seems innocent enough to stay on the right side of sleazy. The whisky menu at The Blues Bar beckons. In the neighbourhood around Le Thanh Ton Street—the lively thoroughfare that dissects District 1 from east to west—Friday night has come early. Streaked with cooking grease and open until the small hours, Matsuzakaya and its sister establishment on the opposite corner, a ramen bar is a favourite spot among night-workers, screen-frazzled students, and, naturally, boozed up hangover dodgers. Young revellers head for the glitzy all-night clubs while the rest of the city heads to bed. Torisho izakaya is filled to bursting point already. Robata Dining An, a split-level counter and private booth restaurant out on the main road, is one of them. It also serves the best chicken katsu curry you ever tasted. The daily storm rolls into town and Saigon begins to roar with the sounds of thunder and water and a billion overflowing drainpipes. A few scooters buzz past in the alleyway, the click-clack of stilettos returning home, rubbish collectors and market vendors heading out to take advantage of the cool air. Elbow-to-elbow along the counter, the salarymen of Saigon are replacing the stress and monotony of the nine-to-five slog with beer, banter, and freshly-grilled meat skewers. The rain has stopped. As in Japan, drunken antics and other anti-social acts are best played out behind closed doors.