Nestled in the neon-lit galleries of the Kabukicho District in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, just blocks away from the evocative, ancient corridors of the Golden Gai district, the entrance into the hyper-modern, epilepsy-inducing Robot Restaurant welcomes curious tourists. Earlier this year, I stepped into this den of kitsch, eager to test my tolerance for tacky fun.
In Tokyo on an extended ramen binge layover, I met up with my actor pals Michael Trotter and Jamie Hyder. The Robot Restaurant was next up on their itinerary and they asked if I was keen to join. Immediately, I was flooded with questions. Do the robots serve tables? How many robots are there? What is their capability? How does tipping work with robots? Should I give them batteries instead of cash?
There were bigger questions too. Questions about what sort of traveler to be. As experiential types, how often do we consider ourselves “above” typical touristy shit? For me, it’s probably too often. There is rarely anything at the end of a long line that makes it feel worth standing and waiting any amount of time. This even goes for monumental attractions like the Mona Lisa.
Too often I’ve eschewed the highlights, finding myself in situations like getting tear gassed after a soccer match instead of strolling the Louvre. Perhaps to my detriment.
The Robot Restaurant stands in the face of all that hipster travel acumen. It’s a refuge for anyone looking to throw away their tourist shaming tendencies, inviting all comers to just sit and enjoy some weirdness.*
*Incidentally, our motto here at UPROXX Life is also “just sit and enjoy some weirdness.”