Category Archive for Crazy, Wacky Theme Restaurants
Final Fantasy Square Enix cafe, Shinjuku Robot restaurant, Kagaya Shinbashi: Tokyo’s weirdest theme restaurants.
Bizarre theme restaurants are maintaining their stronghold on the Japanese imagination. While in Tokyo, I visited two new themed cafes — robots and Final Fantasy — and an old favorite, Kagaya. Read on for scantily-clad fem-bots!
The Shinjuku Robot Restaurant has been raising eyebrows, for obvious reasons. I haven’t been to it yet, but apparently, 5000 yen buys you dinner inside a disco-neon space where women in bikinis para-para dance and battle each other on giant robots.
To promote the recently-opened theme restaurant, a truck drives around blasting loud music, with these two fembot killer machines attached. (Address: B2F Shinjuku Robot Building, 1-7-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku)
I did make it to the Square Enix Artnia cafe and gift shop, dedicated to all things Final Fantasy. (Address: Shinjuku Eastside Square, 6-27-30 Shinjuku)
Artnia is a giant egg next to the towering Square Enix headquarters, where video game magic happens.
Inside, you can buy stuffed toys and memorabilia of your favorite characters, and posters of FF’s Cloud. (Doesn’t he remind you of Sebastiano?)
The Slimes (who are possibly the cutest villains ever) are popular Dragon Quest characters.
We had lunch at Artnia cafe, which serves themed food. (Photography by First Mate Naomi)
I ate every last bit of these chocolate-banana pancakes, fittingly stamped with a Chocobo bird.
I’m afraid I’m not too familiar with Square Enix characters. Do you recognize the figures that adorn these sweets?
How about these cute blue creatures?
In the back, there is a Final Fantasy VIII concept art gallery that runs until April 28th.
The character models are surrounded by dramatic lighting and mirrors. A fountain sits in the center.
For us Pirates, no Tokyo TV mission is complete without a visit to Kagaya izakaya in Shinbashi. (Address: Hanasada Building B1F, 2-15-12 Shinbashi)
I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you, but Mark (the owner) has endless tricks and delights up his sleeve, including prank drinks and costume-crazy performances. You can glimpse the fun in this video of my 2010 visit.
Hungry to learn more about Japan’s weird theme restaurants? I hope you’ll check out my book, which covers Ninja, vampire, Lock-Up, Christon, Alice in Wonderland, Princess, Butler and more.
Are you a Final Fantasy fan? Would you like me to visit and report on the robot restaurant? Tell me in the comments and on my Facebook.
PS: Tons of international travels coming up… can’t wait to announce where I’m heading next!
I rarely hang out in Ginza or Roppongi, the ritzy Tokyo districts. However, I ventured here for two of my heroes.. David Bowie and Alphonse Mucha (glam rock guru and Art Nouveau master). Read on for glorious photos, including a Mucha x Innocent World Lolita collaboration!
Japan is all about theme dining, as you know from my TV work and book, Crazy Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo. To celebrate David Bowie’s new album The Next Day, Sony turned a regular restaurant into a Thin White Dukedom.
From March 9-24, the Sony Building transformed its Pub Cardinal (1F, 5-3-1 Ginza) into the David Bowie Cafe.
Autographed album covers, from the Ziggy era to today, filled every available space.
Quite a few Japanese businessmen dine here. For a Bowie twist, the restaurant served British dishes like shepherd’s pie.
The cocktails are named after Bowie’s songs: Cat People, China Girl, The Man Who Fell To Earth.
My favorite part of the pop up? Listening to non-stop Bowie music. (See my 6-second Vine video for a sense of the interior). The David Bowie Cafe closes on March 24, so I hope you’ll catch it before it’s gone.
Let’s transition with a… Spider from Mars? Nope, this creepy-crawly sculpture is “Maman” by Louise Bourgeois, in the Roppongi Hills Complex.
As you can tell from this blog’s header, I adore Alphonse Mucha (best known for his swirly, pastel, Art Nouveau innovations). His works are very popular among the Japanese. Thankfully, I was in town when “An Insight into the Artist” came to the Mori Art Museum (Roppongi Hills Mori Tower 52F, 6-10-1 Roppongi).
The exhibit had over 240 works by the Czech artist, including rare sketches and jewelry designs.
Some of his best known works, like the absinthe ads and Sarah Bernhardt posters, were on display. Marvelous to see them life-size — I could make out subtle details, like soft rainbow gradients in the swirls, and the silver sheen of “La Dame aux Camélias”.
The gallery ran chronologically, from his earliest paintings, to Art Nouveau masterpieces like The Seasons, to his final religious and patriotic works.
Look what was in the gift store: an Alphonse Mucha collaboration with Lolita label Innocent World! The brand released a limited-edition skirt and dress, featuring pastel prints.
These Mucha ladies tights were immediately in my possession.
In addition to the usual postcards and books, there were special items like Star Jewelry.
But these “kawaii” versions of the Mucha girls turned out more “kowai”, or scary!
The Mori Museum is a personal favorite; it has a sky view of Tokyo, and ever-changing exhibitions of artists like Yayoi Kusama.
I don’t think Alphonse Mucha ever dreamed his “Jaroslava” (a portrait of his daughter) would be in the Tokyo subway! The showcase runs until June 15; it’s well worth a visit for insight into the artist’s creative process.
Are you fascinated by Art Nouveau? Mesmerized by David Bowie? Which artists and musicians do you admire, and why?
FOOD NETWORK TV CLIPS! SHIBUYA BUTLER CAFE, BUTLERS TEACH JAPANESE GIRLS ENGLISH. KAGAYA: CRAZIEST TOKYO BAR.
Last fall, La Carmina & The Pirates filmed with Food Networks’s “World’s Weirdest Restaurants” for almost a month straight. Oh, the fun we had!
Did you miss out on the TV show? Don’t worry: I’ve uploaded video clips above and on YouTube.
Watch La Carmina and friends explore Tokyo’s wackiest theme restaurants, including Alice in Wonderland, maid cafe, Christon Cafe, monkey waiter tavern, and Zauo fishing boat.
Since I couldn't upload clips from every single episode, here are behind-the-scenes photos from Shibuya Butlers Cafe. All the servers are foreigners, who speak English to help the customers practice.
ince many Japanese men lack romantic spirit, females come here to feel like Disney heroines. The butlers get down on one knee, and present them with a tiara!
I’m wearing an h.NAOTO dress from Closet Child, and doll-like eyelashes. First Mate Naomi made the drawing of me in the first photo.
More madness from the Food Network TV shoot: giving Bob Blumer a Goth makeover, and visiting the surreal frog-pond experience that is Kagaya.
We adore the owner’s spastic performances. Here’s a previous post about Kagaya Tokyo.
Someone’s about to jump out of the closet, wearing a bizarre costume.
The whiskey squirts out of the statue’s… yeah.
When you order a drink, you can choose a country and Mark will do a bizarre interactive performance. This one is “France.”
Kagaya is possibly my favorite restaurant in the world. The food is delicious: I love the kabocha (pumpkin).
On the other end of the scale… Mayonnaise Kitchen is the most disgusting theme cafe I’ve encountered.
Skull headband: gifted by Soho Hearts (check out the panda necklace I designed with them)
Blue and black dress: gifted by Iron Fist (I love their zombie shoes)
Black frilled Lolita jacket: Angelic Pretty, from Closet Child
I explain the Japanese love of mayonnaise, especially the Kewpie brand, and how the ingredients and texture are a bit different from the Western version.
Personally, I don’t get it. Every dish in this restaurant is doused in mayo — blehh.
Hardcore customers even have their own personalized bottle.
I also visited Sumire no Tenmado: a doll-like Gothic Lolita café, run by Kokusyoku Sumire (two classical musicians). Tim Burton drew Jack Skellington and left his signature on the wall.
Hungry for more? Want addresses, photos and stories? Check out my book, Crazy Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo.
Did you enjoy watching us on this Food Network TV show? Which cafes did you like best? Please take a minute to see our video clips on YouTube!
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CANDLELIGHT DINNER, ITALIAN GOTHIC CHURCH. LUISAVIAROMA FIRENZE4EVER TOP FASHION BLOGGERS COCKTAIL PARTY.
It’s time again for Luisaviaroma’s Firenze4Ever! Sadly I can’t be at the event that brings together your favorite fashion bloggers, since I’m off to Maui, Hawaii. (Follow my Twitter for updates and photos.)
Every time, Luisa hosts a spectacular dinner. In June 2011, the top style bloggers ate dinner surrounded by animal bones (remember the photos?) Last January, we ate inside Santo Stefano al Ponte church, surrounded by hundreds of candles!
This is a de-consecrated church, so fashion shows and events can be held here. (My jewelry is gifted by Fashionology.)
Love to Camilla, social media manager who organizes Firenze4Ever.
A harpist played, and Bag Snob even went on stage and sang.
How long do you think it took to light all these candles?
For the Luisaviaroma opening party, I wore extra-long eyelashes. My beaded hair accessory is provided by Angelica Brigade.
It’s true… pizza tastes much better in Italy.
With The Bag Snob, The Coveted, Lyst.
At the time, Luisaviaroma’s store had a pink Marie Antoinette theme.
I wore an h.NAOTO Frill dress and trailing-sleeved top, from Closet Child Tokyo.
For more high-fashion adventures, check out my posts about Italy and the fashion bloggers’ event.
What do you think of my spooky-doll makeup? Which fashion blogs do you read? Feel free to share links in the comments, including to your own websites.
(^.^) Click below to spread the love…