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!

Sofitel Luang Prabang review: Laos luxury hotel! 3 Nagas restaurant, Black Friday grunge goth punk fashion.

luxury hotel Sofitel Luang Prabang

Ah, take us back to Laos! The laid-back, Buddhist country stole a piece of our hearts when my friends and I visited in September.

Staying at Sofitel Luang Prabang hotel made our trip particularly memorable. As you can see from the images, this property is a Southeast Asian tropical daydream.

Hôtel Sofitel Luang Prabang

In this final story from Luang Prabang, we’ll take you through Sofitel’s lush gardens —  as well as sister property 3 Nagas by MGallery. Fair warning: you might feel hungry when you see the river-fresh Laotian food we ate.

i am gia goth punk fashion

But first, since it’s Black Friday (Nov 23), I thought I’d share some finds that caught my eye. I Am Gia has Goth grunge punk clothes that are currently on sale for Cyber Monday.

(1) Their amazing one-sleeve bodysuit is apocalypse sci-fi ready.
(2) Love the plaid tartan and silver chain of Gia’s skirt.
(3) And how great is this leopard print coat:  reminds me of the one Shirley Manson of the band Garbage wore in the 90s!

Click the thumbnails for more of my I Am Gia picks:

nightmare before christmas bomber jacket coat

It’s almost the Nightmare Before Christmas, and these Goth clothes are on sale right now as well.

Love this Jack Skellington bomber jacket, this Gothic Xmas long sleeved dress, and epic skull sweater.

More skeleton designs below; click to view:

blogger closet sale selling wardrobe depop

I’m also offering Black Friday reductions on my closet sale! Just listed new items from my wardrobe, and happy to do bundles and discounts.

You can shop my Depop @lacarmina (or Google “La Carmina Depop” to find my shop). If you prefer, you can contact me by email (gothiccarmina attt gmail dott com) to do a sale, instead of using the app.

spa Hotel Sofitel Luang Prabang, Laos

Yukiro and I wore dresses with decadent accents to match the stately French design of Sofitel Luang Prabang.

OOTD: My dress is Cyberdog, and I’m holding a UV-protecting parasol by Boy1904 Umbrellas.  My shoes are these platform sandals by Rocket Dog, and my black lace capelet is Pheren Couture.


The Sofitel is located in Ban Mano, a peaceful residential quarter of Luang Prabang. The grounds are a fusion of Laotian materials with colonial-meets-contemporary French design. How inviting are these colorful pillows and lounge seats by the swimming pool?

sofitel luang prabang reviews

The inner courtyard features a lush pond with floating lilies, framed by palm trees and tropical flowers. We dared to do acrobatics on the stepping stones across.

(Photos by Julie Hunter)

bedrooms sofitel hotel luang prabang rooms

Sofitel Luang Prabang has rooms fit for royal queens. The suites feature five-metre-high ceilings, and open up to a private garden / patio, or personal swimming pool.

These modern rooms have an old-world nostalgia: traditional art on the walls, and a four column carved poster-bed shaded by mosquito netting.

luang prabang laos luxury resorts

The clay-roofed villas are outfitted with every luxury — yet you feel as if you’re nestled in the quiet countryside of Laos.

laos lounge swimming pool hotel

Luang Prabang is frequently described as a “sleepy” city, giving travellers a chance to slow down and focus on wellness. At Sofitel’s Le Spa, we indulged in ancient Laotian massages, where the ladies climbed up and used their elbows to work out all our kinks. The hotel also offers free essential oil baths, delivered right to your room.

garden suite pool villa sofitel luang prabang

Now this is how to enjoy life: lounge around, eat apples, and brew lemongrass and roselle tea!

Love how the Sofitel incorporates regional hand-woven textiles, pillows, pottery and antiques in each room.

breakfast buffet sofitel laos

Every morning, we feasted on the breakfast spread overlooking the pool and gardens. The pots hold sticky rice, stewed fish, vegetable noodles, and other local specialties.

laos rice rolls noodle soup

Sofitel Luang Prabang’s breakfast menu includes items made fresh to order: such as Indochina noodles in soup, and pork rice rolls. You can also choose from the international spread (croissants, yogurt, cheese, pancakes, eggs cooked in any way.)

laos instrument xylophone

The hotel honors Laotian culture through art displays and events. Guests can also take part in the morning alms ceremony, where locals offer food to a procession of saffron-robed Buddhist monks. 

poolside cocktails bar luang prabang

It’s hot and humid in Laos… this 25-metre mosaic-tiled pool is calling us in for a dip.

luxury accommodations luangprabang

Luang Prabang’s Old Town is only a 5 minute drive away, so the hotel is in the perfect spot for cultural explorations. (You can see the heritage city and temples in our first post about Laos.)

5 star Sofitel Luang Prabang

Sofitel Hotel Luang Prabang was once a century-old colonial mansion. It was transformed into a resort in 2010, but retains the elegant manicured gardens and amethyst tiles.

laos luxury travel vacations

“Step by step, oh, baby, gonna get to you, girl.” I think you can tell we had a grand time at Sofitel! (They’re one of my favorite hotel groups; I’ve stayed with them in Rio and Bangkok as well.)

Governor's Grill restaurant Sofitel Luang Prabang

One evening, we ate dinner at Governor’s Grill. The hotel’s steakhouse brings traditional Lao spices and flavors together with Western specialties. The cocktails, made with coconut and fresh fruit, were the perfect start — along with creamy pumpkin ginger soup. 

buffalo tasting menu larb laos

Then came this impressive buffalo tasting platter! The board was piled high with local buffalo prepared in different ways: steaks, kebabs with vegetables, Laotian larb (minced meat salad) and more.

chocolate shaped shoe high heels dessert

We hardly had room to eat the chocolate shoe with tropical fruits for dessert.

(The hotel also offers a four-course cooking class with the chefs. Guests get to visit a local market and then learn how to prepare authentic Lao fare).

3 Nagas Luang Prabang - MGallery by sofite

On another night, we checked out their other Luang Prabang property: 3 Nagas, an MGallery by Sofitel hotel.

“Naga” refers to a serpent or snake in Sanskrit, and reflects the mythical feeling of these boutique accomodations. There are 15 rooms in three restored historical houses, blending contemporary style with traditional architecture.

3 nagas boutique hotel laos

The colonial manors are furnished with dark woods, warm throws and spiral staircases. You can either sleep in Lamache House (once an ice cream shop to the royal palace) or Khamboua House (built for the king’s counsellor in 1903).

boutique art design hotel luang prabang 3 nagas

Red decorative accents add to the warmth of 3 Nagas. Guests can stroll in the courtyard garden, and rent one of the matching bicycles. This hotel is right in the city center, so it’s easy to see the Night Market, galleries and temples.

3 nagas restaurant tasting menu dinner

Parked outside, this vintage red automobile hints at the classic food served at 3 Nagas Restaurant and Bar. Try the tasting menu, which gives you a broad selection of Laotian favorites.

traditional laos food luang prabang

After a rice cake amuse bouche, we ate up this deep fried Mekong river weed, served with sesame seeds and homemade jam. Then came this generous platter with a variety of local dishes, paired with the famous sticky rice.

luang prabang fine dining restaurants

I spy Tom Son Pla (Mekong river fish soup with lemongrass and vegetables), Phanaeng chicken curry, stir fried beef, and steamed egg with mushrooms and herbs wrapped in banana leaves. We were surprised at how much we loved the cone of sticky rice, which is not sweet and goes perfectly.

3 nagas restaurant review dessert

We couldn’t resist getting dessert from the old-time parlor. Coconut, mango and roselle ice cream.. plus custom passionfruit ginger cocktails. A meal to remember.

weird funny strange luang prabang

Khop tchaï laï laï (thank you very much) to the kind Sofitel staff for welcoming us! We’re so happy we stayed at this elegant hotel, known as one of the most luxurious in Laos. 

I hope you’ll get a chance to visit as well. You can learn more on Sofitel Luang Prabang’s Facebook page and Instagram @SofitelLuangPrabang.

luxury hotels luang prabang

Isn’t the Sofitel Luang Prabang straight out a dream? Until next time, Laos.

(PS – a reminder that there are Black Friday sales going on right now, including the alternative styles below. Have fun!)