Lockup

Last week, I reached an all-time high on the level of weirdness when I found “The Lockup,” a prison-themed restaurant in Shibuya (Tokyo). And by prison themed, I mean that the restaurant was in the basement of a building that made you go through a labyrinth of horror to just get to the door, the staff all either wore stripped prison suits or sexy cop outfits with handcuffs (only the women), and all of the food was “prison-themed.”

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Ninja Akasaka

Staff dressed like ninja escort you via trapdoors to your table, take your order and might even perform special ninja magic tricks. Sure it’s campy and even touristy, but dude, they’re ninjas! Kids will love it, and grown-ups don’t have to suffer through bad food. À la carte dishes with ninja-fied names (‘transformation of tuna and negi (leek) sashimi’) are creative but dainty for the price; go for the 10-dish set menus.

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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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