Village Vanguard

... the one in Shimokitazawa is a labyrinthine bazaar that will satisfy anyone interested in pop culture, mangas, gadgets, candies, records, books, name it you'll find it. It is very difficult to get out of the store without buying anything, so may the force be with you should you be on a prison cell tight budget. Even if you're not into consumerism nor pop culture, go catch a glimpse at what the store has to offer, as the place is an explosion of sound and color and it's full of Kodak moments.

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Mosakusha Anarchist Bookstore

Tokyo's only Anarchist bookstore. Yes, the books are in Japanese. But, jesus, who cares? It's Tokyo's only Anarchist bookstore. Well, one of two!

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Moesham Maid Shampoo Café

Akuma wore a pink and white maid's costume with shiny black shoes with schoolgirl buckles. She had hair-cutting instruments stuffed in her apron pockets like Batman's utility belt. I signed a release form and had Hiromi plead with her, "Do not cut too much." Akuma said I was her first American customer. She told me, "You are very handsome." At least that's what Hiromi said she said. It would have been impolite for me to argue. While I wasn't allowed to ask Akuma any questions, she interrogated me like Nancy Grace after a "not guilty" verdict. Was this my first time in Japan? What did I think about her country? Was the water too hot? How long was I staying? Would I come back to see her again?

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Makomanai Takino Cemetery

You could go to see the the Moai statues over on Easter Island, or, you could just head on up to the Makomonai Takino Cemetary in Hokkaido, Japan for a somewhat less original experience. It’s a little ways outside of Sapporo, and hard to get to in the winter (all that snow!), but seems like a nice and relaxing (and bizarre) day trip to me. I’m hoping to make it here the next time I’m in Hokkaido when it’s not during blizzard season. If the Moai statues aren’t enough for you, there’s also a Stonehenge replication and daibutsu (giant Buddha) there as well and 1,800,473㎡ worth of land to explore. It’s also a cemetery too.

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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.

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Chuo Incineration Plant

The Chuo Incineration Plant runs irregular tours for the first 50 people to arrive. Free and fascinating. See their calendar for dates. More information is available from Tokyo23.

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