Category Archive for Nightcrawling

Tokyo Decadance Bar at Christon Cafe Shinjuku. Pole dancing Goths & pride parade!

preta porco, tokyo decadance

Ohohoho! You’ve landed in Tokyo Decadance Bar — one of the favorite hangouts of Tokyo’s alternative, Goth and Cyber club kids. If you’re visiting the city, you must stop here for the absinthe and strange performances.

Enjoy photos from my previous two trips to “Decabar,” featuring the infamous Preta Porco in his signature yellow face paint.

tokyo japanese drag queens

Address of Tokyo Decabar: 東京都新宿区新宿5-17-13 or 5-17-13 Shinjuku, Oriental Wave Building 8F/9F
Directions: From Shinjuku East Exit, walk towards Studio Alta and Don Quixote. Take a right on this main street (Yasakuni Dori) and keep walking. Christon Cafe is on the left side of the street, right above the Lawson and before the parking lot buildings. Ride the elevator up to the 8th floor (Christon Cafe theme restaurant) and walk up the stairs to Decadance Bar.

The club space is small but laid back, and decorated in neon paint. The fashion is consistently fabulous, as Yukiro Dravarious, in one of his many guises, demonstrates. (He’s performing April 27 at Tokyo Pride; keep reading for details!)

japan mistress bar, drag queen makeup

On “Porco Night,” the spotlight shines on yellow-faced bartender Preta Porco. Mistress Maya also holds a regular “Snack Mayaya” event, where she helms a snack bar and does rope-tyling demonstrations.

sophia sama, tokyo decabar

On any given night, I’ll run into friends here. On the left, you may recognize Sophia, an impressive vocalist who recently debuted her solo project, “Season of Ghosts.”

adrien le danois, tokyo decadance party

Owner Adrien Le Danois (in the blue hair) welcomes guests to his lair. You’ll see lots of cosplay girls and colorful street style on the dance floor. Many of the people who come here speak English and French, so you’ll be able to strike up conversations even if you don’t know Japanese.

japanese club kids, tokyo clubbing

Porco’s scintillating smile will immediately put you in the mood to party. (My hair is pink because these photos are from last spring.)

tokyo party photos, shinjuku nightlife

The drinks flow… and the shenanigans begin. I always order the absinthe at Decadance Bar.

japanese nightclub, crazy bar

The space is decorated like a Day Glo carnival, and the staff dresses the part in wigs and glitter.

japan pole dancer, pole dancing girl

Between DJ sets, underground performers strut their stuff. Everyone smiled at this 1980s dance routine, peppered with pole-dancing.

clown makeup, japanese pole dancers

Porco squealed and twirled on a pole. I have no words.

drag performance, tokyo lgbt

On any given evening, you’ll encounter a theme event or bizarre performance. (Photography by Naomi – check out her latest illustrations!)

pole dancing inversions, asia pole dance

If it’s your birthday, beware: the drag queens sit on you and chant the “nonde nonde” drinking song.

yamamba, ganguro, makeup, japan

The special DJs played a bouncing, techno-electric mix. You can tell that everyone was having fun.

harajuku cyber goth girl

I returned to Tokyo Decadance Bar last December. It was “Sex Pot Night,” meaning there were events both in the upstairs bar and downstairs restaurant (Christon Cafe).

alamode market, lolita handmade

Similar to Alamode Market, there were handmade Gothic Lolita accessories for sale at tables.

japanese girl tattoos, back tattoo

A striking back tattoo with hearts and wings, on this barely clad Japanese lady.

christon cafe shinjuku

As you know from my Theme Restaurants book, Christon is bizarrely decorated with church relics, like chandeliers and altars.

christian goth theme restaurant tokyo

This makes it a haunting (and slightly kitschy) atmosphere for a Goth alternative party. The big Tokyo Decadance parties, which take place every 1-2 months, are usually held at Christon Shinjuku.

animals preserved in jars

That night, the area near the lower staircase was filled with tables. Vendors sold oddities like scorpions preserved in jars.

goth chokers

It’s a great place to pick up one of a kind Gothic accessories like these hand-studded chokers.

barbie purse

Or get a glitter tattoo, from a not-so-Barbie girl.

japan latex dress

If you get tired of shopping, then there’s plenty of singing, dancing, performances and other entertainment in the room.

japanese mistresses performance

I saw a slightly incongruous performance by a group of women dressed as mistresses, in tight leather corsets and riding sticks.

japan women with whips

Yet they sang Jpop and anime songs, with giddy choreography. The men in the back seemed to be having a good time.

japan cheers, drinking kampai

“Kampai” or cheers!

man in red wig, brolita

Much like the club night Department H, this is a place for you to be whoever or whatever you wish, without judgement.

weird doll art

The grotesque doll on the wall is indication that anything goes.

boy putting on makeup

Makeup on men is the norm rather than the exception.

tokyo goth club scene

Goth fashion looks especially bloody under red lights.

gothic lolita manga

My current blue hair matches these girls on the wall.

cyber eye makeup

For once, Yukiro isn’t the tallest person in the room… thanks to little help from stilts!

tying up girl

Mistress Maya (who is also DJ Maya at her event Midnight Mess) tied up an innocent victim.

shibari demonstration

The girl got a spanking and hot candle wax on her back, among other things that we can’t post on this blog… You’ll have to use your imagination, or come to Decabar to see for yourself.

horns hairstyle

For more photos from Tokyo Decadence and other Goth / Cyber / LGBT nightlife, take a look at my Japan clubbing guide.

PS: Yukiro is performing his spooky drag queen act, Die Schwarze Frau, on April 27th at Tokyo Pride Parade! For info on how to see him in action, check out his Facebook page. You’ll be entertained and frightened for sure.

Have you ever tried pole dancing? Would you visit a club like this?

Tokyo night photography: Shinjuku walk, Japan after dark.

sanrio sweater, hello kitty clothes

Shh. Even though I live for exploring new countries (Israel and Jordan right now!), it’s no secret that I miss Tokyo whenever I’m away.

I was in Japan around Christmas-time, which gave me an opportunity to take photos with light displays. Enjoy these street shots of Shinjuku after dark.

alphonse mucha innocent world tights, art nouveau stockings

In Tokyo, I’m one of the tallest people around…

Hello Kitty and friends sweater: from last year’s Forever 21 x Sanrio collaboration
Short plaid purple skirt: Peace Now, from Closet Child
Blue fuzzy animal purse: Mercibeaucoup, bought at Shinjuku Marui Annex
Art Nouveau print tights: Innocent World x Alphonse Mucha

neon purple escalator lights

First Mate fixer Naomi took these cool purple effect photos by shooting between the escalator rail. Using a prime lens on a DSLR, you can achieve nifty effects like this.

tokyo night photography, bokeh

The background blurs out, and the little Xmas bulbs turn into “bokeh”, or glowing balls of light.

shinjuku station west exit

This little hallway of lights is located by the West Exit of Shinjuku Station (near My Lord department store). There’s an Anna Sui store and a Ne-Net boutique in this area.

shinjuku my lord, japanese shopping center

I rode the escalator at least three times for the sake of taking outfit photos!

christmas lights japan displays

In the center, there were three trees covered in lights. Naomi shot through glass for this reflected image.

shibuya girls makeup, false eyelashes

Lost in a Japanese winter wonderland.

tokyo traffic officer

Since I know you enjoy seeing Tokyo city life, I went on a long stroll through Shinjuku with my camera, and captured the night-time action. Here, a traffic guard in a helmet whistles and waves his… light saber?

japan drink vending machine

A man in a cap is silhouetted in front of a drink vending machine. In busy areas like Shinjuku, there are literally vending machines every few meters.

yuzu juice, drink

My favorite drink is not usually found in machines, but at convenience stores like 7-Eleven. It’s yuzu, of course (the Japanese tangy citrus). This little “pet” bottle is hot, sold near the check-out counter.

japanese ska band, brass orchestra

Near the entrance of Shinjuku Station East Exit, a ska band gave a free performance. The lead saxophonist twirled and jumped around. This concert was actually part of a vitamin brand promotion, perhaps explaining their manic energy.

tokyo buildings, shinjuku signs

An anime-cyborg girl overlooks the business commuters.

shinjuku streets nighttime photography

Shinjuku is filled with little narrow streets, lit up with neon signs. Many of these advertise restaurants and bars.

japan anime neon billboard

Flashing billboards with anime characters are a common sight.

japanese tiger tattoo design

The eye-catching designs are so varied. A Japanese-style tiger leaps at a butterfly.

0101 marui one shinjuku

Shinjuku Doori is one of the main streets, and leads to the various 0101 department stores. (For a peek at the street style boutiques found inside, see my post about Marui Annex.)

japanese girls posing for photos

How have you be dressing up this winter? Would you wear a Sanrio sweater like this?

bokeh lights effect

Close-up on my Chococat sleeve. He’s one of my favorite characters.

pulling focus bokeh

Naomi holds up a Jrock / Visual Kei flyer, to demonstrate how we “pull focus” with the camera lens. By focusing on something in the foreground, the background blurs out with this cool dotted effect.

japanese girl, vending machines

I leave you with a Japanese girl buying a drink from a vending machine.

Are you enjoying these mood photos? Do you take late-night city walks like I do?

Corporate Goth party in a Tokyo boardroom! A strange themed club, or office meeting?

japan alternative party

My Pirates TV production company has been doing well lately, so it was nigh time to celebrate with rum and wenches!

Naomi, Yukiro and I threw a “Corporate Goth Meeting” — our clever way of hosting a drinking party in a central, inexpensive Tokyo space. Read on for the shenanigans, and tips on how you can plan an alternative event like ours.

tokyo goth scene

After wrapping our latest Tokyo TV job, we wanted to host a get-together for our “spooky friends.” But how to throw an epic Goth party at minimal cost?

In Tokyo, this is a special dilemma. People live in small apartments far away, so we couldn’t have an event at someone’s house. We didn’t want to join an existing club night, or meet at a restaurant or bar (too noisy and expensive, and not good for mingling). Renting a private club space would also be much too costly.

corporate goth work clothes

The sneaky and slightly subversive solution… We rented a hotel boardroom for three hours, and held a “work meeting!”

In Shinjuku, you can rent business meeting rooms for under $50 an hour. They’re large enough to hold 20-30 “staff members”, and the location is convenient for everyone.

tokyo goth makeup, drag queen

The hotel didn’t question our motives behind the “Corporate Goth Meeting.” But once the doors closed, the work gathering… turned into a drag queen drinking fest.

whiteboard merger profits

Our friends (aka employees) showed up in “Business Casual Gothic work clothes” to fit the theme (aka ruse). We did end up discussing important matters, as you can see on the white board.

mount gay barbados rum

Everyone brought a little something to eat or drink. This Barbados “Mount Gay” rum was the hit of the evening.

drinking party, alcohol table

How sweet that many of my “pirates” brought me yuzu (the tangy Japanese citrus), since they know it’s my favorite fruit flavor.

nightmare before christmas sweater, rolick lumine

I’m wearing a Nightmare Before Christmas sweater from Rolick, a women’s boutique in Shinjuku Lumine. I’m not a big fan of the current winter collections in Japan, as the materials tend to be scratchy and the designs uninspired. However, I love the Jack Skellington print in this collaboration.

My fuzzy boots are by Liz Lisa.

jack skellington sweater

There are perks to being Captain of the Pirate Ship. You can engage in a little “harassment” here and there…

corporate goth meeting

Everyone got into the theme of the party. It looks like we’re having an animated panel discussion.

la carmina and pirates sign

In fact, we are a business: La Carmina and the Pirates does Japan TV fixing, local production arranging, translation, on-camera hosting, consulting and more. We’ve worked with Food Network, Travel Channel, Discovery, National Geographic and other networks.

nu goth clothing, leather garter belt

Three shining examples of how to dress Work Goth. It’s possible to abide by an office dress code, while keeping a dark, alt aesthetic.

cruella de ville costume

Yukiro appears to be delivering a corporate takeover speech.

japanese goth dolly fashion

Kanae raises an objection, Phoenix Wright style. (In fact, our friends do work with us — they’re always willing to lend a hand with projects, and appear on our TV shows.)

grey green hair color

Naomi brought portable speakers, and played Gothic MIDI tunes. The boardroom space was perfect: everyone could mingle freely, and chat without being drowned out by music.

drag queen posing

We even had a nice view of Kabukicho. The only problem with the room… was that Seby thought the lights were too bright!

iphone 3 old phone

Maybe we need to upgrade our employees’ cell phones. (This is Yukiro’s ancient iPhone 3.)

crossdressing gothic lolita

Thankfully, none of the people at the hotel disturbed our meeting. If they walked in unexpectedly, I think they would be very confused.

halloween gingerbread, ghost bat cookies

We munched on Caro’s haunted gingerbread, made by hand.

girl taking iphone photos

The cookies go well with mocha and vodka, apparently.

sony a700 digital camera

My hair flower clips are handmade by Angelica Brigade. Remember when I wore them in this Ice Queen photoshoot?

drawing on whiteboard

Naomi does a presentation about capital gains and losses. Or something like that.

sitting on board room table

There’s always a lady in the office who gets a bit scandalous after a few drinks..

crazy office party

At our events, someone always ends up being tortured (in this case, stomped on).

work party, staff photo

The motto of the evening: “Be there or be fired!”

red and white cake

We gave out an Employee of the Month award to David, who was also celebrating his birthday.

goth eating cake

In addition to the bloody delicious cake, you can see how much there was to imbibe.

funny cake eating

Yukiro and Remiko show how eating should be done.

i like it hard tshirt

And this t-shirt says it all. What do you think of our out-of-the-box idea for renting a cheap and central event space? I think we’ve created an alternative to alternative parties!

work office parties

Cheers to my Japan Pirate crew. My ship would have run aground long ago, without you crazy kids.

Would you throw a “business meeting” like ours? Do you dress Corporate Gothic when you go to work?

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Nightmare Before Christmas musical! Steampunk clothing shop Wells & Verne, Portland pirates.

pirate girl costume, lip service pirate hat

ARR you ready for XXX-mas yet?

While in Portland, my film team and I went all around town, shooting segments about the kooky subcultures here. We ducked into a Pirate Day-Glo golf course, Steampunk boutique

jack skellington makeup, nightmare before xmas costume

… and wound up at a Nightmare Before Xmas musical, with live actors and a nine-piece orchestra! Read on for the spook-tacular story.

pirate crew, portland pirates cosplay

Let’s begin with Captain Carmina and her band of pirates. These Portlanders are part of PDX Yar, the crew responsible for pirate-themed karaoke, balls and other scurvy deeds. First mate Naomi described their shenanigans in this post.

Pirate lace hat: gifted by Lip Service, similar to this pirate hat
Pirate jacket and skirt: gifted by Wheels & Dollbaby
Black laser-cut boots: Yosuke Tokyo

Glowing Greens portland mini-golf

We met at Glowing Greens, a blacklight indoor mini-golf course with a pirate theme. (509 SW Taylor St, Portland, OR) Every square inch is lit up in neon, and decorated with piratical elements like sea monsters.

day-glo golf course, glowing skull

I’ve never seen a miniature golf course as crazy as this one. The themed holes included a graveyard, a mansion with a shaking gate, a pop-up zombie.

portland Glowing Greens, blacklight Miniature Golf

The acid-trip environment inspired filmmaker Melissa. On the spot, she dreamt up a pirate adventure tale, and we acted it out on camera. Can’t wait to show you this funny footage.

theme park pirates

If ye be in a piratical mood, and twitching for a round of golf… ye know where to sail!

wells and verne, steampunk clothing portland

I was excited to shoot travel footage at Wells & Verne, a neo-Victorian shoppe inspired by Goth, Industrial and Steampunk culture. (Located in the Sellwood district at 8315 SE 13th Ave, Portland, OR)

art nouveau steampunk girl painting

As soon as you walk in, you’ll see this magnificent Art Nouveau steampunk gal on the wall. (It reminded me of the Alphonse Mucha art exhibit in Tokyo.)

brass goggles, steampunk glasses

This newly-opened boutique carries handmade goods from “our local Portland family,” as well as artisans from all over the world. The display case had these brass goggles, a steampunk must…

steampunk laser gun, accessories

… and a hand-crafted laser gun. (Photography by Melissa Rundle, Eric Bergemann, Naomi Rubin and La Carmina.)

leather mask, victorian steam punk shop

At Wells & Verne, clothes are works of art. Great care went into the making of this leather mask and holster.

portland steampunk boutique, wells verne sellwood

Many items, such as velvet three piece suits, are tailor made to order. This is the place to find something elegant and one-of-a-kind.

steampunk fashion outfit, brown dress

I fell in love with this steampunk Victorian dress, goggles necklace and mini top hat.

vampire bat, kitty cat scarves

How cute are the vampire cat bat scarves? I hope you’ll drop by to see my new friends at Wells & Verne in Portland. They often hold special events, which you can see via their Facebook page.

nightmare before christmas makeup, jack skellington face

Darkness fell, as we drove to Secret Society for “The Nitemare B4 Xmas,” a live-action musical tribute to Tim Burton’s cult film.

nightmare before xmas mayor makeup

The Mayor invited us to their final show. Audience members are encouraged to sing along as his nine-piece troupe, The Saloon Ensemble, performed every song in the movie.

sally nightmare before christmas makeup, tim burton costumes

We arrived early to witness the preparations. The actors and musicians transformed into the Nightmare Before Christmas characters, with the help of deft makeup skills and costumes.

live musical, tim burton film nightmare before xmas

The set design was spot-on, incorporating the movie’s signature swirls and tombstones. On the left side, there was a normal Christmas tree. On the right… a scary X-mas one.

day of dead facepaint, girl sugar skull makeup

This show received lots of positive buzz, and was sold out that night. Quite a few of the ticket-holders wore Day of the Dead makeup, since it was November 1st. My film team and I ordered popcorn and Dark & Stormy cocktails (rum and ginger beer), and practiced singing “This is Halloween.”

the Saloon Ensemble portland, love bomb orchestra

Each performance featured a different opening act. We clapped along to the Love Bomb Marching Skeletons, a go-go group of scantily clad, skull-faced musicians and dancers. They got us revved up and ready for the headlining musical.

sing-along nightmare before christmas musical

What a treat for fans of Nightmare Before Christmas: the band played the songs, sang, and did hilarious character voices. Meanwhile, Jack and Sally tottered on stilts and acted out their parts to perfection.

tim burton theatrical makeup, corpse bride

I was smiling throughout the entire 60 minute show. To mix up the action, there were sing-a-long segments and contests. Everyone cheered for Zero the dog, a puppet manipulated by this ghostly lady.

Oogie Boogie dance, song dancing

Oogie Boogie’s wacky dance was picture perfect. Amazing, how the actors captured the movements and expressions of the animated characters.

saloon ensemble, Nitemare B4 Xmas screaming contest

Several guests went on stage for a screaming contest, including filmmaker Melissa. It was a lock. She had by far the loudest, longest and shrillest scream!

What a delight to “make Christmas time” with The Saloon Ensemble and friends. They plan to do more musical shows based on films, so stay tuned to their website. And if you haven’t watched Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Xmas film yet… what are you waiting for?

christmas lights bokeh, xmas light

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you like this spooky musical? Would you visit the Portland Pirate golf course, or Victorian steampunk shop?

PS: if you’re looking for a last-minute Xmas gift, please keep my Jpop books in mind. Click to order Cute Yummy Time and Crazy, Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo via Amazon. Thank you.