Saturday, September 8, 2012

Alice in Wonderland Cafe

Hey, y'all!  Sorry for the long delay between posts!  This update is actually a week late, but I have an excuse.  I've been completely bogged down in speech contest practice.  I've been staying late at work every day for a couple weeks now training one of my students in an English speech for the city competition.  Now, that alone kinda sucked, but I was also involuntarily volunteered to be the fucking "master of ceremonies" for the competition (basically, the emcee and award host).  Yeah.  Me.  Master of ceremonies.  If that sounds hilarious, trust me, it was.  For everyone except me.  So basically I spent the entire last week not only training my school's speech contest representative, but I also spent it rewriting the crappy script I was given and practicing for not making a fool of myself.  Even my adventure to the Alice cafe was slightly clouded by the fact that I kept suddenly remembering what I had to do in a few days and wanting to crawl under the table and hide.

Well, not that anyone really cares, but here's how it all went: my emceeing went just fine, up until the second student, who decided to lunge up to the podium and start giving his speech without any introduction.  I had to reroute my entire script around his idiocy.  After that, everything went fine, up until the end, when it was revealed that my script was missing a ton of really important stuff, and then everything went to hell.  It wasn't my fault, but I looked like an idiot and it was really embarrassing.  And I couldn't leave the the stage for the entire three hour contest, so I had to just stand there and be embarrassed with nowhere to hide.  Luckily, people in the audience told me they could tell it wasn't my fault (and instead the fault of the guy who kept running over to me and hastily giving me new, horribly-timed stuff to say).  In the end, my student got third place, and is now the only public school student from my city moving onto the prefectural competition!  So that's good!  At least all my hard work came to mean something in the end.

But enough about that, let's talk Alice cafe.  So Japan loves Alice in Wonderland.  A lot.  That's why they have clothing brands like PUTUMAYO that are literally 100% Alice in Wonderland themed.  Especially among the goth and lolita subculture communities, Alice in Wonderland holds a very strong influence on music and fashion.  Anyways, besides Alice in Wonderland, Japan also loves themed cafes (some might remember the Vampire Cafe post I did many, many months ago).  So it was only natural for Japan to combine their love of Wonderland with their love of themed cafes, and start making Alice safes.  Basically, they're cafes meant to have an atmosphere of Wonderland.  There are probably dozens of these cafes in the Tokyo area alone, but I had yet to try one.

Today's cafe is actually new.  It's called Mahou no Kuni no Alice, which is a bit of a twist on the story's original title.  In Japanese, Alice in Wonderland is called "Fushigi no Kuni no Alice" which means "Alice in a Strange World" or something like that.  So Mahou no Kuni no Alice would mean something like "Alice in a Magical World" (as opposed to that one D song that's called "Yami no Kuni no Alice" which means, "Alice in a Dark World."  The Japanese like playing with that title a lot).

Anyways, I actually went to this cafe for the birthday of my friend, who has come up on the blog before and will go by the code-name Crimson.  Anyways, Crimson wanted to go to this cafe because she heard it was "darker" than some of the others.  Plus, it's new, so why not.  For those who are interested, the cafe is located at the West Exit of Shinjuku Station, in a building right across the street from the station called Haru Chika (literally: ハル★チカ).  It's in the building's third basement, and it's a complete ass-pain of a maze you have to get through to find it down there.  But it's a fun place if you get to go.

Shall we begin the pic-spam?

This fancy mother-fucker is actually the restaurant's menu.  So you can see already how "themed" everything is.  To the left of the menu you can see even the coasters are themed.


A better shot of the menu.


Here's a crappy picture I took showing the general look and atmosphere of the cafe.  There were red curtains everywhere, and most of the place was red or pink.


This is a better picture.  The middle table in the cafe - which I assume is for very large parties - was decorated with a pretty impressive heart chandelier.  You can see some of the tables have fancy velvet chairs and stuff too.


This is probably one of my favorite things about the cafe.  The entrance was made to look like a hedge maze.  It just so happened that our group got to sit in a booth surrounded by the edge of the maze, so I spent most of the meal leaning back against the fuzzy, green "shrubbery."


Here's a better shot of it.  Isn't it cool?!


Here's the inside of the menu.  All the food and drinks had really silly, Alice-themed names, although I was dumb and forgot to write down the really good ones.  If you tilt your head, you can see some of the amusing ones right here.  This is the cocktail page.  As you can see, they have drinks with names like Futterwacken of the Mad Hatter.  What.......?


This is the drink that a few of us (me included) got.  It was made with a peach liqueur, I believe, and it was quite tasty. 


I think MelJay got this one, and it had banana liqueur of all things in it.  Plus it has a nice rainbow gradient.


This is the best one, though.  This drink is fucking glowing.  I'm not even sure how.  Is there a light in the ice cube or something?  I don't know, it just looks awesome.


All our cocktails together.


This was a small vegetable salad served in a tea cup. 


Unfortunately, that salad is how themed cafes tend to screw people over on the price.  They always put out some kind of small appetizer that you have no choice but to receive, then charge you a lot for it and call it a "charm."  It's basically an extra table charge just for eating at a themed cafe. The Vampire Cafe has one too (cheese and crackers, I believe).  The idea is that they charge you for "charming" you, and excuse it with a small appetizer.  But you're essentially being charged just for eating in a "unique" place.  That salad cost 500 yen (about $5).  Yeah, totally crazy.

Anyways, this right here is crackers and butter, and the cracker is in a cat shape, just like so many things at the cafe.


And now food!  The menu had a pizza section called Cheshire Cat Tail.  It was basically various nan pizzas assorted by color.  For example, the "red tail" is a margherita pizza.  The "yellow tail" was a four-cheese pizza.  Personally, I got the "pink tail," which is salmon, mentaiko (spicy fish egg sauce), and broccoli, with cheese.  Honestly, despite the cafe being somewhat overpriced, this pizza was absolutely delicious.  One of the best I've ever had.  I would order it again if I ever come back.


Well, I didn't order this one (obviously), but here's the yellow tail pizza:


And here's some fun desserts.  This is a heart-shaped chocolate cake, an Alice-shaped pastry, vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and strawberry and kiwi sauce.  It was really good - better than I expected.


Peachy ordered this one.  It's a Cheshire Cat dessert, so the whole thing looks like a demented cat.  It had blueberries and stuff in it.


MelJay ordered this one, which is the crème brûlée.  Man, screw the dessert, I want the clock plate!  Where the hell does one get a clock plate?! 


Now, since it was Crimson's birthday, of course there was some gift-giving.  MelJay, Peachy, and I each bought a small gift, but then we also all went in together on a very amusing bottle of booze we found.  It's a German liqueur called Dracula's Blood, with hilarious B-movie poster wrapping.  To be honest, though, the shit just sounded delicious.  It's a cherry, ginger liqueur, but it also has strawberry, black currant, chili, paprika, and spices.  It's basically a fruity, spicy liqueur, and it's 24%, so it's not really light-weight, either.  Here's the amusing bottle:


Here's Crimson posing with the bottle:


I actually have a story about Dracula's Blood at the end of this post, but let's finish up with the cafe first.

So now let's have... group shots!  There were seven of us in total, including Crimson, MelJay, Peachy, me, two friends of Crimson's I hadn't met before, and also Break, who I mentioned in my UnsraW posts recently.  Here's a lovely group photo a waitress took of us:

I apologize, I'm making the stupidest face ever in this picture.  Next one's better.
Here we all are again.  Crimson's rockin' the pretty lolita dress.  I'm on the bottom right, grimacing slightly due to being forced into making heart hands:


I like this next picture a lot - it came out really cute.  And for the record, yes, that is my leftover, cheap-ass Halloween dress (which is why I'm the only person in red).  I never intended to wear it again, but it just seemed to fit the theme, so I threw it on anyways.

Bluuuugh, I have such a bad tan right now.  Screw walking twenty minutes to and from work each day in the freakin' sun.
So those are all my pictures!  I hope you enjoyed!  So how was my overall impression of the cafe?  Overall, I'd say it's a nice place to visit once or twice.  It's rather expensive, but if you only order one drink and avoid side dishes or appetizers, it can be fairly reasonable for the experience.  And, honestly, the pizza's really freakin' good.  Like, I would go back just for that "pink tail" pizza again.  And the desserts are really cute.  As opposed to the intentional chilliness of the staff at the Vampire Cafe, the staff at Mahou no Kuni no Alice is really nice and friendly, and always smiling (and wearing maid-like dresses).  The atmosphere is very cute, and a lot of interesting people eat there too, so it's good for people-watching.  There was a table near us with a bunch of weird goths, and one of the girls was dressed like a pirate for no reason.  So overall, I'd recommend it as a cute place to have a party, and it's a nice experience.  And get the pizza!

Anyways, so I said I had a story about Dracula's Blood.  Well, MelJay and I were dying to know what the stuff really tasted like when we pitched in on the bottle for Crimson, so we split the cost of a second bottle for ourselves.  We brought it back to the hostel and decided to do what I'm basically always doing these days: watch The Avengers.  But with a catch.  We decided to play a drinking game.  Any time there's a gratuitous ass shot (be it male or female), we would take a drink.  We also drank to awesome one-liners.

First of all, I will just say now that Dracula's Blood tastes like heaven.  We mixed it with ginger ale (that was the recommendation on the bottle).  The liqueur is a deep blood red, and even ginger ale doesn't dilute it much.  The taste is amazing.  I was worried it would be disgustingly sweet, like syrup, but it's not.  It's definitely more "spicy" (my favorite).  You can actually taste the chili.  MelJay and I are crazy about ginger, so the taste was incredible.  A bit cherry, a bit strawberry, a whole lotta ginger and spices, and the alcohol taste wasn't that strong despite being 24%, so I felt like I could drink that shit like juice.

And that was the problem.  The Avengers had so many gratuitous ass shots and awesome one-liners that the two of us almost finished the entire fucking bottle.  And then there were moments like the part where Steve (Captain America) is punching the punching bag, and the camera is completely focused on his finely-sculpted ass.  MelJay and I each just downed the whole glass on that one.  Oh, and the now-infamous "he's adopted" line.  Another glass down.  Dracula's Blood kinda sneaks up on you, though, so I didn't realize I was drunk until I attempted to get up to go to the bathroom.  The end result of the entire night was finishing the movie, me saying, "I have to go to the bathroom" (again), and then passing out in a ball in the corner of MelJay's bunk without actually going to the bathroom.  I woke up about three hours later (at 5 AM), curled in a ball, and having to pee worse than ever.  I stumbled drunkenly to the bathroom, then somehow made it back to the room and up into my top bunk, where I passed out until 10 AM.  I think that's the first time I've "passed out" drunk since college.  Whooooooooo!

Anyways, good news for the next post!  I know there hasn't been a whole lot of concert stuff on this blog lately (sorry to everyone about me not going to that 8/28 DIAURA one-man I promised.  I know it's been on my concert schedule for about five months, but circumstances didn't work out in my favor and I had to tear up my ticket.  MelJay and Peachy said it was a great show, but I wasn't able to go to report on it.  I'm really sorry about that, but I do have a DIAURA (and BORN!) two-man scheduled in a couple of weeks, so just hang on and I'll make it up to you!).  Anyways, I'm gonna make up for lack of concert material by giving y'all a double-dose of concerts this weekend!  It's a three-day weekend, and I'm gonna take advantage of it.  Here's the schedule:

Saturday, 9/15: Two-man.  Opening act:「xxx」is D£AD (a n00b band), followed by MEJIBRAY (long time, no see), with BORN hosting!

Sunday, 9/16: DEZERT's first one-man!

I hope you guys are as excited as I am!  See you next time for some double-duty indies!

21 comments:

  1. The Alice cafe actually looks pretty awesome! O: I'm not a fan of themed cafes.. I think it's really embarrassing when the staff are all over you all the time. I wanna eat in peace XD but I would actually consider going there just for the fun of it. It looks great.

    Wah, I'll see you next Saturday then XD I'm also going. Although I bought the tickets late so I have a really high number. <.<

    I saw xxx is dead on Depain's hosted live this Monday in LOFT... and.. OMG XD They had four (4!!) girls in their saizen. They had about 2 meter of space each on the fence, and it looked sooooo fuuunnyyy. I didn't like them at all, and I think most of the audience (which was around 90-100 people maybe lol) pretty much agreed with me. So. It was those four girls rocking out all alone. It looked really awkward. I think it was because that concert was on a monday at 4, so not many people could make it. But... still XD it was so weird.

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    1. Ah, the staff actually left us alone for the most part, lol. But whenever we called them over, they were super nice ^__^

      Gah, xxx sounds like such an awkward band >__< Looking at their picture and website, my first thought was, "these guys are trying waaaay too hard." Hopefully it'll be over really fast so we can move on to the headliners. See you Saturday! ^__^

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  2. KiTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
    It was a fun night, huh??

    And I'm totally looking forward to seeing you guys for MEJIBORN! I think this will be my graduation from both bands, so let's make it a good one!

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    1. Hey guuuuurl! :-D It was super fun! And I'm super looking forward to MEJIBORN on Saturday and seeing you again!!! Also, what do you mean by "graduation"? Are you... are you leaving...? :-(

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    2. Leaving?? Your brain a bag full of cats??

      Alas no. But neither MEJIBRAY or BORN are my thing anymore, at all, so I figure that once I FINALLY see MEJIBORN then I can close the book on them there ^-^

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    3. Aaah, good, it's just my Loki brain then, lol XD High-five for bag of cats reference!!!

      I was just like noooo, don't leave! Honestly, though, I feel ya. I'm sure this blog is fully aware of the fact that MEJIBRAY really isn't my thing, which is why I don't see them very often. I never attempt to see them unless something else I like is there (like BORN). I've given MEJIBRAY a lot of chances, but it doesn't work out for me. I think I've already "graduated" from them, unless they play with something else I like. There are some other bands I feel like I'm graduating from, too. I think it's a sign of growth when we can be more choosey about what we waste our time on. Lately, I've almost felt "liberated" by how picky I've (once again) gotten. What kinda shows you goin' to instead? :-)

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  3. Ah! I go to that one as often as I can! Their lunch specials are amazingly cheap, btw -- it's like 1050 for a pretty full meal, drink bar, and optional dessert. MY GOD, finding the place, though...! I felt like I needed a medal after navigating that maze.

    Have you been keeping tabs on THE GALLO? I'm stoked about their new look, Wajou joining, and... everything! Bummed I couldn't go to the show Friday, though D: Next time I'll make it will be their 10/27 show, and then.. 12/21, I think! (Weekday shows are not doable, but the 12/21 one is during my winter vacation ^^). Let me know if you end up making plans for either -- or if you go to see them again before me, I want to read about it! I'm really curious about whether or not their performance style has changed at all..

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    1. Oh man, I didn't even think about the possibility of lunch specials. I would totally go back and try the cafe for lunch. Do you need a reservation for lunch, or can you just walk in? And seriously, finding the place...... the sudden lack of escalators, the sudden mazes through grocery stores, the sudden stairs leading to places they shouldn't go. It's so annoying! And when we left, the building was closing, so the escalators were barred off and we couldn't use them! >__<

      Also, I haven't been able to follow THE GALLO much lately :-( I've seen their new look and new member on the OHP, but I haven't seen them live. I can't do weekday shows, and so far I don't have plans for the 10/27 show, and I'm probably gonna be back in the states on 12/21 :-( I'm gonna be in the U.S. for all of winter vacation, I think. I'm gonna miss a ton of shows, which will make this blog very sad, but maybe I can make up for it with awesome pictures of my adorable dog, lol. But I'll let you know if I hit up THE GALLO some time soon! :-)

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    2. I haven't needed reservations any time I've gone for lunch, but once we had to wait about 20 minutes. Not bad unless you're completely starving. It's worth mentioning that the menu's really limited/different for lunch, but I think it's worth it for the price, so I have no problem with it. :3


      Saaaad, but cool that you get to go back home. ^^ I'll be traipsing around Kanto and Kansai for winter break even though I'm sure my family would prefer me back there. New Years here is just too fun to miss.

      I'll be down there this weekend, though! I'm going to the Darkest Labyrinth overnight event at CYBER on Saturday (it starts at midnight, ha... @_@) Probably going to be sleeping during the day so I can party hard at night -- I'm getting to old for this..!

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    3. I'm definitely curious about the lunch menu! A 20 minute wait is nothin' ^__^

      And I'm sad about missing New Years around here :-( Last year I didn't go home because I spent the holidays going to concerts, but I haven't been back in a year and a half now, and winter vacation is the only time I can take a lot of time off work without using a lot of paid leave (I can take off about three weeks of work with only about eight days of paid leave, as opposed to the summer where it would be, well... three weeks of paid leave, lol). My parents were sad I didn't come back last winter, so I kinda owe it to them this time. But I'll take advantage of the situation and eat as much crappy American food as possible, lol. And I'll try to keep up the blog with stuff like........ mah puppy!!!

      And have fun at the CYBER event! That sounds intense, lol.

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  4. Y U ALWAYS POST DELICIOUS FOOD PICTURES?!. Gnah,I'm gonna go and eat candy...tons of 'em.

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    1. Sorry!!! D: Hopefully candy will fix this!!!

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  5. Congratulations on your student :D The emcee thing must have been a "fun" time...

    Fooooodddddddddddddddd. and Dracula's Blood :P

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    1. About as much fun as stabbing myself in the face, lol XD That's why alcohol was invented -.-

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  6. Hey, I just found your blog. Me and my friends recently went to the Alice in Wonderland restaurant in Shinjuku and I absolutly loved it!! This is perhaps a strange request, but how do you know about so many gigs? I work as an English teacher in Kawasaki, and none of my Japanese friends a) know what the hell I am talking about when I ask about bands, or anything slightly gothic and b) can help me locate anything!! So having been here for just over a year, I have only seen l'arc en ciel and Merry, Im desperate to see some more gigs, perhaps smaller bands which are a bit more intimate. Anyway, if you could recomend me any cool gigs, or gothic clubs or something that would be fabulous.. I am more on facebook than anything else here... https://www.facebook.com/#!/tero.kara

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    1. Hello Suzie Q ^__^ When it comes to finding gigs, the internet is definitely your friend :-) A good way to start is to look up bands you've heard of or might be interested in, and check their schedules. That'll lead you to new concert venues and event shows where you can see lots of new bands and get familiar with small shows. And at those shows, you'll be handed lots of fliers and schedules for even more shows! Eventually, you'll even know which venues you like, and you can look at their online schedules too! Bands often write about upcoming shows on their blogs as well! There's a bit of a chain process to it, lol. Do you know of any "smaller" bands you might be interested in?

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    2. Hi, thanks for the reply. sorry it took me a month to read this, I get so busy at work I don't have much time to think.

      I'm really looking for a small live house type club or bands that aren't so well known, which means I don't know about them!!! HAHA! I did get a few flyers when I saw Merry and Larc, but because of my scheduale (TUES-SAT) I can only get to gigs on a Sunday or Monday, which doesn't seem to be the optimum time for events! Don't worry, I'll keep looking and searching:D
      Thanks for the advice, and I will be looking at your blog from time to time, you seem to be doing so much and travelling all over. What do you do in Japan? are you a teacher or student or something?
      anyway take care, enjoy Halloween!!!
      Suzie Q

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    3. Hi Suzie, no problem! :-) I'm informed of a reply whenever they happen ^__^

      The small venues I personally recommend are Urawa Narciss, Shibuya REX, and any of the Ruido venues (Ruido K2, Ruido K3, K4...). They all cater to lesser-known bands. You can try their websites and look for good event shows! I'm sure you'll find something good!

      Also, I'm a teacher :-) A lousy teacher, lol. But it does give me a lot of free-time that will probably be gone one day, hahaha.

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    4. I am a teacher too :) although for a private company that doesn*t like to give me much free time. :P:P

      Thanks for the info, I started looking at some of the gigs. Shibuya Rex looks pretty cool. Well, Im gonna try and go in Jan, as this month is pretty busy, but next month Vietnam! YEAH! anyway, cheers dude :)

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  7. Loved your report on this! I've been to the one operated by the same company (Diamond Dining) in Kabukichou near the east exit of Shinjuku stn twice, so I wanted to try going to this one, and spent about 45 minutes looking for it and still couldn't find it! Haha~ I absolutely love the cheshire cat dessert and glowing drink - it's slightly different at the one I go to, but still extremely tasty and cute~ (This is inuashley813, btw, just posting from a different account from now on)

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    1. Hi Ashley ^__^ I'll keep your new name in mind :-) And I really want to try more Alice Cafes! Hopefully ones that are easier to find, lol!

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