Oh, where to start with this one?? On our fourth night in Tokyo, my wife and I went to Hooters. Let me just talk about Hooters in general for a minute. In my experience, most of its biggest critics have never been there - it is basically just a sports bar. The clientele is always mixed; guys going out after work, couples on dates, even groups of women. Obviously the gimmick is waitresses in tight t-shirts and hot pants, but seriously, this isn't all that much different from what some Japanese girls wear anyway.
Ok, I admit it looks like kind of a sausage fest in this photo, but I swear, just off to the left there was one couple and one group of three women together.
This same location is variously known as Hooters Tokyo, Hooters Japan and Hooters Akasaka. I was curious to see how the, uh, food - yeah, that's it - compared with the Hooters I've been to in Portland, Oregon.
The interesting thing is that it is almost exactly the same experience. Most American chains that come to Japan successfully have to make changes for Japanese tastes. For example, 7-11 in Japan carries all sorts of different breads (one of the things I miss most in the US), they sell concert tickets, they have their own bank. But Hooters' menu is pretty much the same, from what I remember, between Japan and the US. And the decorations are too - they've got lots of college football memorabilia spread around, and they were showing NASCAR on one of the monitors.
Here's one way you know you're in Japan.
Even the girls had a western style body type, if there is such a thing - they had that muscular yet voluptuous look for the most part that otherwise isn't very common in Japan, although all but one of the waitresses working the night we went were Japanese (my wife asked!) and the other was Filipino. Some of the girls there actually spoke pretty decent English. They must expect - if not actually get - a lot of westerners. I didn't see any other than me when we were there, though.
They were holding a "Miss Hooters Japan" contest while we were there - I voted for Airi! Three of the girls in this photo were working the night we were there. Our waitress was named Ikumi; she wasn't in the contest.
The food was actually pretty good! This is one difference from America - the food at the Hooters in Portland was some of the worst I have ever had out. I ordered a teriyaki burger and my wife got fish and chips - both were perfectly normal and edible and didn't taste like they had been steaming in a big vat in the back for several weeks.
My wife's fish and chips.
I picked up a couple souvenirs on the way out:
I actually wanted a t-shirt but Airi told me they didn't have XL (they normally do, it was just sold out). The magazine's better, though, because I probably wouldn't wear the t-shirt, and for buying the magazine I got to use the coupon inside that let me get the mug free! The magazine is basically like Maxim; it's just got a bunch of articles related to Hooters and pictorials of some of the girls (not all of whom actually work there; some are just famous idols, like one of the girls from idol group SDN48). I was worried it was going to have a lot of American content, but it is at least all local.
We went at around 6PM and had to wait in a short line - I wouldn't go much later than that if you don't want to wait longer (unless you go very late). Like a lot of things in Tokyo, Hooters is not that easy to stumble across by accident - it's on the second floor of the shopping center at Hotel Excel Tokyu in Akasaka. The sign is not easily visible from the street, and you'd never walk by it otherwise, but the hotel itself and shopping center are obvious, so just go to the second floor and then walk to the far end on the outside.
Gotta admit, it was fun!