Monday, June 1, 2015

Dancing Robots Are Real in Tokyo



Of course something like Tokyo Disneyland Resort was a huge deal to visit. Once we accomplished that dream we couldn’t believe that more adventures awaited us outside of Disney. One in particular is the Robot Dinner Show in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Over the last two years this show has been gaining more popularity, thanks to Anthony Bourdain. To paraphrase his thoughts, he said, “I don’t know what I just saw, but I loved it!”

The entrance is extremely flashy and reminded me of a casino. The large woman, sat in a “robot” chair was definitely giving people that walked by a taste of what was inside. I have been to Vegas many times and the atmosphere is pretty equal to this. There are murals of women in suggestive poses all over the walls, lit by neon colored lighting. 



Arthur: WHEN YOU SAW THE MURALS OF BIKINI CLAD WOMEN, DID YOU FEEL OUT OF PLACE? OR, WERE YOU READY TO GO WITH THE FLOW?
Eric: I knew beforehand there would be sexuality involved, so I was ready to go with it. I was not intimidated at all.

The d├ęcor was exciting and full of energy. The company definitely sets a great tone for the show you’re about to see. I would say, like Disney, the story begins right when you arrive. 
After Will-Call we were ushered into an elevator, also lit wildly, and we went down to a sub-level lounge. The lounge had various seating arrangements where other patrons sipped fruitful drinks and chatted the night away. This scene was being serenaded by a band outfitted in full robot gear.
Eric and I seemed to miss the drinks and appetizers portion. The both of us had read tips that we needed to eat before the show, which we did. The folks at the opposite end of our table were petting a tiny dinosaur that roamed the table top.

Arthur: DID YOU GET A CHANCE TO PET THE DINOSAUR ON THE TABLE?
Eric: Of course! If one has any chance to pet a dinosaur, one must take it!
 I really wanted a photo of it, but felt weird about getting the others in the shot. It was obviously battery run, but I wasn’t sure how it moved about on its own accord. It was crawling around and seemed to be aware of the people around it.

Arthur: WERE YOU UPSET THAT YOU DIDN’T USE YOUR FOOD COUPON?
Eric: I’m more upset that we didn’t use our drink ticket. I heard negative reviews about the food quality, so I am glad we ate before the show. I was upset with the service in that we were never offered our food, even though it was included. In all reality we were there for the show. 

Adding onto Eric’s opinion, it seemed that we had to take care of everything ourselves. The food was not to be found, from what I saw. 

As we all were escorted down the colorful stairwell, we noticed a slight paradox here. There were some areas that were extremely flashy and others were very “backstage”. At the bottom of the stairs, we were led through a zone that was clearly a staging area for the show. This was a tad disappointing. It was full of costumes hooked up to charging outlets and props thrown about the floor. It wasn’t a deal breaker for me, but it wasn’t something I expected. 

Having seen videos and promos for the show, I had an idea of what the theater configuration would be. The audience occupies the area on either side of the stage, facing across from one another. On risers, the seats area about four wide rows tall, each chair with its own table. They almost looked like elementary school desks. The room itself seemed a lot smaller than I expected. Before arriving, my impression was that performers would enter from one end of the room, move across the room while performing, and exit the other side, like a sort of indoor parade. Once the show began I would learn that I was very wrong.

A: DO YOU HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT BEING ABLE TO SEE THE BACKSTAGE AREAS OF THE SHOW?
E: No. I wasn’t expecting a super high caliber production. The gaps between the sets bothered me. The set up for each “scene” killed the pace and the vibe of the show.

One end of the performance stage was a curtain where the cast changed costumes and loaded onto various floats. From here is where most of the performers would emerge in their quirkily lit costumes. It was surprising to see that between “scenes” everything would stop. Some lights would turn on, and they’d strike the set or floats. We could even get up and cross the stage, passing floats, for drinks or a restroom break. During this time, all the behind the scenes was visible. Lights would then dim again, and the show would then morph back into its electrifying world.

A: ONCE SEATED, WHAT WERE THE NEARBY GUESTS LIKE? 
E: They were very rowdy, but that was a part of the fun! It would have been a bummer if we were surrounded by “sticks in the mud”.

It should also be noted that there was a spectrum of patrons. There were three kids that sat across the way, approximately 10-12 years old. We also saw guests in the elderly demographic. There were even two Fraternity type guys that appeared bored out of their mind. They must have thought it was a strip show, which it wasn’t. About midway through the show we noticed those Frat guys were gone.

A: DO YOU RECALL THE BEST PART OF THE SHOW OR YOUR FAVORITE?
E: I enjoyed the Lady Gaga “Telephone" section the best. It was good in an artistic sense without relying on “camp”. That section had great dancers, lasers, many changing colors and live singing.

There are also bizarre moments when girls, again dressed in neon lit bikinis, are fighting against snakes or giant rainbow moths! Sure, the whole thing sounds a little bit intense or silly, but it’s a lot of fun. Everyone involved knows that it is crazy and they’re ready to fully enforce that aspect!

A: Why would you /or not recommend someone to go see the show?
E: I would definitely recommend the show! This was one of the best experiences we had in Japan. The show encapsulated everything one thinks “weird Japan” is. It is totally worth the money and effort for a wild night out.

You read it here folks! Both Eric and I feel if you are in Tokyo, the place to be is this “restaurant”. You might not get your food at all, but the captivating show might make you forget your hunger. We ordered our tickets through the JapanICan.com site. They give a slight discount, but pass along awful directions to find the place. In case WIFI can’t find you, like us, get excellent directions before you leave to the location! As DisneyTouristBlog.com said, eat before the show.



I must end by mentioning our quick trip to MISTER DONUT! Before speaking with our pals Lance and Jeff of LanceandJeff.com we hadn't heard of it. We had to rub it in their faces that we went, so we sent a few photos to them! The donuts were the best I've ever had! I had the strawberry and Eric grabbed the chocolate. 



We were amazed to see customers leave their bags and coats to save their tables. They'd leave blongings and head down the stairs to order. What a trusting society! Just like our friends did, we must recommend this spot to all that visit Tokyo. 

And to end the post, I'm just gonna put this right here!