Loft Plus One

This is the only place in Japan, if not the world, where mafia bosses will take to the stage and give frank answers to questions from the audience about lives of crime and violence. Porn actresses will share a podium with (as well as perform taunting stripteases for) members of the Male Virgin Alliance. On one night, parliamentarians will be debating the government's policy on North Korea with hectoring drunks; on another, career pimps will be revealing the secrets of their profession amid a respectful hush. In fact, one never knows what to expect from this basement venue in Tokyo's Kabukicho red-light district.

read more

Takao Trick Art Museum

The Takao Trick Art Museum is a big maze of optical illusions, 3-D artwork and clever angles for photo taking to create the impression of fun, dangerous and impossible feats. Stand on the "X" on the floor with a pained look on your face, have your friend holding the camera stand in the designated spot over there, and suddenly it looks like a real whale is leaping out of the picture frame and onto your back. Stand on the glass floor that looks as if it covers a bottomless pit and try to figure out how the mirrors create that effect from a drop of only a few centimeters. The Trick Art Museum is as much about puzzling over the illusions as it is creating funny photos to share on Facebook.

read more

Design Festa

Founded in 1998, there is something for everyone and more between the Design Festa Gallery's two buildings, 21 showrooms, restaurant, cafe, bar and constant rotation of special-theme, group, school and independent exhibitions that feature professional and amateur, elementary school aged, retired, traditional and genre redefining artists alike.Welcoming over 80,000 visitors annually, the Design Festa Gallery is unpredictable, unregulated, uncensored and hosts both domestic and foreign artists, serving as Japan's single most diverse mecca of artistic expression.

A little further is Design Festa Gallery (not to be confused with Design Festa, an international design show which takes place every May at Tokyo Big Sight). This fascinating building, showing free exhibitions of young artists, even has a cafe where you can stop for a drink.
read more