• Namahage; 2nd floor, Roppongi3-13-2, Minato-ku, Tokyo; +81 3 5410 0012
For good luck, some people rub rabbits’ feet. In the northern prefecture of Akita, on the other hand, they dress as demons, striking fear into the hearts of young children and making them cry. If you’re thinking, “sounds like a brilliant idea for a family restaurant,” too bad – Namahage’s beaten you to it. While you’re eating your meal (your standard nabe soups and fried chicken, loosely based on traditional Akita cooking), the lights suddenly cut out, and a deafening wailing fills the air. Stamping and shouting in the semi-darkness, performers dressed as giant “namahage” evil spirits go from table to table, as they are said to go from house to house in Akita, asking: “Any bad guys, or lazy guys?” To demonstrate your innocence, so that the Namahage will offer a blessing rather than take you back to the mountains for eternity, you’re expected to feign surprise or even fear – though the performance is entertainingly jarring enough that you won’t have to fake it. It’s like a meal and a traumatizing character test in one. Surprisingly popular with families.
• Alcatraz ER; 2F Harvest Bldg, 2-13-5 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku; +81 3 3770 7100
Alcatraz, the crazy old uncle of Japanese theme restaurants, kickstarted the trend about a decade ago by capitalising on everyone’s love of hospital food. The setting is a “medical prison”. You are the patient. The waitresses are dressed as the type of nurses that exist only in Benny Hill re-runs. They handcuff you, pretend to inject a giant needle into your rear, and then lock you in a cell. There, you can order such dishes as Dead Chicken (in which two chicken feet are clasped together in peaceful repose), Penis Sausage (in which a sausage is carved to resemble a severed penis) and Intestine (another sausage, and sort of odd considering that you can order actual intestine in any of Tokyo’s zillion yakitori restaurants). Try the cocktails: the false teeth in a jar has particular bite. Occasionally, the staff will “accidentally” open your cell door and it’s your mission to go screaming around the restaurant in a wheelchair evading the outstretched hands of other prisoners.
“Nyotaimori” (which literally means “female body plate”) is the name of thejapanese restaurant that serves sushi and sashimi on a naked woman’s body. The body is made from food and placed on an operating table, much as though in a hospital. You can “operate” anyway and anywhere you want by cutting open the body and eating what you find inside. The body will actually bleed as you cut it and the intestines and organs inside are completely editable. It’s a banquet of Cannibalism.
“Dinner in the Sky” is a Brussels based restaurant that serves dinner for up to 22 people… 150 feet in the air! The specially-designed table and chairs are lifted by a crane. Dinner anywhere in Belgium will set you back almost 8 thousand euros; other locations are also available. Remember, you must wear your seat belt, and don’t drop your fork!
“Cabbages and Condoms” is a chain of restaurants in Thailand (where else???). There are condoms on the walls and pictures of condoms printed on the carpets. Instead of after-dinner mints, patrons are offered a bowl of condoms at the counter. Profits from the restaurants go to support the Population and Community Development Association (PDA).
or…if you are a moose on the go and prefer the convenience of a drive-thru…