Category Archive for Food + Theme Restaurants

Tokyo offbeat Goth bars! Neo-Shinjuku Atsushi Cyberpunk, Trick or Treat Halloween, Tarot Museum Cafe, Muscle Girls.

Neo Shinjuku Atsushi cyber punk bar tokyo

The Collapse has reached Tokyo… in the form of an apocalyptic cyberpunk bar! Theme restaurants and bars continue to thrive in Japan. On my last trip, my friends and I investigated the Goth-est and strangest ones for you, including the dystopian Neo-Shinjuku Atsushi, a Tim Burton Halloween themed izakaya, a Muscle Girls bar with buff women…

cute japanese devil tarot cards occult japan tarot deck

… and even an occult Tarot Cafe and Museum! Keep reading for a peek inside these quirky, immersive and Gothic Japanese bars.

apocalypse tokyo themed resturant sci fi collapse

John and I were excited to visit a new Tokyo bar — Neo Shinjuku Atsushi. Located near Shinjuku Sanchoome station, it’s a science fiction cyberpunk world come to life (think Blade Runner and Akira).

tokyo weirdest theme bar restaurant cyberpunk dystopia

The bar is designed to look like the crumbling ruins of post-apocalyptic Tokyo. As the Akira quote goes, “You’re just the king of a big pile of garbage!”

 Neo Shinjuku Atsushi New cyberpunk restaurant bar japan tokyo

The neon-lit entrance to Neo Shinjuku Atsushi makes you feel as if you’re in a 1980s sci fi survival flick. In this Collapse future, people survive on food sealed in vacuum packed bags!

akira kaneda red bomber jacket leather moto

To help you get in the mood, you can try on the red pill moto jacket and helmet worn by Akira’s Kaneda (from the film by  Katsuhiro Otomo).

cyberpunk bar shinjuku tokyo theme cafe food

Neo Shinjuku’s menu is purposefully bleak — this is a vacuum-packed cheeseburger, which was heated up with a bagged side of mashed potatoes! (It tasted better than its smooshy appearance).

cyber punk mad max restaurant tokyo japan synthwave

We also had drinks conceived by ChatGPT, such as sake made from seahorses and cocktails injected with carbon dioxide and served in medical bags.

akira red pill jacket anime clothing Katsuhiro Otomo

As the slogan on my Akira anime motorcycle jacket says, “Good for health, bad for education.”

cyberpunk club bar tokyo japanese bars

The cyberpunk bar is fully immersive, and adds a Japanese touch to the dystopia.

cyberpunk sci fi science fiction bar tokyo

Would you enter the cyber punk universe of Neo Shinjuku Atsushi? Check out our video on @lacarmina Insta about our dystopian visit, in which we fought the war on microplastics!

trick or treat roppongi halloween themed bar

On another evening, John and I went to a themed eatery that was frightening in a different way… Trick or Treat bar in Roppongi. 

 goth spooky bars tokyo trick r treat akasaka

It’s easy to see why Trick or Treat is a long-time Goth horror hangout. (With Japanese Satanist Yoshiki Takahashi and Yukiro Dravarious.)

tim burton bar jack skellington tokyo nightmare before christmas

The phrase “every day is Halloween” is accurate at Tokyo Trick or Treat. You can order izakaya food and drinks, and take in the impressive collection of spooky objects (I spy Jack Skellington).

 tokyo scary horror bars, trick or treat

Typical Tokyo… there’s a demonic winged creature next to Chucky wearing a Hello Kitty mask!

 tim burton drawings art gallery tokyo japan trick treat bars

Tim Burton has been to Trick or Treat Horror Dining in Roppongi, and as you can see, he contributed some of his dark drawings to the walls (with a cross cut out). Quentin Tarantino was also fond of this place.

 halloween parties tokyo bars events

Wore my meh-faced pumpkins sweater to match the eerie candlelight mood. I peep Annabelle and Billy from Saw in the back.

goth creepy bars tokyo japan strange weird

Cute aliens and Grogu also make their home here, and the TV in the back plays old horror movies. Check out my reel about our Trick or Treat visit on @LaCarmina Instagram to see a full tour of the bar / izakaya.

 scary dolls collection tokyo japan goths clubs

If you’re looking for a Gothic hangout in Tokyo, this is the place to lounge with creepy, haunted dolls.

 death match in hell bar golden gai shinjuku

We also stopped by a few places in Shinjuku. Death Match in Hell is a B-movie themed dive in Golden Gai (it’s often packed these days). Caribbean Absinthe & Rock in Kabukicho is one of our favs for a glass of the green fairy.

fetish bar tokyo guinea pig b horror dive bars

And there’s good old Guinea Pig, the fetish gory horror bar. It’s still off the radar of tourists, so we head here to drink grapefruit gin cocktails without the crowds.

Tír na nÓg craft cocktails ginza bar tokyo

I also checked out Tír na nÓg in Ginza — a craft cocktail bar with eccentric decor and drinks that come with tentacles and cotton candy.

japanese muscular women hostess bar muscle girl tokyo

Here’s another new themed bar that’s been making waves… Ikebukuro Muscle Girls Bar. Guests can drink and play games with the fun-loving, bodybuilding staff — hail strong women!

muscle girls ikebukuro theme bar fitness ladies women japan bars

As you can see in my Muscle Girls bar video, the buff ladies flex and do chin-ups, and demonstrate their strength by squeezing grapefruits with their bare hands. You can even have them do cheeky activities, like put you in a dog collar and “teach you a lesson”! Ikebukuro’s Muscle Girls Bar is very popular so reserve a slot in advance.

tokyo cafe tarot owner mr sato occult restaurant

And I discovered a very special new place in Tokyo… the Tarot Museum and Cafe. In 1974, Mr Sato’s family was the first to produce tarot decks in Japan. Now, he’s opened two welcoming spaces in Asakusabashi for anyone to come learn about tarot history, do a reading and find insight.

 tokyo japan tarot card collection museum gallery

At the Tokyo Tarot Museum, you can see thousands of rare tarot cards (including kawaii and devilish ones). Mr Sato’s impressive collection of tarot decks is the largest in Japan.

vegan cafe tokyo healthy food vegetarian tarot asakusabashi

Then, feast on vegan fare at the nearby Cafe Tarot Tokyo. The photos speak for themselves — the ginger juice, falafel, and avocado hummus toast were magnificent. The vegetables are so fresh and colorful because he personally sources them from organic producers.

tarot cards restaurant theme cafe art tokyo japan

See the video of our Tokyo Tarot Cafe and Museum visit here. Mr Sato lovingly chose the decor to pay homage to tarot history and art, and create a warm and accessible space (as some Japanese were initially hesitant about tarot cards and their occult associations).

tokyo tarot card cafe restaurant food menu vegan

Around Halloween, I visited with my long-time friend Kuroe Akiwake, psy-fi rock musician Alien Idol and spiritual healer. It happened to be the day we heard the terrible news about Atsushi Sakurai of Buck-Tick. And now, I’m saddened to hear that she too has moved on from this universe… I’m grateful we got to grow together in Tokyo over the years, and have an uplifting final hangout with tea and tarot cards.

tarot themed restaurant cafe sun moon coasters

As Kuroe wrote to me after: “I can’t help but feel that the tarot museum gave a big boost. No joke, looking at those Sun and Star cards I got helped me keep faith every day while I was dealing with the timeline stuff. We’ve been dealing with darkness for far too long, time for the dawn to break.”

japan largest tarot card decks collection museum

In whichever timeline you’ve jumped to, I hope you’re at peace, dear Kuroe.

halloween tarot cards, goth gothic spooky deck

I’m grateful that we had this magical final hangout. Here’s to all the good memories with her and our friends in Japan.

japan tarot museum, occult attractions activities tokyo

If you’re intrigued by magic, the occult and tarot decks, I encourage you to visit the Tokyo Tarot Card museum — Kuroe absolutely loved it. We could have spent hours here, perusing the various designs and books, as well as glass displays of ancient cards.

japanese tarot cards kawaii cute playing card design

I particularly loved seeing the Japanese oracle cards by Nichiyu, Mr Sato’s pioneering company. Of course, they have a kawaii element to them. (I even came across an Astro Boy tarot!)

tarot reader reading tokyo japan spiritual healer medium

You’re welcome to select a deck — like Kuroe did — and do a reading. Thank you to Japan’s first-ever Tarot Card Museum for the warm memories.

eater food journalist clips osaka essential restaurants guide writer takoyaki japan

On a more smiley-faced note… I wrote all the new Eater Osaka food guides, out now! Eater commissioned me to report on takoyaki history and pop culture, why food lovers should travel to Osaka in 2024, and 38 essential restaurants in the city to try. Thanks for reading and supporting my food / travel writing.

I’ve also been getting tons of travel writing assignments about Japan. Here’s one that I wrote for Fodor’s Travel about how to use Tokyo’s public transit system, and one about the best restaurants in Tokyo. I was also interviewed by PopSugar about the art of planning birthday dinners.

halloween bakery cute food tokyo japan black cat cookies kawaii

I’ll wrap up with some cute Tokyo Halloween tidbits. In October, many Japanese bakeries offer spooky cute baked goods like these ghost and black cat donut cookies above. (I found them at Shibuya Tokyu Foodshow.)

tokyo halloween themed food ghost bread spooky foods

Delifrance, a bakery with various locations, had a “Halloween Party” special with ghoulishly-decorated sweet and savory items. I tried this ghostly cheese naan… and it was a nah…

 don quixote halloween costumes tokyo cosplay

You’ll find Halloween decor and costumes at all Japanese dollar stores (like Can*Do and Daiso), and the everything-shop Don Quixote.

kuromi clothing fashion tokyo japan donki don quixote

Donki also had an enticing selection of Kuromi themed goods.

I’m already compiling a list of new Tokyo spots to report on, for my next trip… aiming to be back in the fall, and I’ll capture tons of new Japan content for your pleasure! I still have so much to share from last time — find me @LaCarmina Instagram to keep updated. (I also have reels about the above spots on my Insta, if you’d like to see video footage.)

Of all the bars and restaurants featured in this post, which would you most want to visit?


Best summer activities in Vancouver BC! CICA Vancouver Sorayama, Capilano Bridge, Miku sushi, Fairmont Pacific Rim.

hajime sorayama cica vancouver bc space travelers robots

Domo arigato, Mrs Roboto! I had a grand time this summer in Vancouver, as I do my best to avoid travel in the high season (too expensive and Collapse-prone these days).

Instead, I stayed home in British Columbia and enjoyed art exhibitions (including Hajime Sorayama’s sci fi futurism), sushi on the waterfront, day trips to islands, and outdoor activities.

Read on for my offbeat, artsy guide to the top summer activities in Vancouver, BC — and check out the accompanying videos/reels on my Instagram @LaCarmina.

El Pequeño Libro del Satanismo satanism book la carmina

First, an announcement on the writing front…. My latest publication, “The Little Book of Satanism,” was translated into Spanish! It’s available now from Spain-based publisher Melusina, who did the translation and new cover design above.

To get a copy of my translated book, Google “El Pequeño Libro del Satanismo” (and more info below en español). The Little Book of Satanism is also available in English through AmazonKindleBarnes and Noble and Simon & Schuster. Canadians can find it at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon Canada — or simply search for the title to find it near you.

spanish book satanism melusina El Pequeño Libro del Satanismo lacarmina translation

Here’s the Spanish description of my book “El Pequeño Libro del Satanismo”:

“Con demasiada frecuencia, el satanismo se malinterpreta como una religión que hace sacrificios de sangre a un malvado Príncipe de las Tinieblas con cuernos y cola. En realidad, los satanistas modernos no son violentos ni teístas, y consideran que el Diablo es una metáfora significativa para la búsqueda del conocimiento, la razón y la justicia.

Nos asomamos así a la marca de la bestia en los movimientos culturales e históricos a lo largo de los siglos, que han informado las creencias y prácticas sinceras de los satanistas en la actualidad. Escrita por la galardonada periodista de cultura alternativa y bloguera La Carmina, esta completa guía incluye información sobre los orígenes bíblicos de Satanás y sus diversos nombres, apariencias y símbolos; su trato en la tradición esotérica del siglo XIX, así como su papel como chivo expiatorio, desde los juicios de brujas medievales hasta el «pánico satánico» desatado en la década de 1980. El libro concluye con una revisión concisa de la filosofía y las prácticas modernas, centrándose en la Iglesia de Satán, La Biblia satánica escrita por Anton LaVey y el activismo del Templo Satánico.”

EL PEQUEÑO LIBRO DEL SATANISMO de La Carmina, una obra que ahonda en sus valores afirmativos como inspiración en la vida. 14 x 21 cm. Páginas: 112. ISBN-13:978-84-18403-80-4. Precio: 14,90€.

satancon the satanic temple convention little book of satanism paperback review

To grab a copy of my Spanish-translated book, Google “El Pequeño Libro del Satanismo.”

The English version (“The Little Book of Satanism”) is also available worldwide from all major retailers. See links below, or Google the book title to find it near you.

la carmina the little book of satanism book review rating amazon goodreads

I asked ChatGPT to describe my book, and the AI spat out: “The Little Book of Satanism” provides a brief overview of the philosophy and practices of Satanism. Written by La Carmina, it covers topics such as the history of Satanism, the Satanic Bible, and the rituals and practices of Satanism. “The Little Book of Satanism” is a concise introduction to the basic ideas of Satanism and the worldview of its adherents.”

Order my Satanic book worldwide via AmazonKindleBarnes and Noble or Simon & Schuster. Those in Canada can find it at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon Canada. Thank you for reading — gracias!

hajime sorayama space sci fi sexy women robots fembot

Speaking of robotos — I was chuffed to visit the CICA Vancouver in Gastown for the first time. The Vancouver Centre of International Contemporary Art is a space for boundary-pushing works like the sci-fi visions of Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama.

space travelers hajime sorayama robot ai sculptures in tanks

Sorayama’s superrealist Mrs Robotos and visions of artificial intelligence / femininity / human emotions are out of this universe. CICA’s “Space Travelers” show features this immersive installation — doesn’t it remind you of an alien movie?

sorayama iron man marvel japanese sci fi painting

Since the 1970s, Hajime Sorayama has been mesmerizing viewers with his robotic-space-fantasy visions, which have a surprising warmth. I got to see his earliest commercial works from the 1970s, and large-scale paintings with pop culture themes like his take on Marvel’s Iron Man. (Wearing a leopard print active jacket by Mulu.)

hajime sorayama dior robot mrs roboto superrealism japan artist

Sorayama is known for his sexy robot ladies, which inspired films like Robocop and Ex Machina.

So shiny and chrome… To see how the light reflects off the metal surfaces and mirrors, watch my video of the CICA Sorayama show. (I always set my reels to the best space disco songs!)

space travelers cica contemporary art museum vancouver sorayama hajime

Sorayama has become more well-known in recent years due to his collaborations with Dior (above), Uniqlo, and more.

Space Travelers: Hajime Sorayama canada solo exhibition

Hajime Sorayama created mecha-dino sculptures for the film Jurassic World, which continue the theme of sentience vs AI. A remarkable show at CICA — and I can’t wait to see more of his works when I’m in Tokyo, where the artist is based!

long blue black dyed hair asian japanese hairstyles alternative dark

Here’s a first look at my new blue-black hair by Katya at Kore Salon in Vancouver. Happy to change up my look from the purple, which I’ve now had for years!

I took my new lilac cloud bag from Verafied to Buntzen Lake in Anmore, BC. My jacket is Mulu — love the cropped fit and breathable fabric, and glad to rep a woman-run, size inclusive label (up to 7XL).

mulu love activewear leopard print jacket fitness designer clothes

Buntzen Lake and this pier were the shooting locations of horror films Lake Placid, Freddy v Jason, and Jennifer’s Body. Quite a few cult movies were shot in BC, which is known as Hollywood North.

fairmont pacific rim hotel rooftop pool cabanas

Here’s the purple-blue hair I had before switching it up. Catching the breeze at the rooftop pool of the Fairmont Pacific Rim. I was writing a review of this stylish luxury hotel, which gave me an opportunity to hang at their waterfront property.

(Wearing a black MISBHV shrug and UK Swimwear top.)

vancouver waterfront hotel pool fairmont pacific rim willow spa review

You couldn’t ask for a better summer day at the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s outdoor pool fringed by palm trees, overlooking the North Shore mountains and harbour.

fairmont hotel pacific rim cabanas rentals outdoor pool

My friends and I lounged in this private cabana, and devoured salads, falafel, poke, and Prosecco.

See my Insta reel / video of our Fairmont Pacific poolside hang here.

botanist restaurant food dinner menu fairmont pacific rim

And then, dinner downstairs at Botanist Restaurant, one of the most exquisite fine dining spots in the city. The Chef’s Selection at Botanist was to die for: gorgeous, gorgeous cocktails and full-flavored Pacific Northwest creations like a quail’s egg on a floral black truffle nest, and perfectly charred kanpachi on creamed corn.

capilano suspension bridge park totem poles vancouver

I also served Sporty Spice for a day at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. I hadn’t been to this iconic North Vancouver landmark since the 90s, and discovered that there’s so much to see and do now — like a  daredevil cliffwalk and treetops adventure, and encounters with birds of prey!

I’m into the Y2K crochet bolero vibe these days. It’s hand-knit by Maryuan77, who sells them here on Depop.

capilano bridge tickets hours entry tips north vancouver

The Capilano Suspension bridge hangs 140 metres above the rocky river, and sways as people move across. The bridge was originally built in 1889, and became a leading tourist attraction in the 1980s. (Rest assured that there’s nothing sus about the bridge’s safety!)

exercise dresses white tennis dress active dress activewear

Capilano Park now has many other outdoor activities for all ages, like the Treetops Adventures. I had fun moving across seven footbridges hanging between tall fir trees, and looking down at the forest floor.

vancouver bc totem poles art capilano artists outdoor sculptures

Another highlight: Capilano’s totem or story poles, which were carved by local indigenous artists. They depict spirits and animals that have special meaning in their culture, like the Raven and Bear. (If you’re interested in BC First Nations art, I recommend UBC’s Museum of Anthropology as well.)

girl walking across capilano bridget tourism travel blogger

Be sure to wear sneakers or good walking shoes. I’m a fan of active / fitness dresses these days, which come with shorts and a built-in bra.

capilano suspension bridge vancouver park landmark bridges

Would you step onto Capilano’s suspended bridge?

y2k crochet boleros knit shrug arm covers

Check out my video from Capilano Bridge Park here (it’s set to the Bee Gees!)

capilano bridge park trees hike, birds of prey wild bird

The forest is home to birds of prey, like this adorable kestrel.

capilano skywalk tickets entry visit

The Cliffwalk was beautifully designed — it’s a narrow cantilevered walkway that curves around the Capilano River Canyon.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is lovely to visit year-round. It will soon transform into Canyon Frights for Halloween, and the attractions are then lit up with lights for the winter holidays.

vancouver content creator influencer fashion style instagrammer

Who here is part of Leo Nation? For my birthday on August 17, I received the best present imaginable from my favorite Vancouver restaurant, Miku. They invited photographer Joey Wong and me to try a seven course kaiseki of dreams!

For my bday dinner, I wore this eyeballs puff dress by Sourpuss Clothing.

miku cocktails yuzu cocktail vancouver bc

Miku is part of Aburi Restaurants, which has become a worldwide name for their creative Japanese cuisine (they invented the pressed salmon and jalapeno oshi sushi, which is often copied but never surpasses the original).

Predictably, I ordered all the cocktails with yuzu (it’s my birthday after all). The Paper Crane (whiskey, amaro, aperol, yuzu) came with an origami bird.

miku omakase kaiseki tasting menu japanese chef

The chefs spoiled us with a multi-course menu featuring the freshest catch of the day and Miku’s signature aburi nigiri. Everything was beautifully plated on handmade Arita plateware from Kyushu, Japan.

vancouver best japanese restaurant miku aburi restaurants

I loved visiting Tohoku last year with the Japan Tourism Board. The Iwate wagyu croquette with yuzu creme fraiche and black truffle snow brought back tasty memories.

best sashimi japanese food vancouver high end pressed sushi miku

Here’s a video of my Miku kaiseki meal. The chef’s selection of sashimi came with dramatic puffs of dry ice, and each slice melts in your mouth (scallop, tuna, hamachi).

vancouver pan pacific hotel at night rainbow lights waterfront harbour

Miku’s waterfront setting and attentive service are also unbeatable (no wonder the Japanese restaurant is Michelin recommended). You can sit indoors or outside on the patio, and take in the lights of Canada Place convention centre and ferry terminal.

miku wagyu beef minami japanese vancouver restaurant

I’m a little allergic to shellfish, so the chefs changed up the menu and invented this wagyu x sukiyaki sauce x mushrooms dish just for me!

miku aburi oshi sushi nigiri kaiseki japanese sushi vancouver

The nigiri platter was a show-stopper. Vancouver is known for having some of the world’s best sushi, and Miku’s high quality fish / seafood paired with creative sauces and ingredients are top of the line.

vancouver birthday dinner restaurants dessert miku

And the sweetest ending: peach earl grey mouse (even Joey got a belated birthday cake). Thank you Miku for a kaiseki dinner I’ll always remember. (Check them out in Vancouver and Toronto, and sister restaurant Minami in Yaletown too.)

bowen island bc ferries horseshoe bay

I leave you with some photos from a day trip to Bowen Island, British Columbia. It’s a much-loved summer getaway spot for those in Vancouver — Bowen is only a 20 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay, and you get to take in these spectacular views of the water and tall mountains.

tunstall beach bowen island british columbia

When you arrive, stop at the pier for Earnest ice cream and smoked salmon tacos. Then, head over to Tunstall Bay beach — I’m wearing AmyLynn Clothing on the shore.

amylynn clothing puffball white dress dresses

The waters are cool and oh so clear. (Photos by Yusheng.)

bowen island beaches attractions tourism what to do see

Thousands of you loved my video of the Bowen Island day trip — come give it a view, and see more Instagram @LaCarmina reels here.

bowen island tourism travel park killarney lake

I’m not a camping / hiking type, but it’s lovely to get outdoors in the Pacific Northwest during the hottest months. Wearing fashion from Tokyo at Killarney Lake on Bowen Island.

la carmina spanish translation little book of satanism EL PEQUEÑO LIBRO DEL SATANISMO

Did you have a fun summer as well? Now, let’s get ready for spooky season… including Halloween in Japan! Follow along @LaCarmina on social media to see my costume and adventures in Tokyo and beyond.

And thank you for reading my book! If you’d like the Spanish translation, Google “El Pequeño Libro del Satanismo” to find it. “The Little Book of Satanism” is also found on AmazonKindleBarnes and Noble and Simon & Schuster. Those in Canada can find it at Chapters/Indigo or