Jun 14, 2004

A vulgar prelude to Kisses

Last Friday evening my friend Soushi and I met up in Shinjuku. As we were having a cup of coffee and exchanging souvenirs from our recent vacations, he got a call on his mobile and announced to me that a college buddy of his was in town, and would I like to join them for dinner. Sure, say I, but only for a bit.

So we rendezvous with his friend, the decision is made to eat Chinese, and we wander off in blind search of someplace affordable. The problem with this style of restaurant-choosing in Shinjuku - and probably lots of other places - is that from the outside one drinkeatery is indistinguishable from any other. Fine restaurants are different, of course. As are most izakaya (forget what that is?), which typically have street-level entrances so you can get a glimpse of the inside. But these budget places are stacked 8 or 9 high in tall skinny rectangular boxes, and the only hint as to their contents is a tall skinny sign listing each establishment's name, and possibly an employee holding a menu or "1000 Yen Off!" coupons outside on the sidewalk.

A coupon was thrust in our hands. And that was it... we had found our Chinese restaurant. (Incidentally, I can't remember ever seeing Soushi pay full price for anything.)

The elevator takes us to the fourth floor and - surprise! - it's a wacky theme restaurant. So many of these are, although it often remains a mystery what exactly the theme is supposed to be. Ours was maybe gulag? High-security postapocalypse tavern? I dunno, but there was a "Who goes there?" robotic guard posted at the entry and the interior was a series of rebar cages. And once every hour or so a five minute flashing-light-and-helicopter-noise performance interrupted our meal. To top it off, the food wasn't really all that Chinese.

Such is the luck of the draw. Great place for a loud drinking party with coworkers, not so ideal for conversation with friends. A highlight for me was waiting in the men's room:

On first glance this urinal reminded me of "Kisses," which I first saw over at John's Daily Dose of Architecture. But the six-armed man with button-defying belly does more than just dangle the feminine orifice. Once you're within usable reach he swings it to and fro (see the joints at his elbows?), his head spins to reveal his two-faced nature, he heckles you... and the camera in his uppermost hand flashes every few seconds. Drunk fun, or worst bathroom nightmare?


At 7/19/2004 11:21 AM, Blogger John said...

Here's a post at RE.Design News, a design-based blog, that should further the discussion of cutting-edge urinal design.

At 10/19/2005 6:15 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

That is the greatest thing I've seen in a LONG time!!! Thanks for posting it!

Now...where was this at?!


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