La Carmina is a Tokyo fashion, alt culture, and travel TV host / production coordinator (“Taboo”, “Bizarre Foods”, “World’s Weirdest Restaurants”, ”Oddities”), author of 3 books (Penguin USA and Random House), journalist, and professional blogger at lacarmina.com. Her “La Carmina blog” about underground culture/travel/fashion has a passionate following, and has been featured in major publications (The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, LA Times). There seems to be at least one Posse staffer in Tokyo at any given time, so we reached out to La Carmina to share her top destinations in Japan’s capital:
Alcatraz jail restaurant- For my appearance on Travel Channel tv program “Bizarre Foods”, I took Andrew Zimmern to Shibuya’s Alcatraz ER, a crazy theme restaurant where you eat inside jail cells. The food includes Russian Roulette takoyaki, where one out of six octopus balls is filled with wasabi. Then the lights go out, and waiters dressed as monsters run around scaring the customers!
Ra.a.g.f Harajuku Bunny Cafe- Many people have heard about Japanese cat cafes, where you sip tea and play with dozens of kitties that roam around. However, there is now a rabbit version. I took Duff McKagan (Guns n Roses, Velvet Revolver bass player) and his family to the Harajuku one, Raagf. (more about that here).
Curry House CoCo Ichiban- Japanese curry is distinct; it’s sweeter and thicker, and a much-loved comfort food. I always stop by CoCo Ichiban; there are locations all over Japan, and the spice levels go from mild to extra-hot. You can customize every aspect of your dish, including how many grams of rice!
Tokyo Decadence Bar-A typical night at Decabar involves pole-dancing drag queens and a domination show by a mistress, surrounded by dancing cyber kids. Located above Christon Cafe Shinjuku (a campy church-themed restaurant), Tokyo Decadance bar also serves food to fit the club night’s theme.
Angel & Demons Maid Cafe- In maid cafes, male customers are treated like princes by pretty Japanese girls in French maid costumes. However, this one has a twist: the girls cosplay as angels or demons. Customers choose whether they want to be naughty and nice, and interact with them through harmless games.
Pure Cafe- While many traditional Japanese foods are not vegetarian, there are now a number of great, animal-friendly restaurants in Tokyo. Cafe Pure in Harajuku served a memorable meal made from fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Harajuku Crepes- They’re sold everywhere in the streets of Harajuku, and are as sweet as the Hello Kitty-loving girls who buy them. Here, crepes are topped with mounds of whipped cream and fruit, and the trucks are pastel pink.
Kagaya izakaya- I have been to almost all of the city’s crazy theme restaurants, which range from monkey waiters to butlers and Alice in Wonderland. However, Shinbashi homestyle pub Kagaya takes the crown for craziness. The owner acts perfectly normal… until he ducks into a closet. Music starts playing. And then the surprises begin, involving costumes, performances, and pranks.
David Bowie theme cafe- They don’t serve spiders from Mars, but there is a cocktail called China Girl. Sony opened a pop up restaurant in honor of David Bowie, filling it with signed vinyls and memorabilia, from Ziggy Stardust to today. Diners listened to his music while munching on Shepherd’s Pie.