Hot on the heels of semi-surreal experiences like the Robot Restaurant and maid cafes, comes a new, raunchier form of immersive entertainment: BURLESQUE Tokyo. Located in one of the centers of nightlife, Roppongi, the show mixes Japanese underground culture with sexy cabaret and a dash of otaku-ism. While not exactly what one would call family-orientated, it’s surprisingly wholesome and get full points for audience interaction. You definitely won’t be disappointed with the girls, who are all gorgeous, friendly and a lot of fun. Here’s an idea of what to expect!
You can enter the club up to 1 hour before the show officially starts, and during that time you can interact with the girls on a more personal level. (That is, talk with them. What were you thinking?). When we arrived, a lot of the girls were still stretching and preparing for the night, but they will happily oblige to photos and talk with you if you approach them. Business men who had also come early were having their drinks poured for them by scantily-clad girls and chatting in a way that would make any straight man envious.
Also by going early you can ensure you get a table close by the stage. If that’s what you want.
A little closer to the start of the performances when more people have arrived, the girls will start going around to tables to meet the audience. On the night we were there, one of the girls played jan-ken-pon (Rock Paper Scissors) to give away popcorn, while another fed each person a piece of karaage. You can also buy food and drinks yourself, but some tickets come with all-you-can-drink or a bento (lunchbox meal).
The Show Itself
The performances last around 70 minutes in total. Before going, I just expected a B-grade type Chicago show that can be found anywhere, but I was pleasantly wrong. The performances actually showcase a lot of unique Japanese culture, especially the hyper dance, AKB48 songs, and moe flavor that is popular in otaku circles. You are even given light-up sticks to wave around.
However, the show thankfully also features a lot more mature, sexier content like pole dances, acrobatics and singing numbers reminiscent of true burlesque.
The girls sporadically entertained the audiences with waves, smiles and poses, and even “shot” alcohol via fake syringes into the mouths of some lucky ones with stage seats.
The relatively “wholesome” part was the intermission where they played videos of the girls practicing hard and giving brief interviews of their childhood dreams to be a recognized dancer.
Near the end of the show, all the women in the audience were indiscriminately pulled onto the stage by the showgirls and made to dance in an insane, random mess to songs like Gangnam Style. The energy was infectious and venue bursting with neon lights, heavy beats and hot girls, really creates an out-of-this world experience that cannot be conveyed through words (or even video). You just have to experience it yourself.
Extra Fan Service for Birthday Boys (and Girls)
If it’s your birthday and one of your friends has informed the staff there of that fact, you will be treated to a photo on stage surrounded by the girls, as well as being sung Happy Birthday by everyone in the venue. Both men and women will get this royal treatment, so if you’re needing ideas to surprise that friend of yours, why not take them to BURLESQUE Tokyo? It seems that foreigners may also get the chance to get pulled on stage and get a happy snap with their country’s flag.
Wrapping it Up
During all this birthday singing near the end of the show, all the girls made their rounds through the audience again and made sure to shake every person’s hand. I was watching the stage at one point and felt someone tap me on the shoulder. I turned around, and there was one of the showgirls extending their hand for a shake and saying “thanks for coming”. Aww. Customers who purchased “RION”, the cash chips used at the venue, can also stuff them into the bikini of their favorite girl as tips. This girl, for example, had a good night.
Of course, you can also use this time to take photos with them or ask them questions, but keep in mind they probably get dozens of marriage proposals a night.