Tuesday, July 7, 2015

[TOKYO] Marshmallows and Choco Syringe in Prison

Goodbye fuel surcharge means airline promos are legit again and this was proven when I booked my Manila – Narita – Manila tickets via Cebu Pacific. I only spent PhP4000 all-in! How can you say no to that? There is a problem, though. I already did the tourist thing in Tokyo back in 2012, so what the heck am I going to do there now? I decided against exploring the Tohoku region north of Tokyo because I’m lazy like that, even if it’s just a short train ride away. Oh well, let’s just chillax in Tokyo then!

I am not that adventurous when it comes to food. I’ve been a devout worshipper of McDonalds and KFC. Why fix something that ain’t broken, eh? But I still turned to my ever trusted Wikitravel Japan page to see if there are some weird restaurants in the area. After all, Shinjuku is no stranger to the odd and the strange. And then I saw the Lockup. The concept is simple: you eat dinner in prison. Exciting! I’ve seen videos online and they even handcuff you. Okay, I’m eating there tonight!

Finding it can be a bit of a challenge. Located a bit close to the red light district, Yasukuni-dori is the street you want to be in. Before you cross that road, look behind you and you should see KFC. Cross the street and you’ll see Mister Donut to the right. Walk AWAY from Mister Donut. In short, head left. There are many buildings! Look up and try to find the sign for the Lockup. It’s on the 6th/7th floor of one of those buildings to your right!

By the way, this restaurant opens 5 PM onwards, so no lunch here. Once you get off the elevator on the 7th floor, just enter the door to your left. You will then find yourself in a room with a guillotine and a red alarm button on it. Push the button. The door will not open, though, until you insert your hand (or your head if you are that adventurous) in the guillotine. Don’t worry, it’s all for show. You will still be able to use your hands for dinner.

You will be escorted to a waiting room where there is a bathroom you can use. You wait there for around 15 minutes, after which a policewoman in a mini skirt will escort you to your cell. Yes, she will also handcuff you. You can ask for a souvenir photo, but she only speaks Nihongo. Fine, you could ask her: 写真を取ってもいいですか? She will most likely comply because most of them are friendly, although there are warnings about too much camera use within the premises.

The food is okay, although you must understand that this place is actually a tourist trap. A very, very entertaining tourist trap! I chose finger foods but they also have a wide variety of different dishes to choose from, like chocolate milk in a syringe accompanied by a beaker full of ice and marshmallows, for example. Prices are a bit steep, although nothing that would really get you bankrupt, except that you can get the same items for half the amount of yen in some random fast food chain.

Oh stop complaining! You're paying for the experience, not the food. You should know that by now. Anyway, there are two or more other branches of the Lockup all around Japan. This one in Shinjuku has a bit of an identity crisis. On one hand, it wants to be a prison. On the other, it also subscribes to a freak horror experimental theme. It’s all fun, although it can get a bit weird if you are alone. Or not, if you are that addicted to solitude. Bring some friends along!

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