The Kawaii Monster Cafe is one of many themed restaurants in Tokyo. This particular restaurant is devoted to all things kawaii, or ‘cute’, and is fittingly located where kawaii culture first began – in the Harajuku district of Japan’s capital. Read on to discover what kawaii looks like after being jacked up on steroids and liberally drenched in hues of a fluorescent-coloured rainbow.
The belly of the kawaii beast
Believe it or not, there is a narrative thread to the experience you’ll have in Kawaii Monster Cafe. As you enter, you’ll be greeted by a hungry monster who goes by the name, ‘Mr Choppy’.
But don’t get too attached. The next thing you’ll discover is that Mr Ten Thousands Chopsticks has swallowed you whole, forcing you down his insides into a room full of oversized levitating animal-heads and milk bottles suspended from the ceiling.
As you move further into the belly of the beast, you’ll find that sections of the room have been loosely fitted around the theme of lips, melting ice-creams and macarons, and dancing, alien mushrooms.
The food options are displayed on a touch-screen menu encased in a plastic cake. The choices are reminiscent of the culinary creations made in a Play-Doh oven.
Colours are crucial in the Kawaii Monster Cafe, resulting in food that looks ever so slightly toxic. The blue chip-dip does not look convincingly edible and the plate of multi-coloured spaghetti bears resembles a tangled mess of plastic-coated live wires.
But don’t let this stop you from going! Eating is perhaps the smallest element of the overall experience you’ll get at the Kawaii Monster Cafe. And kids – having not yet developed the cognitive association between beige and spaghetti, or blue food and mould – love the food.
Think Tokyo, and images of crazy hairstyles and even crazier clothes will likely come to mind. In reality, it’s a rare sight to see someone bedecked in colours and a mask of make-up anywhere in Tokyo.
Supposedly, the Kawaii Monster’s insatiable appetite led him to swallow the entirety of Harajuku District, including its famous fashionable inhabitants. They can now be found in the Monster Cafe, where they go by their mascot names – Candy, Crazy, Nasty, Bunny and Baby Ally.