Cute Gun Shop

April 22, 2007

Here’s a picture of a shop I spotted in Fujisawa city, which sells menacing replica hand guns, and has a sign outside featuring a nice little teddy bear on a parachute. Aw, isn’t that cute?!

Arabian Nights

April 22, 2007

Arabian Rock is a novelty restaurant in Shinjuku, designed to transport you into the old Arabia of Sinbad, Aladdin, and Ali Baba. After waiting outside and enduring the song “Arabian Nights” from Aladdin over and over again, you have to rub a magic lamp to get through the entrance, then the waiting staff appear in a puff of smoke, decked out in belly-dancer outfits and MC Hammer pants. They’re so enthusiastic and eager to please, you’ll feel compelled to enjoy yourself, like parents at a school play.

The tables are in dimly-lit, curtained rooms, with the occasional hookah and Persian rug for effect. It’s halfway between a Disneyland version of Aladdin’s cave, and a love hotel. It probably doesn’t bear much resemblance to the real ancient Saudi Arabia but who wants dysentery and decapitation while they’re eating?

The food’s standard novelty-restaurant fare and, if you fancy a drink, there are some original cocktails themed around signs of the zodiac, and the “Magic Lamp Abracadabra” for 1500 yen, which is six liqueurs you mix yourself in an Aladdin-style lamp, for two or three people (or one drunkard.)
You can get a set course of eight dishes with an all-you-drink deal on top of that for 4500 yen. And if it’s your birthday, expect a copyright-defying appearance from Disney’s genie, bearing a special dessert.

Arabian Rock
2-3F Square Building, 1-16-3 Kabuki-Cho, Shinjuku-ku, 160-0021.
There are also loads of these restaurants in Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, etc.

Bar Bollocks

April 16, 2007

A ridiculously named bar appeared in this week’s Metropolis Magazine– “Bollocks Paradium” in Kyoto. Apparently it’s “a charming, typical Kyoto bar. It seats about fifteen, mainly at intimate tables, but there are a few stools at the bar as well. Candles provide romantic lighting, and the staff are attentive and friendly.” Who would have guessed that a place called “Bollocks” would be charming and romantic, eh?

Bollocks Paradium
Tel: 075-212-8633.
Open daily 8pm-5am.

Scousers in Japan

April 9, 2007

I laughed when I spotted this colourful flyer for a club night in Shibuya called “Scouse! Japan.”
For non-UK readers, a Scouser is a person from Liverpool, who stereotypically has curly hair and a moustache and looks like this:

The thought of all things Liverpudlian becoming a craze in Japan is bewildering (although the Beatles are still phenomenally popular). It’d be funny if the Japanese teenagers started wearing Scouser costumes.

Apparently, at the event the DJs will be spinning “Scouse House”, which a little research tells me is a form of House music, popular in the North-West of England, which evolved from Happy Hardcore. I’ve been in Japan so long I’m out of touch- I’ve never heard of it.
I’m still not entirely sure what the hell “The United Kingdom of Donk” means, however.

Scousers are already well-represented in Japan by the character on the signs for Shirokiya Izakayas (pictured below). This moustachioed mascot bears an uncanny resemblance to a stereotypical Liverpudlian, and can be seen outside Japanese pubs across the land. My god, it’s a Scouse invasion!

Here’s a link to a site about the “Scouse! Tokyo” party. Looks quite fun!: Scouse! Tokyo


April 9, 2007

I also sometimes contribute to a topical site called JapanProbe which is always worth a look.
Here are links to some of the articles I’ve written for them:

Japan’s Fattest Band

Can Sumo wrestlers Really Retract Their Testicles?

English Teacher Porn

300 Yen Bar in Ginza

April 8, 2007

Incredibly, one of the cheapest bars in Tokyo can be found in the glitzy, high-class shopping district of Ginza, nestled among the Louis Vuitton boutiques and jewelry shops.
“300 Bar” is so-called because every drink or dish is a mere three hundred yen (about three US dollars, or one pound fifty, which wouldn’t get you very far elsewhere in Ginza.) Upon arrival, you buy tickets which you can exchange for booze and food at the bar. Lots of cocktails (over one hundred, apparently), beers and small dishes are available.

Before you go, it’s worth picking up a copy of Metropolis magazine (the free, English entertainment guide to Tokyo) somewhere, because they always seem to have a free drink coupon for 300 Bar. Actually, the last time I was there, I happened upon a stack of Metropolises (Metropoli? Whatever) in a darkened corner of the bar, and I sneakily tore out a few coupons, which made the evening even cheaper. Wahey!
It’s an all-standing bar, which can be a bit grueling on the legs after a day of sightseeing, but is great after several hours of sitting on your arse in an office or English school. It also makes mingling and flirting exceptionally easy, as does the cheap, free-flowing liquor. Nice.

All in all, 300 Bar is an ideal venue to kick-start a hard-drinking night out.
Just make sure you don’t go on a drunken credit-card spending spree in the nearby shops after you leave, or you’ll be paying significantly more than 300 yen.

300 Bar
Tel: (03) 3572-6300
Address: Fazenda bldg.B1F, 5-9-11 Ginza, Chuo-ku,Tokyo 160-0023

Funny VJ Name

April 3, 2007

I recently found this flyer for a party in Yokosuka, near Yokohama. Check out the name of the VJ (video DJ.) He shouldn’t be so hard on himself!