Monday, 5 February 2018

Beyond The Frame | The Robot Restaurant Show Girl | Fuji X-Pro2

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy | All Rights Reserved
This Beyond The Frame post features one of the many images I made at the Robot Restaurant, located in Tokyo's Shinjuku nightlife district, and described by many as one of the wildest shows on Earth....which is quite true.

Anthony Bourdain got the shock of his life here, and it has since become a magnet for foreign visitors (and locals) seeking to experience the same "buzz' he had.

The Robot Restaurant is located not far from the Shinjuku Station, and is in the area best described as the underbelly of Tokyo's nightlife...which includes all sorts of seedy venues and other activities best left to the imagination.

The 90-minute cabaret style shows include bikini clad futuristic dancers, performers dressed as robots and a host of oversized vehicular robots -- all in a laser-lit room. The dancers et al are highly trained and rehearse around the clock to perfect the complicated routines involving dancing to drumming, pole dancing and robot riding. 

There's no logical storytelling in the epic battles between enemy robot armies, with effects ranging from strident pop music blasts and lasers strobes...but it's a psychedelic experience that is a mind boggling profusion of colors and sound.  

The venue is extremely popular, even if it has 'mellowed' through the years, and the female dancers are not as scantily dressed as they used to be. The show is certainly bizarre in a Japanese way, but is immensely enjoyable.


Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy | SOOC JPG.
Unaware that photography using "large" cameras was prohibited, I used my Fuji X-Pro2 all through the show's duration and no one asked me not to use it. The dancers were within arm's length from most spectators, and posed (for barely a second) whenever I pointed the camera at them. Its rangefinder size and the 18mm pancake lens must've given the impression that it was a point & shoot rather than a 24mp camera, so it passed muster.

Naturally, my success rate in having decent images was low...due to the light issues and the rapid movements of the dancers and the robotic contraptions, but choosing a wide aperture, a high iso and a high shutter speed produced more than enough to feel pleased of myself and in the capabilities of the X-Pro2.

For more of my images of the Robot Restaurant, drop by The Greatest Show  gallery on my Exposure site.

Technical details on the top photograph are: Fuji X-Pro2 + Fujinon18mm. 1/2700 Hand Held. f2.0. iso 2500. Spot Metering. Date: 2017-03-24 at 16:44:00 (Tokyo time). Post Processing using Color Efex Pro.