The Robot restaurant

19 08 2013

While in town I  wanted to check out what was new in Tokyo. The big thing was the Sky Tree, the world’s tallest structure now casting shade over vast swathes of Eastern Tokyo. But as I was staying in the West, and not such a fan of enormous towers, I decided to skip it.

The second big new thing was definitely on my to-do list though. The “Robot Restaurant” has caused a ripple of excitement, with its spectacular robot/dancing girl cabaret show advertised by a truck with drives around with two big bikini-clad robots on show, blaring a special Robot Restaurant song. This has succeeded in piquing the city’s interest, packing in crowds three times nightly to the unbelievably gaudy and blinged-out “restaurant” in the fluoro-lit sex district of Kabuki-cho. I had to go.

After a brief incident involving some suspicious-looking touts trying to lead us away to some other shady Kabuki-cho den, my friends and I arrived at the “restaurant” to be ushered into the waiting room, which is frankly worth the (5000 yen) price of admission by itself.

Mirrors, lights and moving LED displays cover every surface, flashing up images of nubile dancing girls, giant robots and the odd dresscode regulations (no large wigs, no-one who is “totally” drunk and no-one dressed like a host or a gangster).

We were then led down the world’s most eye-bleedingly OTT staircase to a surprisingly austere basement theatre where we sat at little desks and ate our snacks (the term “restaurant” is a misnomer. Despite the small school-cafeteria style snack, it is all about the show. The food is barely worth eating).

Without giving too much away, the performance turned out to be wildly entertaining. It started with cute-sexy Japanese girls dancing, pretending to play trumpets and slaying trolls and pterodactyls. The special effects were sometimes impressive and sometimes surprisingly low-key (was that a guy in a robot suit?)

Cabaret dancers gyrated to Christina Aguilera’s “Burlesque” on stages which walked themselves around on giant automated legs. Then came the dinosaurs, the “savages” (that was a bit cringeworthy) and the grand finale of blading afro-ed robots, weird high tech bikes, a neon-covered tank, girls circling the room in little trolleys suspended from the ceiling and bikini babes driving robots shaped like giant bikini babes.

It was all pretty amazing. Recommended.

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