Robot Restaurant. Wow, where do I begin?
First of all, Robot Restaurant (ロボットレストラン) is barely a restaurant. It’s really a burlesque/dinner show on an acid trip, liberally splattered with enough bright flashing lights to induce a mild seizure. It is over-the-top, tacky, silly, gaudy, and bizarre. And yet, for many folks, Robot Restaurant could be one of the most oddly entertaining things they have ever seen. It’s actually rather fitting that I went there the weekend before Halloween.
Whenever I take friends and family from out of town for ramen, I often go to my old standby: Ippudo. It’s great, reliable tonkotsu ramen that is validated by my local Japanese friends, and their various branches are nice places to hang out. But my friend and big time foodie BT has always been a big advocate for one of Ippudo’s rivals – Ichiran (一蘭). Ichiran provides one of the most unusual ramen experiences you could have in Japan.
Just about everyone who visits Tokyo goes to Harajuku. Like Ginza, Akihabara and Shibuya, it’s one of those neighborhoods that is synonymous with Tokyo. It’s the pulsating center of Japanese youth culture, the place to go for checking out the latest street fashion, people watching (what’s up with all the girls dressed like they’re going to a Little Bo Peep convention?), and eating crepes.
Wait… did you say crepes? As in those super thin pancakes invented by the French?
A couple of weeks ago, several of my friends and I went for some breakfast ramen at Tokyo Station’s Ramen Street. When we arrived, we found out that the Street was undergoing some major renovations and that most of the eight stores were either closed for the next few weeks or had shut down completely. Posters around the station with the tagline “We Love Ramen” heralded the opening of brand new ramen joints and the reopening of popular old ones by September 20.