There is a novelty restaurant in Hiroshima, called the Lockup. It seems in nearly every major (and not so major) city in the States, there is some kind of odd restaurant that you go to so you can get the t-shirt. Maybe not literally, but you go just to say that you went. Like McGuire's Pub, with the dollar bills hung... everywhere. Lambert's Cafe, home of the "throwed" rolls. The Old Spaghetti Factory. Any steakhouse where they cut off neckties and hang them up on the walls like trophies. The Lockup is reminiscent of those restaurants. In a prison-meets-chemistry-experiment-meets-Freddy-Kreuger-meets-Freddie-Mercury sort of way.
I had been hearing about this place through both American and Japanese friends, and then the Iwakuni Foodie blogged about it on her site. A group of seasoned military spouses decided to take a girls' night and check it out... and I was invited. Yay!
|I took this photo... otherwise I'd be in it, as the chunky red cat. ;)|
(By the way, you would think a store called Don Quijote's would have tequila. Sadly, no... everything alcoholic but, it seemed, including pink Zima. Yes, apparently, they still make Zima). Look at the building across the street (the Molly Malone's side of the street) and there you will find The Lockup, on the 4th floor. Just look for the picture of the black and red skull and the 4F. Take the elevator to the fourth floor and be ready...
For a Japanese chick in a cop costume....
... to tell you that you are seven minutes early for your reservation. OK, no problem. We will wait on padded stools in a darkened corner. At least there weren't any padded walls. Yet.
Just kidding. There were no padded walls, but that would have been a nice touch. I'll recommend that next time. I need to look up the Japanese translation for "padded walls."
While we waited, there was a lot of screaming to be heard from the rooms beyond. Some of us were excited to see what all the fuss was about... some of us were cowering behind the rest of us. Some of us were too buzzed from preflighting to really care. I'll let you decide what group I was in. And you remember what happens when you assume, right? ;)
Finally we were greeted by another "cop" and we had to pick which one of us was "bad." The lady who was late to our girls' night was selected and some thing "bad" happened to her... I will not spoil the surprise... but she survived, so how "bad" could it be?
We were led to our cell... literally, with plenty of dungeon-esque accoutrement to remind us of how much trouble we were really in. Plenty of chains and screams and dim lighting. I was expecting to hear some whips or something, but was disappointed.
We were in cell block 25, complete with a sliding barred door.
There were picture menus, with an accompanying English translation of the descriptions. I have no idea what the WARNING!! stickers meant, and still don't. The group of us decided that meant that those were their popular or recommended menu items. The alcoholic beverages were very entertaining, and I picked my first two off of looks alone. Tequila is a rare commodity in Japan, unless you are specifically at a Mexican or Jamaican (yeah, I know Jamaica is not in Mexico, but the Japanese apparently don't) so I figured since my favorite beverage was not available, I would take a chance on mixing alcohols. Always a good choice.
I picked the drink below because the ice cube or whatever was fuzzed out. From my trip to the love hotel, I knew that fuzzed out things were the most interesting, so I wanted to know what was fuzzed out. The marketing genius behind the photo of this beverage did his/her job. I ordered the drink.
And so the drinks arrived, looking much like they were pictured.
The fuzzed out thing: a bloody lemon-ice skull.
My "fuzzed-out thing" theory relating to the love hotel was flawed, but I still enjoyed the skull.
|Thanks, Britt, for this very flattering photo.|
We gathered up our collection of drinks, which also included a green potion, a drink with an eye ball floating in it, a beaker of yellow fluid that was called "Go to Sleep," and a drink with floating gummy worms. We noted that these smart restaurateurs served the beverages with breadsticks and honey butter. Guess they don't want anyone getting too drunk too fast and passing out in prison.
After ordering drinks, food became the next priority. The menu was very creative and below are some snippets in English.
I highly recommend everyone try a capsule for 100 yen. It's in its own hemisphere when it comes to the taste.
Even vegetables are interesting... these arrived in a foggy haze of dry ice. And, by the way, there are plenty of selections for vegetarians. Our resident vegetarian did not leave the restaurant hungry. There are also plenty of fun non-alcoholic beverages available for the pregger people or under-20 crowd.
Charcoal chicken, available plain, or with various sauces, including the mayo pictured below. This did not taste burnt and was quite delicious. But it looked quite disgusting, which was probably the point.
The cross-shaped pizza was fun (remember: less than 1 percent of the population of Japan is Christian, so there is little meaning here, other than these shapes are often found on tombstones, so very appropriate for The Lockup's eclectically deadly theme, apparently, because prison and death go hand-in-hand), but was not very tasty in my opinion. I would stick to the charcoal chicken, fried spaghetti noodles and shrimp with mayo salad.
Here are all of us naughty girls in our cell block:
Note the bars on the windows... and, then, all of sudden, the lights when out and strobe light started flashing with an eerie voice chattering away in Japanese.
I won't tell you what happened next, but my iPhone was accidentally in "selfie" mode, so, instead of capturing what happened next, I captured my face. Perfection. I couldn't have planned that better if I tried. And no fun surprises ruined. Let your anticipation mount.
Then came the last call... I ordered another drink that came in a urine specimen (Kenta) jar and dessert. The ladies thought it would be fun to stack all of our empty beverage containers in front of me for a photo op. I obliged. And then I anticipated my dessert.
I call it The Bloody Nipple. But the restaurant's English menu called it The Youthful Bloody Eyeball. Mmm... yes. The restaurant's name is much better... Not.
*** I recommend leaving small children or kids who are easily startled or frightened at home. Also, if you are affected negatively by strobe lights, you may want to reconsider visiting.***