Shinjuku: The Perfect Japan Finale
It's unfortunate, I've never given Shinjuku a longer time slot in my itinerary. I'd love to explore it more on my next travel to Japan, promise! Maybe even rent my next Airbnb in the area para wala nang excuse!
Shinjuku is very near our neighborhood in Shibuya, just one station away. It was where we dropped off from our night bus from Kyoto, a major commercial, business, and entertainment area in Japan. Shinjuku also houses Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the busiest railway station in the WORLD!
The streets were super crowded when we went out from Shinjuku Station. There was a performer, complete with loud electric guitar and fliers. People really stopped and listened to his singing (in Japanese). I wonder if he's popular there.
Our agenda for the day was to finally meet my friend Gervin! We were supposed to meet him along with our other JaPinoy friends in Harajuku, but he was out of town on that Sunday. I thought it will be hard to catch along with his schedule, but we were able to push through with a dinner on our last night in Japan (huhu).
While waiting, we went inside Lumine Mall just beside the train station, and saw a Flying Tiger store - another of my favorite wastelands from last year's visit. Sarah and Pax went crazy from all the cute and affordable things!
Gervin, fresh from work, picked us up from the store and walked us to our dinner place. He was as enthusiastic as I remembered him from our first Japan meet up! Even with the short walk, I got life updates from him already like his upcoming trip to Europe and his past Japan beach trip with a group of 30 old and new friends!
Gervin knows where to take his guests. We went in a yakiniku restaurant where no tourists were in sight. But it was filled with locals so it must be a "secret place", and food must be really good! Gervin graciously helped us with our orders, especially since Sarah and I don't eat meat. The place was smoking from all the grilling taking place, but it was warm and homey, it felt like the perfect set-up for some catching up.
Gervin: "O go take photos, Snapchat! Instagram!" Haha.
Gervin ordered his favorite salad for me to try:
Cooking and eating and chikahan!
I enjoyed our few hours with Gervin, he really entertained me and my friends. I learned about his life as a teacher, and how he taught his young students Tagalog dance routines like Kapag Tumibok and Puso. Haha! It was hilarious! Gervin is a cool friend, you can follow him on Instagram @gervinmacey.
Took a photo of the restaurant before leaving, still for future reference.
It's sad that the meet-up is brief, and before I knew it, Sarah and I were rushing for our Robot Restaurant show schedule. Gervin walked us to the place, telling us "Kung si Kaila ang reyna ng Harajuku, ako ang reyna ng Tokyo!" Hahaha. :D
Inside the Robot Restaurant's ticket counters, I showed the printed forms we purchased from Shibuya's HIS Travel Agency - it provided us big discounts.
From 8000 Yen (Php 3600), we only paid 6500 Yen (or Php 2925) to catch a once in a lifetime, world-renowned show! I know price is a bit steep, but it's something that I will do only once, and to me, experience is everything! Robot Restaurant always appears in "Must-Do" sites while in Tokyo, so I just went for it, no ragretsss!
Famous wall. Personalities who have already watched the show include Tim Burton and Katy Perry. I remembered when Katy Perry was posting about this on Instagram, and I actually saw the resemblance of the Robot Restaurant on her Prismatic Tour!
Can you spot the Pinoy actress who made it to this wall?? :D Haha!
Before exiting the area and crossing to the main theater, I left all my shopping bags and umbrella inside their provided locker. Usage is free for all guests. Good decision! I enjoyed the show more without minding my things.
Before entering, Sarah and I had our photos taken with these lady robots, we assumed that there will be long lines later.
We thought that we were late already, but people were still gathered in this hypnotic, intergalactic, Robot Restaurant Lounge where glass, gold, glitters and rainbows were smashed together in one venue!
A single roboto was playing jazz tunes with his electric guitar, while guests were eating or having a beer.
Cheers! To ending this trip with a bang!
Sarah said that I should go to the toilet for some extra-trippy experience! In my alternate universe, this is my bathroom! Haha!
When they announced after several delays that show's about to start, people simultaneously got up as if the airplane seatbelt sign just turned off. Sarah and I decided to linger a bit, letting the crowd go ahead.
Still in that alternate universe, this is my living room, hehe:
Behind the black curtain, almost everyone's settled on their seats. Theater was so small, I can hear Sarah raving and gushing how intimate the set-up is!
Even with discounted tickets, we got the finest seats! IN FRONT and AT THE MIDDLE! I was scaring Sarah na baka may audience participation. She replied with, "O pag meron man alam mo na a!" (Pertaining to my camera, hehe).
Most of the audience were tourists like us. There was an extra bibo daddy group, counting down loudly ("THREE! TWO! ONE!"), cheering on the robots, making it a more interesting and hyper night!
Before I start on with the show itself, a little trivia that I read online. The Robot Restaurant costs 10 Billion Yen!!! BILLION. Imagine all the money that went to creating and maintaining every robot, costume, and set design just to give us a crazy show every night.
I also learned that the show has evolved a lot of times since it first came out four years ago, making it possible that on my next visit it's not completely the same as this one. I learned that they change themes every month. Even the ladies' costumes have changed already, before it was more "risky". Now they made sure they are a bit more "PG13", so they can allow and capture more audience.
They also have four time slots every night, and they serve bento sushi boxes at 1000 Yen. We had dinner before going here, so we didn't try it na.
Asked Sarah to just buy me a bucket of popcorn:
Settled and waiting! Although it is called the Robot Restaurant, it is actually more of a themed show. You can choose to just have drinks and snacks, the show is the highlight.
Lights were dimmed, and final device usage warnings went around:
The show started literally with a bang!
We were "trained" before the show to watch our heads and duck when the robots and props pass by our seats - some were so long they extend till the audience so wala talagang makakatulog dito! We were always on our toes!
They placed these chain gates during the robot fights! It looks like a scene from a video game, or pang Shaider!
Intensity level 100! Went crazy when they danced to Michael Jackson's Thriller, hitting the walls with laser lights!
Hindi ko na alam kung saan titingin! The whole stage just bursted with performers, bright lights and colors, women in sexy outfits, wicked masks, and robots in all forms and sizes! Even the LED screen showed mermaids, silly backgrounds, and hilarious acting!
There were breaks in between segments. You can go to the loo or order more beer. On the final break, they handed us these "light sabers". We didn't know what to expect!
Sarah told me to give my readers something more to look forward to by not giving out "everything" and leave something for the imagination. Indeed, The Robot Restaurant is something you can't fully describe, it should be personally experienced!
What I like about it is that it is hilarious and weird at the same time - the ultimate Japanese experience. I can't think of any other way to spend our finale night in Japan than in this eclectic, most of the time strange, migraine-inducing performance. I had LSS with the upbeat songs while walking that night to catch the last train, haha!
Thank you, Japan! I had a blast!
Still in my alternate universe, this is how I throw a party on my birthday! Haha!
On my next post: What I decided to do on my last few hours in Tokyo.