Tokyo’s Thunderbirds Cafe brings retro puppets to delicious life again

Written by: William on September 26, 2012 at 12:14 pm | In LIFESTYLE | 4 Comments

Sometimes it seems there is a cafe for every theme in the pulsating, organic mass that is the city of Tokyo. From cat cafes to robot ones in Kabukicho, Gundam eateries, maid cafes and more… every subculture or hobby seems to get its own bistro of some kind.

We recently stumbled upon the Thunderbirds Cafe in Jimbocho of all places, a strange location for a strange place. We would have thought that somewhere in Akihabara would have been more appropriate for something paying homage to a Sixties puppet science fiction show but then, perhaps with the demographic, salaryman town is a better choice.

thunderbirds cafe tokyo

It has been created by Pasela (with licensing from Gerry Anderson), known for their themed karaoke venues. You get to it by going into the basement of one their karaoke complexes, pushing through layers of fake foliage (you are entering Tracy Island of course!) before prizing open the air-lock-style doors.

Inside you are confronted by a model of one of the show’s heroes in a “rocket”, and then several tables, including ones in “pods” based on each of the famous Thunderbird machines, which are also on display in replica form. This is a fan boy’s dream come true.

thunderbirds cafe tokyo

On the opposite side is a TV always playing episodes on loop (random excepts from the soundtrack also continues out of the restaurant’s speakers, slightly jarring if you want a quiet bite to eat).

thunderbirds cafe tokyo

The upholstery and design of the place is quite nice and new (it only opened earlier this year). It might be kitsch but it’s been done with a budget of reasonable levels, it seems.

The menu is standard Tokyo cafe fare, though they have attempted to create or match a dish with as many countries around the world as possible (after all, this is “international rescue”). The food also comes with Tracy Island-style palm tree decorations.

thunderbirds cafe tokyo

The staff also give you a chipper Thunderbirds salute when they take the order and pepper the customary keigo with “stand by” and other snatches of quasi-dialogue from the series.

We asked the manager about the clientele (there were only three other customers when we were there) and he said that it is mostly older fans of the original franchise and often people who work in the area.

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Category: LIFESTYLE
Other categories: CULTURE, PRODUCT INNOVATION


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4 Comments »

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  1. How about an exact address, or better yet, directions? (It is often hard to find places in Tokyo even with an address.)

    Comment by Jim Trethewey — September 27, 2012 #

  2. @Jim Trethewey

    Please feel free to follow the link to the official website:
    http://www.paselabo.tv/thunderbirds/access/index.html

    Address:
    〒101-0051
    東京都千代田区神田神保町 1-21-5 
    パセラリゾーツお茶の水店 B1F
    Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda, Jimbocho 1-21-5
    Pasela Resort Ochanomizu (basement)

    Directions? Head out of Jimbocho Station and go east along Yasakunidori street. The road will curve to the right after 1-2 minutes, and you should soon enough be able to see the Pasela Resort karaoke building and a big blue Thunderbirds Cafe sign on your right. It’s on a street a little bit set in from the main road.

    Is that okay? I also recommend using the word “please” in the future. I always find it helps with the tone of my requests.

    Comment by William — September 27, 2012 #

  3. Thank you for a great read & photos!
    LOok forward to heading there this weekend…
    Hope you are able to find time to head over to Miraikan in Odaiba to take in the Thunderbirds exhibit!
    http://www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/en/spexhibition/
    With appreciation…
    keep writing….
    :o)

    Comment by oliver — July 26, 2013 #

  4. @Oliver

    Yes, we also blogged about that exhibition here:
    http://www.japantrends.com/thunderbirds-expo-tokyo-miraikan/

    Please let us know how it was!

    Comment by William — July 26, 2013 #

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