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Our crazy Japan travel TV show filming! Duell um die Welt, host Steven Gatjen in Tokyo, Joko und Klaas, Department H.

Das Duell um die Welt tokyo steven gatjen

Uhh you may have recently seen La Carmina on German TV, with a giant peen… Ach du lieber!

Finally, we can reveal details of the crazy Japanese travel TV show we shot in September. As you may know, Naomi Rubin and I run a Pirates production company. We do local producing or “fixing” for travel television shows, in Tokyo and worldwide.

The Pirates have teamed up before with Joko und Klaas, the prime-time challenge show airing on Pro Sieben Germany. This time, “Das Duell um die Welt” (Duel around the World) featured celebrity guests… so we took presenter Steven Gätjen on a wild ride through Tokyo’s fetish underground!

Steven Gätjen, joko und klaas prosieben

It was fabulous to be on-camera again for Joko and Klaas’ program. As you’ll see, I delivered Steven Gätjen’s challenge, forced him to dress up in a pink studded suit, and introduced him to his bizarre band-members.

Keep reading to see the behind-the-scenes story of how we turned Steven into Ralf Acapulco, the schlager-industrial superstar singer… culminating in a hilarious performance at Department H, the alternative / S&M / latex / anything-goes party that remain the wildest in Tokyo.

❤ Wanna watch? I can’t post the full episode, but here are clips above and on Vimeo. ❤

tokio japan Das Duell um die Welt

Naomi and I love working with the Joko gegen Klaas team, as they’re always keen to do something crazy for the TV show. The production process is a long one: we throw around ideas for the challenge, and then build a story and locations around it.

As fixers, the Pirates make the local arrangements in Japanese including securing permits and locations, casting extras, arranging costume and makeup, hiring a van driver, securing hotels, and any other logistics for a successful shoot.

(You may recall that we gave Klaas a bagelhead, and sewed Joko’s lips together for this show! We also worked with Palina Rojinski on a ProSieben travel shoot in Hong Kong, and Olli Schulz in a Box in Tokyo.)

hagemashi rental family japan

Steven’s adventure began in a Zen-like fashion. He sat down to a matcha tea ceremony, in a traditional tatami room that we rented.

The four people in kimono are extras that we hired… from the Japanese “rent a family” company! (Yes, you can hire someone to pretend to be your relative or significant other.) We previously rented the same lady to play a fake mother in Olli’s TV show.

illustration watercolor japanese tea ceremony

Naomi Rubin is an amazing Japanese-English translator who makes the shoot possible by communicating the director’s words to the cast. She is also a talented illustrator, and created the elegant watercolor above based on the tea house scene.

In this scene, Steven received a mysterious card with an address. This led him to the next location…

la carmina travel tv hosting german television

… A karaoke room, where wacky individuals were waiting for his arrival! 

Steven Gätjen is lovely in person, with a gracious and positive attitude. We worked off a script, but had a good time ad-libbing during our scenes.

(My earrings are Alex Streeter, and dress House of Holland.)

japanese monster costume becos picopico

Say hello to PicoPico. He makes astonishing full body costumes of monsters and strange creatures. We hired him to be on the show, wearing his original green Becos costume.

karaoke kan dolphin weird rooms

While we waited for our scene, Pico Pico and I did karaoke… why not, we were in Karaoke Kan Shibuya after all!

What’s the deal with the blacklight space dolphins on the walls of the karaoke booth? Again… why not! (When you choose a song and it begins, the room lights up with a disco ball and neon lights.)

power rangers japanese karaoke

Pico Pico selected a Power Rangers tune to belt out. Love the spaceship background of the karaoke video.

karaoke singing weird tokyo japan

Yours truly stuck to disco. We did a YMCA duet, of course with the appropriate hand motions!

(If the monster costume looks familiar, it’s because he was also in the French travel TV show I did years back, with Antoine de Caunes for Canal Plus.)

giant penis costume halloween peen

And then, a giant penis arrived… Welcome, Mr Peen! He was so big that he could hardly fit through the doors, no joke.

This phallic character, known as Gachachin, often pops up at Department H and once appeared at Kanamara Matsuri, the Penis Festival in Japan. The old costume got a bit… rotten… so the creator whipped up a fresh and bigger one in just three days.

craziest japan halloween costumes

As you can see, it takes two men to deal with the massive Mr Peen! When Sasano is inside, he can shuffle around and go turgid or flaccid. Check out the vein-y detailing on the foam body, and the arm appendage.

karaoke kan lost in tranlation singing booth room

PicoPico also got inside his suit (he can see out of the mesh mouth area).

Naomi arranged for us to shoot in at Karaoke Kan Shibuya, in the exact same glass booth featured in the Lost in Translation movie by Sofia Coppola.

lost in translation rent karaoke booth

Here’s a screenshot from the scene we shot together. I introduced myself as Steven Gaetjen’s challenge-meister for Tokyo.

I’m sitting in the same place as Scarlett Johansson in the film, but unlike her pink wig, my hair color is real. (My cape is by Pheren Couture)

japan penis festival costumes gachachin

I presented Steven with his Tokyo challenge. He had to sing live on stage, at a wild party with hundreds of people watching… with Picopico and Mr Peen as his band members!

Steven Gätjen hosting tv host presenter

Steven Gaetjen had to perform a song that mixed schlager (cheesy, upbeat German music) with industrial (Rammstein-esque headbanging). He had to dress the part, hence this pink-studded costume that I declared was “so fash.”

To add insult to injury, I made Steven take part in a nonsensical interview with a Japanese news crew. Our friends Miki, Ken and Yugo did a fantastic job acting as the host and camera crew for this segment.

wacky japan costumes tv travel

We hired makeup and hair artist Tomomi Tokuda to give Steven this edgy look. She nailed it, and was a pleasure to work with.

akihabara tokyo bizarre anime

Travel TV shows always need a ton of B-roll footage, so we headed to Akihabara to do a montage of Steven and the monster. PicoPico couldn’t be there for that scene… so someone else literally stepped into his big shoes!

Joko gegen Klaas tokio duell

Akiba, the otaku and anime “electric town,” made the perfect setting for these funny scenes. Above, the monster insists on taking a selfie with Steven, who is not amused.

tokyo tv fixing filming producers

Strolling through Tokyo, dressed ridiculous and shooting a TV show… just a typical day in the life of La Carmina and the Pirates.

department h party kinema club

Finally, Steven arrived at the most insane party in Tokyo, if not the universe: Department H. (Keep scrolling for photos, and you’ll see why.)

Organizer and mistress of ceremonies, Gogh, generously let us film here many times.

tokyo japan television production

The Dept H party starts at midnight, and takes place the first Saturday of each month. However, the crew got here early to set up and rehearse the performance.

We put up a poster featuring Steven’s flamboyant alter ego, Ralf Acapulco, who would be performing “Sushi of Love” live on stage.

penis festival Kanamara matsuri

“Itai, itai… painful!” Looks like Mr Peen is made to be a drummer. He even has a hole for his drum stick!

Steven Gätjen singing schlager industrial

Time to rehearse, with the instruments that we rented. I can’t stop laughing every time I see Mr Peen banging on the cymbals.

piercing cheeks together body mods

As you can see in the video clips, I took Steven to meet his keyboard players. These three are the Gokiburi crew… and they shocked him by sticking a long skewer through their cheeks, like a human shish kebab.

tokyo extreme body modifications piercings

No Photoshop here. These regular-looking folk gleefully stuck a long metal needle through their jowls, connecting themselves together. Gotta love the creativity of Japanese body modifications.

japan tv movie fixing producing company

Naomi shows them how to choreograph their headbanging and hand gestures during the live performance. (In this rehearsal photo, they aren’t yet human-centipeded together.)

japanese penis festival floats statues

Looks like somebody is happy to see me. P size wa?!

drag queen show tokyo japan

Department H takes place at Uguisidani’s Kinema Club. The regular club night has been raging since the 1990s, and is still going strong. The event includes a drag queen show…

dept h uguisidani party

… and weird, racy performances such as this monster wrestling match.

hajime kinoki shibari rope tying bondage ロープアーティスト

Hajime Kinoko, shibari artist, tied up a victim on stage with rope. The person’s hair was then dipped in ink, and used to paint calligraphy on a scroll.

piercing people together cheeks

And then, “Ralf Acapulco” took the stage! The contrast between the bright schlager and scream-and-groan Industrial rock made for a hilarious performance.

(Watch some clips from the TV show below, as well as extras on my Instagram video.)

Danke everyone for watching me on Joko und Klaas: Duell um die Welt, Tokyo episode! Take a moment to see what we got up to in the video. I hope our surreal monster dance makes you laugh.

anime kigurumi dollers

I’ll leave you with mind-bending photos from Department H nightclub. The partygoers wear the most bizarre outfits you’ll see on the galaxy. At Dept H, you can be whoever you want to be — whether it’s a one-eyed dolly, or a green haired lady of the night.

full body anime costumes head mask

You’ll see a lot of anime kigurumi, or dollers, at Department H. Typically handmade, these are full-body suits that include giant masks with big eyes. The effect is a bit cute, a bit creepy… a real-life anime or manga character come to life in three dimensions.

(Click below to see more photos.)

More here!

What to wear in Greece: Silver Goth babydoll dress! Pi Athens Hotel Suites, Aegean Airlines, Iron Fist Clothing.

iron fist skeleton babydoll dress

“It’s all Greek to me!” Ready for more from travel adventures from Athens?

In my first post, we went on an eye-opening underground, alternative walking tourThis time, I’ll show you where we stayed, and the intriguing architecture found all throughout the city.

There’s no substitute for coming here yourself — but to give you a sense of the experience, Joey Wong shot this travel video about our Athens trip. 

Please take a moment to watch the short vlog above, or on @LaCarmina YouTube.

Pi Athens Hotel π Π

Joey took these images of me on the rooftop of Pi Athens Suites, a newly-opened luxury hotel. From up here, you can see the Acropolis — and the “golden hour” lighting conditions are perfect as the sun is setting.

uchuu kei space japanese fashion

Outfit details: My silver baby-doll dress is this exact Iron Fist Gothic dress with a skeleton design, and a metallic clutch by Makeup Junkie Bags

(Shop my style with a click below:)

aegean airlines plane

I know many of you dream of visiting Greece, and have it as a bucket-list destination. Fortunately, it’s easy to get to Athens by flying on Aegean Airlines. Joey flew here from London (where there are three direct flights daily on Aegean), while I came direct from Amsterdam (on their daily flight) — and it only took us a few hours.

Aegean Airlines uses the latest technology to make the journey smooth: if you download the smartphone app, you can check in, download, and access boarding passes even when offline.

greece aegean airlines flight review

I chose a window seat for incredible views during the entire flight. I watched the Mediterranean waters, ancient Athenian ruins, and tiny islands below me… it was better than any in-flight entertainment!

I had an excellent experience flying with Aegean, which goes to more than 30 destinations within Greece. They also serve 145 international destinations in 40 countries, and are an award-winning Star Alliance member.

athens boutique art hotel

From the airport, it was only a short drive to Pi Athens / π Hotel, where we were staying. (Address: 4 Fokianou St, Athens, Greece).

I’m all about living like a local, and was glad to see that these suites were in a non-touristic neighborhood. Pi Suites is run by a family, which gives the stay a personal touch. The owner, Sokratis, greeted me warmly, shared his favorite restaurants, and showed me major sites on a map.

rooftop sunset athens greece

He took me up to the fourth floor, and we walked up to the π Terrace. From the hotel’s rooftop, I got a 360 degree, unobstructed view of the Panathenaic Stadium, Acropolis, the National Gardens, Filopapou Hill… a magic moment.

hotels near acropolis athens

The hotel’s location is ideal — within walking distance of the landmarks, yet in a neighborhood with an authentic, residential feel.

(In the next post, I’ll take you right up to the Parthenon, the iconic temple dedicated to the goddess Athena.)

athens apartment hotels suites

Sokratis is passionate about interior design, and did all the decor and furnishings himself. The result: Pi Athens’ interiors are modern and luxurious, with bursts of color. 

(If you like my Goth metallic fashion, see more below:)

art design luxury hotel athens

I particularly loved the interior courtyard of Pi Athens, which looks like a picture-window into a dollhouse. Such a cute place to sip coffee and bask in the sunlight, surrounded by greenery.

pi suites athens hotel room

π Athens only has six rooms, which gives guests the personalized service of a boutique hotel. The rooms are large, and decorated with modernist minimal accents (my favorite type of interior design, as you’ll recall from my apartment tour).

pi athens suites rooms

I slept extremely well in this big, fluffy bed…

(Wearing this exact Iron Fist Wishbone Halo dress, silver high heels from my friend Sandi, and a Makeup Junkie bag.)

greece top 5-star hotels

Every morning, I looked forward to the home-made breakfast downstairs. Fresh orange juice, Greek honey and orange marmalade with zest, and my beloved “dolmades” or seasoned rice wrapped in grape leaves. 

press trip greece travel blogger

Love the architecture of the suites, which take inspiration from pi. π is the Greek letter that symbolizes the ratio of the circle’s circumference to its diameter.

It’s impossible to square the circle (you get 3.1416… to infinity), but Pi Hotel Athens always aims to give guests a 5-star stay.

iron fist clothing goth clothes

(My pink hair is by Stephanie Hoy at Sugar Skull Studio in Vancouver. There’s a buzzcut / undercut / hair tattoo in the back, but you can’t see it if my hair is down.)

Panathenaic Stadium steps

Our hotel was right by the Panathenaic Stadium, or “Kallimarmaro” (which means “beautiful marble.”) This is the only stadium in the world built exclusively from marble, making it an architectural marvel as well as a historic monument.

You may recognize this Athenian stadium from TV — it’s where the Olympic flame is first lit, before it goes on a journey by foot, all the way to the hosting city.

bright pink goth long hair

● Outfit Details ● I’m wearing this Iron Fist Bone faux fur black coat, and metallic skeleton skirt (click the links to get these exact designs). My Ouija board shirt is from Long Clothing, and my fishnet stockings are similar to these.

athens olympic stadium

This landmark dates back to 330 BC, when it was a racecourse established by the Athenian statesman Lycurgus. It was refurbished in the late 19th century, and became the site of the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

The stadium became an Olympic venue again, when Athens hosted the games in 2004. Today, it remains a popular site for events, and is the finishing point for the yearly Athens Classic Marathon.

Kallimarmaro athens stadium

I posed like a champion in front of the marble stands. (Although in the days of ancient Greece, Olympic athletes were always male… and they competed nude!)

athens greece olympics venue

Classic, timeless architecture. The ancient Greeks were ahead of their time, in so many fields.

first modern olympic games athens

From certain angles, the Panathenaic Stadium reminds me of a stark, alien spaceship.

travel influencer, snapchat instagram

I stopped in front of the massive Greek columns of the Zappeion. Located by the National Gardens, it was built in the 1880s as a fencing hall, for the first modern Olympic games.

faux fur coat fashion blogger

Vertical meets horizontal, light and shadow. For architecture buffs like myself, Athens is a joy to explore on foot.

athens greece outdoor cafes

The city’s neighborhoods have very different vibes, ranging from gritty industrial, to romantic Mediterranean. One of my favorite parts of Athens was Monastiraki, in the winding paths near the Acropolis. 

athens patio restaurants

Find a local cafe, bask in the sun, sip a coffee or ouzo (Greek anise-flavored liqueur), and dine on orange cake (made with layers of filo, orange zest, and Greek honey)… Zeus, this is heaven.

greek food, sea bass, sardines

It’s rather obvious that I’m a fan of Greek food! I could wax on about the incredible dishes we tried in Athens.

I suggest asking locals for recommendations, and dining on traditional fare from the region. Two of my favorite restaurants were Fish Point (8 Archimidous St, Plastira Square, Pagrati) and Seychelles (‎Kerameikou 49, Athens 104 36). The grilled sardines with fresh lemon, sea bass, cabbage dolmades with herbs, spanokopita (spinach feta and filo pies)… take me back…

Korres olive oil soap creams

And needless to say, Greek olive oil is beyond compare. In addition to eating it with every meal, I found my new favorite bath product: olive oil soap from Korres. This company creates Greek beauty products with natural ingredients like honey and yogurt;  I also picked up an avocado face mask that is a winner.

Mitropolis Church in Athens, Greece

It’s fascinating to see layers of history in Athens, one of the world’s oldest cities. Above is Mitropolis, or Greece Metropolitan Cathedral, built in the late 19th century.

athens old greek orthodox church

Walk a little more, and you’ll come across the Panaghia Kapnikarea: a Greek Orthodox church, and one of the oldest in the city. This structure dates back to the 11th century, and it was built over an ancient Greek pagan temple dedicated to either the goddess Demeter or Athena. Today, it’s in the center of a busy, modern shopping area!

modern athens greece hotel

Ultra modern meets ancient… Athens is one fascinating city.

(All photography by Joey Wong.)

acropolis pantheon ruins hill

If you’re planning a visit to Greece, check out the Discover Greece portal for lots of helpful travel tips. You’ll find suggestions for every type of traveler, from family hotels to nature excursions to spas.

athens architecture apartments

How are you enjoying my Athens stories and outfits of the day? Wait until you see what I wore to the Parthenon… you can see glimpses of this in our travel video – come watch!

 

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