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Why Is Tokyo So Cute?

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The Cute is everywhere in Tokyo, and you’re not going to escape it. You shouldn’t even try. This is a city with fluffy animals on every corner. Where buses prowl the streets disguised as pandas. Where every corporation and even the police force have their own charming mascot. The Cute cannot be avoided, so you might as well embrace it.

Cute Tokyo

Cuteness is so pervasive in Japanese society that there’s even a term for it: Kawaii. Kawaii encompasses everything from mascots, to girls talking in exaggeratedly-affected voices, to boys shaving their legs, to cosplay fashion and cutesy stickers and Pikachu and making hearts with your hands and countless other obnoxiously darling mannerisms.

The nationwide obsession with cute can be infantilizing (the police mascot Pipo-kun seems especially frivolous, and there’s nothing more irritating than a 25-year-old woman blathering on like a toddler) but on the whole, we like kawaii. Cute things make people happy, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to maximize that.

-Cute Toys From Japan And The USA

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July 13, 2014 at 4:28 pm Comments (6)

The Beckoning Cats of Gotoku-ji Temple

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The Maneki Neko, or “Beckoning Cat,” is one of Japan’s most iconic images. Thought to bring luck and prosperity to their owners, these cats are frequently found outside businesses and within homes. And in the neighborhood of Setagaya, we found the Gotoku-ji temple, where the Maneki Neko plays a starring role.

The Cat Temple In Tokyo

Japan’s most famous cat has a few origin stories, one of which is set in Setagaya. Long ago, a lord who had been travelling to Edo was starting to feel weary. As he passed the Gotoku-ji temple, a cat caught his attention and seemed to beckon him inside. As soon as he followed the cat into the temple, a thunderstorm broke out and lightning struck the ground, exactly in the spot where he had been standing. He was so happy with his good luck, that he donated a small fortune to the Gotoku-ji and had it made into his family temple.

Worshipers at the Gotoku-ji often bring a Maneki Neko statue to leave for good luck at one of the shrines. The result is surreal, with hundreds of cats sitting atop a set of shelves. Except in size, they’re are all identical, exactly the same model with the same paw raised and the same beatific expression on their faces. Cats which don’t fit the strict criteria are removed by the temple’s staff.

Location on our Map

Buy One Of The Cat Photos From This Temple As Framed Art

The Cat Temple In Tokyo
The Cat Temple In Tokyo
The Cat Temple In Tokyo
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July 7, 2014 at 4:33 pm Comments (4)

The Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku

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We had seen a lot of Tokyo’s different faces: cute, modern, weird, beautiful, historic, confusing. But until our visit to East Shinjuku, we hadn’t experienced the famously seedy side of Tokyo. The Golden Gai, Kabukicho and Piss Alley are three areas which forever changed our impression of the city. (A change for the better? I’ll leave that unanswered.)

Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku

It’s surprising that Tokyo’s seediest area is so near the administrative offices and corporate skyscrapers of West Shinjuku. But even as I’m writing that sentence, I’m thinking that, actually, it’s not so surprising at all. Politicians and corporate moneymen, after all, aren’t exactly celebrated for their puritanical rejection of all things seedy. Rather, the opposite.

With flashing neon lights, narrow alleys, sketchy bars, drunk people of indeterminate gender, pachinko halls, and musty smells emanating from dark alleys, East Shinjuku is a sailor’s dream. “Want you pretty lady? Want you drug?” There are underground bars which expressly forbid foreigners from entering, and places I’d never enter even if I were allowed. You’re thinking, “I’m sure it can’t be all that crazy.” But then you do some research and learn: yes, it can.

Golden Gai
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku

We began our Saturday evening tour of East Shinjuku at the Golden Gai, a small and compact sub-neighborhood packed with ramshackle two-story houses. There are six small alleys criss-crossing the Golden Gai, all connected by even smaller alleys barely wide enough for a person to squeeze through. Nearly every building has two bars, one at street level and one on the second floor; there must be over a hundred drinking establishments here. The Golden Gai offers an architectural glimpse into the recent past of Tokyo, before skyscrapers and modern apartment buildings began replacing the older homes.

Despite the shabby, almost slum-like condition of the area, this is an expensive place to drink, and unwelcoming to foreigners. Its bars cater to a well-off Japanese clientele, and are popular among artists and intellectuals. Often, you have to be a “regular” before you’re even allowed in. We wanted to grab a beer, but felt like intruders every time we poked our heads into a bar. And so we left, not wanting to impose.

Kabukicho
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku

Walking to the northeast, we entered the neighborhood of Kabukicho (“Kabuki District”). Following the 1945 firebombing, the city wanted to establish a new theater in Shinjuku. Although the plan was never realized, the name has endured. And who cares if there’s never been Kabuki in Kabukicho? There are plenty of other ways to entertain yourself here.

Kabukicho is Tokyo’s non-stop party zone. The reigning red-light district in the world’s craziest city. It’s sensory overload from the moment you enter, until whatever early-morning hour you manage to straggle out. Kabukicho is aggressive about its fun, and you’ll need a thick skin to resist the pleasures being proffered by every neon advertisement, and by the sketchy guys on every corner.

One such pleasure is offered by the glamorous boys of Kabukicho’s host clubs. These are clubs for women who want the companionship and attention of attractive young men. Ladies pay exorbitant amounts to sit on the sofa with their preferred boys. Nothing too sordid goes on. The hosts will listen to the women talk, tell them jokes to make them laugh, compliment them, maybe hug them when appropriate. It’s a fascinating phenomenon, and the subject of an excellent documentary called The Great Happiness Space.

Piss Alley
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku

After having had enough fun in Kabukicho, we crossed the train tracks and arrived at the foot of a picturesque street sloping gently downward, illuminated by paper lanterns and filled with people seated on stools at yakitoris, or grill joints. It looked like a scene straight out of the 1920s and, indeed, the alley’s name is “Memory Lane.” That’s a lot more romantic than the name by which most locals know it: “Piss Alley.”

In years past, this alley was a place in which to get smashed. People would come to the bars, drink themselves into oblivion, and relieve themselves in the street. Today, “Piss Alley” has cleaned up its act, and is home to an unbroken lineup of restaurants which specialize in various sorts of grilled meat. Even if there’s the occasional rogue tinkler (and I’m sure there is), the smell of urine is no match for the clouds of smoke wafting from every open window.

Locations on our Map: Golden Gai | Kabukicho | Piss Alley

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Random Shinjuku Photos
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
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Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
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More Golden Gai Photos
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
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More images of Kabukicho
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
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Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
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Seedy Pleasures of East Shinjuku
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More Photos From the Piss Alley
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July 6, 2014 at 6:40 am Comments (4)

Weird Japanese Candy

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Japanese Popin Cooking

If there’s one thing that Japan does well, it’s making childish things awesome enough for adults. Arcades and video games? I don’t think children even could play the games in Japanese arcades. Much of the Japan’s anime and manga is definitely adult-oriented. Toys, games, Gundam models… Japanese parents are as obsessed with these things as are their children. And that’s why I don’t feel terribly guilty about all the crazy candy we bought. It’s irresistible, and it’s not really just for kids… at least, that’s what I kept telling myself. Here were our favorites:

Popin’ Cookin’ Sushi

Mix the powder with water and then form the resulting goo into perfectly-shaped candy sushi. [Buy it here: Popin’ Cookin’ Sushi]

Shin-Chan Beer Candy

Nothing says “fun for kids” like getting buzzed on candy beer. [Available on Ebay!]

Magic Taffy

Mix the ingredients and slowly pull a taffy-like substance out of the container. Pure and healthy. [Shop Link: Gummy Tsureta Fishing Candy]

Toilet Candy

Modern-day children are disgusted by drinking from toilets. Time to re-educate the stupid brats. [Buy it here: Toilet Candy]

Hamburger Set

Just like real Extra Value Meals, this candy replica is made from powder. But it’s probably healthier. [Buy it here: Kracie Happy Cooking Hamburger Set]

Takoyaki Set

If the idea of eating octopus balls turns your stomach, you can always try this candy version of Japan’s favorite snack. [Buy it here: Octopus Ball Candy]

Crayon Shin Chan Experimental Drink

More wholesome goodness from Shin Chan. Mix the ingredients in a vial and marvel as they change color. And then drink your mad experiment! [Available Here: Shin Chan Experimental Drink]

Popin’ Cookin’ DIY Cake Shop Candy

This one gets a little meta, because you’re asked to make candy replicas of favorite candy classics. [Buy it here: Popin’ Cookin’ DIY Cake Shop Candy]

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Japanese Popin Cooking
Japanese Popin Cooking
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July 1, 2014 at 9:07 am Comments (9)

Our Favorite Shibuya Sights

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We spent many entertaining evenings in Shibuya, which has become one of the most exciting areas in Tokyo. There are so many bars, shops and things to do here, that it would be hopeless to attempt listing them all. But here were a few of our personal favorites.

Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street

Perhaps the best way to approach Shibuya is along Cat Street, by way of Omotesando. This curvy lane follows the old path of the Shibuya River, and brings you past loads of cool designer stores, vintage clothing shops, and cozy cafes. It’s is one of the most popular areas among the young and hip of Tokyo, and serves as a relatively laid-back introduction to the craziness you’re about to experience in Shibuya. [Location]

Shibuya Goat Cafe
Sakuragaoka – Goat Cafe

Found on the quieter southern side of the tracks, Sakuragaoka has won fame not for its food or drinks, but for its doormen. In a cage outside the cafe are two braying goats. Sweet-tempered Sakura is white, while boisterous Chocolat has a brown coat. You can pet Sakura without fear, but take care if attempting to touch Chocolat; that feisty beast will head-bash anyone who gets too close. The goats are fun, but our favorite part of this cafe was its familiar atmosphere and excellent food. [Location]

Photo Boxes

Yes, fine, the most important thing is inner beauty. Blah blah, now shut up and get out of the way, so I can get inside this photo box and show you what real beauty looks like.

You can find Fashion Photo Booths all over Tokyo, but for some reason it took a trip to Shibuya before we felt brave (or drunk) enough to step inside one. Want freakishly huge eyes like a Disney character? Want smoother, lighter skin like the finest porcelain? Want your wrinkles to vanish along with the last of your self-regard? Then these photo booths are for you. Results can range from terrifying to hilarious. But probably not beautiful.

Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei Automated Sushi

Sit down in front of a terminal at Uobei, and scroll through the options. Tuna nigiri, that sounds good. Salmon with mayo? Yes please. And a tempura shrimp roll for only ¥108? That’s crazy, I’ll take it. Selections made, you press “go.” A couple minutes later, a tray with three plates zips out along a magnetic belt, stationing itself in front of you. You grab the plates, press a button and zip, the tray flies off, back in the opposite direction.

Ostensibly prepared by humans, the sushi at Uobei is delicious and fun, but will make connoisseurs turn up their nose. One offering, for example, is cheeseburger sushi. Yes, we ordered it. Yes, we loved it. Though Uobei forces you to miss out on the human engagement which makes experiencing a foreign culture so rewarding, sometimes it’s nice to just look at color pictures of food, press buttons, and eat in blissful peace, no talking required. [Location]

Karaoke Tokyo

(With our friends from Chic Soufflé and Not Hemingway’s Spain)

Karaoke

You’re in Tokyo, so you’re doing karaoke. No, that’s not a suggestion, nor is it a threat. Just a simple declaration of fact. You’re in Tokyo, so you’re doing karaoke. Grab your friends, have some drinks, and relax. This isn’t American-style karaoke, where you’re asked to bleat in front of a huge crowd of strangers. In Japan, you rent a room, and the only people who will ever hear you are those you trust.

We thought that in Shibuya, karaoke might be too expensive, or that we’d have to wait in a long line. But in fact, this turned out to be the best place for it. There are a lot of halls, and maybe because they’re forced to compete, they’re cheap. You normally rent a room for an hour at a time, and the price includes all the drinks you want. The machines can be switched to English, and the song selection is excellent. Kanye West? Guns n’ Roses? System of a Down? 99 Luftballons? Shibuya’s karaoke halls have you covered. But as for your friends’ ears… they’ll have to cover those, themselves.

Crazy Shibuya
Maidreamin’

We sat down at our table in this below-ground restaurant in Shibuya, and were instantly made dizzy by the pixellated decor. Maidreamin’ is a cafe that takes its inspiration from the 8-bit world of Mario Brothers. I don’t remember any flirty french maids in the video game, but perhaps they were on Level Eleven.

We leaned back in our chairs and allowed ourselves to be entertained by a super-sweet cadre of hostesses who brought us food, served us beer, blew us kisses, taught us cutesy-pie songs, and even danced to ear-splitting J-Pop on a tiny stage in the middle of the cafe. It was a bizarre, very Tokyo-ish evening out and even though our personal tastes run more toward butlers, we had a great time. [Location]

Tokyo Tower Framed Photo

More Photos from Cat Street
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
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Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
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Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
More Photos from the Goat Cafe
Shibuya Goat Cafe
Shibuya Goat Cafe
Shibuya Goat Cafe
Shibuya Goat Cafe
Another Beauty Box Photo
Beauty Booth
More Photos from Uobei Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
A Couple More Karaoke Photos
Karaoke Tokyo
Karaoke Tokyo
Another Pic from Maidreamin’
Crazy Shibuya
Random Shibuya Pictures
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June 20, 2014 at 12:04 pm Comments (2)

Cosplay at Tokyo Big Sight

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Tokyo Big Sight is an exhibition hall which opened on Odaiba in 1996. In addition to its strange name, the complex is known for its radical architecture: four interlocking, upside-down, titanium pyramids. We approached against a tide of anime fans, all of whom were going the opposite way. A convention called Comic City had wrapped up for the day, but we noticed that the crowd was made up almost entirely of women — this convention had been dedicated to manga written for the female market. There were guys here, too, but they were all photographers hoping to get portraits of the cosplay girls. We joined in.

Location of Tokyo Bigh Sight on our Tokyo map

Sailormoon Cosplay Costume

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June 19, 2014 at 10:22 am Comments (2)

The Rinkai Disaster Preparation Park

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Mom always said that it’s best to be prepared. “Hope for the best, darling, but plan for the worst.” And in earthquake-prone Tokyo, the worst can be very bad indeed. Since we always listen to our moms, Jürgen and I dutifully visited the Disaster Preparation Park, on Odaiba Island.

Earthquake Center Tokyo

It’s not a matter of whether a mega-quake is going to devastate Tokyo, but when. The city lies on the intersection of three continental plates: the North American, upon which it’s built, the Pacific, which is being sucked underneath the North American by the forces of subduction, and the small Philippine Plate shoving its way into the mix. Scientists are in agreement that at some point in the near future, another massively powerful earthquake is going to rock Tokyo.

The city is doing its best to be ready. Strict construction laws ensure that all of its newer buildings can withstand powerful rumbling. Schoolchildren are drilled in how to behave in the event of a disaster. There are detailed evacuation plans and dedicated parks in which people are to congregate. September 1st is National Preparation Day, when everyone pauses their normal lives and participates in drills.

We had been flippant about our own preparedness, but on May 4th at 5:18 am, a strong quake shook us out of our beds. I was terrified, convinced that this was the big one. Whaddo-i-do, ohgod, whaddo-i-do… I had no idea! Do I run outside? Do I duck under the table? Do I get dressed? Do I scream?

Earthquake Center Tokyo

Our ignorance about proper procedure was almost as scary as the quake itself, so it wasn’t long before we visited the Rinkai Disaster Preparation Park. This is a headquarters for Tokyo’s disaster planning, and when something happens, it’s from here that relief and rescue efforts will be coordinated. In periods of calm, visitors can enjoy the park’s green spaces, or test their survival skills in a mock disaster zone.

We decided to try out the disaster simulation. At the entrance, we were each given a Nintendo DS, then asked to step into an elevator. Soon, the lights flickered and the elevator began shaking. When the doors opened, we stepped into what looked like a war zone. An elaborate neighborhood disaster scene had been staged in the center’s basement, with fake fires raging, damaged air-conditioning units dangling above our heads, sirens and flashing lights. Our task was to look for clues and information that would help us survive the first 72 hours, which is approximately the length of time citizens would have to fend for themselves before help arrives.

Of course, when the earthquake does hit and a huge concrete block falls on your head, no amount of planning is going help. So, it probably comes down to luck. But still, after visiting the Rinkai Disaster Park, we began spending more time in Tokyo’s wide-open parks and its most modern buildings. Just in case something should happen, these are probably the safest places to be.

Location on our Map

Travel Insurance For Your Trip To Tokyo

Earthquake Center Tokyo
Earthquake Center Tokyo
Earthquake Center Tokyo
Earthquake Center Tokyo
Earthquake Center Tokyo
Earthquake Center Tokyo
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June 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm Comments (0)

Pachinko: Lost Your Money, Losing Your Mind

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You’ve been to a casino, right? The ringing sounds, the stale stench of tobacco, the confusion, the sad people so desperate to be happy? All that is familiar. But a pachinko hall takes the wholesome goodness of a casino and condenses it down to its most vile. It exaggerates the sensory overload beyond belief. ¡¡MAXIMIZES THE SOUND!! Multiplies the confusion. Doubles down on the hopelessness. And achieves the impossible, by creating a place of gambling in which I have absolutely no interest.

Well, “absolutely no interest” might be an exaggeration, because every time I walked by a ringing, dinging pachinko hall, my heart jumped; not into my throat, perhaps, but certainly esophagus-level. I’d try and peer inside through windows intentionally obscured by advertisements and opaque glass. I wasn’t tempted (no!) but if I could just get a glimpse of one of the machines, I’d be happy. Just a look, I swear. Ah look, the door is sliding open. It’s a sign! Once more into the pachinko parlor, we go.

Pachinko is the national addiction of Japan, and the number of pachinko halls in Tokyo is unbelievable. They’re everywhere. And they’re huge! Often multi-floor. Often entire buildings. On top of that, they’re usually crowded, whether it’s two in the afternoon or nine at night. Tokyo needs its pachinko, and it needs it now.

But what is pachinko? Here’s my best description, having played once and then swearing it off forever. And then having played again, because I had done some research and “figured it out.” Pachinko is a hybrid between pinball and slots. You launch tiny silver balls to the top of the board, which then bounce down an array of needles, hopefully into the correct hole. Plinko from the Price Is Right derives from it.

So far so good, but this isn’t Plinko. With a dial, you’re given control over the direction in which the balls are launched. And they launch rapidly; you don’t have control over that. At any one time, you might have a dozen silver balls plinking their way down the board. It’s impossible to keep track of, and the best you can hope for is to find a position that occasionally results in success. Unless you’re the type to easily give up, you’ll find a sweet spot and soon, a reasonable percentage of your silver balls will land.

You land a ball, you win, right? Not so fast, buddy. Now starts Round Two. Every time a ball hits the Win Hole (a horrible euphemism I may come to regret), three numbers appear on the screen in front of you and start a-spinnin’. Slots time! If all three digits match, then you win.

Or do you? I wish this was all there was to pachinko. If so, I might be able to enjoy it. But every machine has different rules. Some have trigger buttons you have to press at the right moment. Some have complicated stories which play out on the screen. Sometimes, a bar or a magic wand or a monster will appear before you, and you’re supposed to do something. Sometimes everything will start flashing red. I’m sure it all has an explanation, but since everything is being shouted at you in Japanese, there’s no way to know.

Our pachinko experiences went like this: ¥1000 into the machine. Loads of fun while the balls are launching. A ball hits! Anime faeries are dancing! The guy next to me coughs a lungful of cigarette tar into my face. I hit a 6-6-5, oh so close. Another chance… 2-4-8. Not so close. Was I supposed to hit that flashing button? Too late, my balls are out. ¥1000 down the drain after five minutes.

I stand up and stomp out of the hall. Ten seconds later, Jürgen joins me on the sidewalk, equally a loser, equally indignant. We march off into the evening, and swear off pachinko forever. Or at least until the next night.

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June 5, 2014 at 7:53 am Comments (3)

Dinner Behind Bars at Alcatraz E.R.

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It’s safe to say we’ve never dined in an atmosphere remotely similar to that of Shibuya’s Alcatraz E.R. The name says it all: this theme restaurant is meant to emulate the experience of eating inside the blood-spattered emergency room of a high-security prison. Have I mentioned that Tokyo is a little strange?

Alacatraz ER Restaurant

Theme restaurants are all the rage in Tokyo. People will line up to eat in places dedicated to topics like ninjas, vampires, Alice in Wonderland, maids, robots and butlers. And, of course, the emergency rooms of prisons.

After stepping off the elevator, we pressed a big red button smeared with bloody hand-prints in order to open the door of Alcatraz E.R. A woman dressed as a nurse-waitress-torturer greeted us and led us to our table, which was within a prison cell. We walked past grisly scenes of bloody emergency room madness, including mutilated corpses who’d been interred in the floor, and were locked into the cage where we would be enjoying dinner.

Dinner Behind Bars at Alcatraz E.R.

The menu is hilarious, with intestine-shaped sausages served in bedpans, sexually-deviant cocktails and weird culinary experiments like bright blue curry. We ordered a lot, and were enjoying fried chicken when suddenly the lights in the prison went out. Warning signals flashed red down the corridors outside our cell, while blood-curdling screams blared over the intercom. The inmates were loose! We sat silently, until noticing a silhouette in the cell with us. From what I could discern in the strobing red light, he looked rather like a murderer. Jürgen unleashed a wail of terror, the likes of which I’d never heard from him before.

It was quite a night, and not too expensive. I had expected the food to be over-priced to compensate for the show, but that wasn’t the case. Even the drinks were reasonable, and the cover charge was only ¥500. You might want to stay away if you’re afraid of the dark, or prison, or masked men suddenly standing next to you in your prison cell, or evil nurses forcing you to drink from decapitated heads, but otherwise a night out at Alcatraz E.R. is a lot of fun.

Location on our Map

More Strange Stuff from Japan

Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
Alacatraz ER Restaurant
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May 15, 2014 at 9:35 am Comment (1)

The Parasitological Museum of Meguro

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It’s not the best place to take a date, nor would you want to visit after eating a large meal, but the Parasitological Museum in Meguro makes a wonderful excursion for when you… I mean, it’s fun if you’re in the mood for… Or, it’s interesting for those who… You know what? I’m drawing a blank. I can’t think of a single non-creepy reason to visit the Parasaitological Museum. Unless you’re a professional parasitologist. (Even then, the very fact that you’re a parasitologist is kind of creepy.)

Parasitological Museum of Meguro

We had spent the morning viewing cherry blossoms along the Meguro River. So lovely! And then we had eaten a large meal of udon noodles. Mmm, those were good! Minutes later, I’m in front of a formaldehyde tank, looking at a tapeworm that measures 24 feet in length. And now, the questions start: what exactly are we doing here? Why are there so many other people? Is that thing an engorged tick? What’s that tickling in my stomach? Oh god, can worms really do that to a human brain? And can I be entirely certain that all of those udon noodles were actually udon noodles?

This is one of the most horrifying museums I’ve ever visited. Horrifying and fascinating. Privately founded in 1954 by a doctor, Meguro’s is the only Parasitological Museum in the world, with over 300 disgusting little (and not-so-little) specimens on display. None still alive, thankfully. The focus is on human parasites, with information about their life-cycle, reproduction methods and habitats. Very few of the exhibits have English translations, but I wasn’t too disappointed by this. Seeing the worms which might be crawling around inside our bodies is bad enough, without having to know exactly what they’re doing to us.

Location on our Map

-We also visited this strange museum: The Phallological Museum In Iceland

Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
Parasitological Museum of Meguro
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May 15, 2014 at 8:07 am Comments (3)

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