Tokyo Damage Report

‘pantsu kissa’ CHIRARISUMU

OK. Maybe you heard about the  "No-underpants Coffee-houses" that Japan had back in the economic boom times of the late-’80s/early-’90s.

The good news is, they didn’t die out when the bubble burst. They just got smaller, cheesier, and dirtier. . . .

The bad news is, in today’s grim economic climate, seeing the  vaginas  of one’s waitress is no longer do-able. Instead, you get to see underpants. . . which are right next to vaginas.

And the ‘coffee house’ has been replaced by a grim, stained,  dry-wall corridor with coffee tables in it.

And the coffee itself is . . . . .instant.


But the good news is,  it’s still worth it for the weirdness value.


Anyway, remember "Stan the Viking?" – the guy I interviewed about his experiences at a Tokyo  swingers’ club? Well, oddly, Stan the Viking has also been to a パンツ喫茶 (pantsu kissa, or ‘underpants cafe’) in Ikebukuro. He was nice enough to let me interview him:


TDR: So what’s the name of this joint?


STV: CHIRARISUMU (チラリズム). . .which is kind of funny. CHIRA means ‘brief glimpse’, but if that’s all they gave you, they’d be out of business tomorrow.

TDR: So . . . it means ‘brief-glimpse-of-underpants-ism’? 

STV; "Say what you will about brief-glimpse-of-underpants-ism, Donny, at least it’s an ETHOS."

TDR: So, can anybody go? How much does it cost?

STV: As with all semi-legal, semi-shady activities, you can only get in if you speak Japanese or bring a Japanese friend.  First you stop outside the store, by the store-sign, and call the phone number on the store-sign. Then the manager comes down and escorts you up. You pay 1500 yen for 30 minutes. (Beverages are extra, but a photo session with your friendly wait-staff and their undergarments is included).

TDR: Photo session?

STV: Yesssss. Photos are forbidden except at this specific time – every half-hour, they herd the patrons, one at a time, into a back room with the staff, and let each customer take pictures for one minute exactly. No face pictures – just underpants pictures. The manager stands there looking at his watch, and talking in a very matter-of-fact voice: "OK, girls, get on the chairs. Now, turn around." Then everyone goes back to the cafe seats, sits down,  and pretends like NOTHING HAPPENED.

TDR: Awkward! It’s weird how something so uncommon- like there’s probably not more than 100 people in the whole country who still do this underpants-cafe thing, but those 100 guys have gotten it down to a science. It’s all totally ritualized, and formalized, even in a gritty hallway-cafe.

STV: Whatever, professor.

TDR: So what else do you get for your money?

STV: Well- the best part is, they have closed-circut TV cameras, and each cafe table has a little TV monitor on it. When the staff is not busy serving you coffee, they sit down with their feet up on these little stools like you usually see in shoe-stores. The cameras are attached to the stools. So you can see underpants, AND SEE A GRAINY , FADED VIDEO REPRESENTATION OF THOSE SAME UNDERPANTS AT THE SAME TIME.

TDR: Is that for shy guys?

STV: Maybe! But you can also "change channels" and view the underpants of the OTHER waitress, in the adjoining seat.

TDR: So you don’t have to even move your neck 15 degrees. That’s convinient.

STV: It gets better – when the other patrons are in the back room photographing the staff’s undergarments, you can peep on THEM (the guys) by switching to a THIRD channel.

TDR: Peeping on the peepers? They thought of everything!

STV: Everything but a mop.

TDR: And are you allowed to talk to the staff?

STV: Yes. They don’t speak English, but the other customers were making small talk. But it wasn’t like a hostess club, where the hostesses know how to compliment guys and keep things running smoothly. Even the regular customers’ attempts at conversation were sporadic, awkward, and full of long silences.

TDR: Well, maybe they were busy watching underpants.

STV: One hopes. But I noticed that most guys were too shy to look directly at the underpants, even though they went here specifically for this purpose. One guy would wait until the staff got up and bent over to do his peeping.

TDR: Well, maybe it’s not shyness – maybe the fact that they’re deliberately showing their underwears takes all the fun out of it.

STV: You have been giving this way too much thought.

TDR: I’m just saying. Anyway, how many customers are we talking about ? 20? 

STV: There’s only 3 tables! So maybe 3 guys and 2 waitresses, and the manager, that’s it.

TDR: And the goons in the basement. Say, I almost forgot to ask – what kind of panties are we talking about, anyway?

STV: Like everything else in the place, the underpants seem to be kind of fake. They’re like bikini-bottoms, bright and rayon-looking. But puffy.

TDR: Puffy? Like with ruffles?

STV: No, like kind of loose and with little saggy wrinkles – almost like diapers. You know, the kind they always draw in manga.

TDR:  DO I know that?

STV: You tell me. But anyway, it’s not like seeing panties that a – er, a civilian would wear.

TDR: Right. The underpants are from the same bizarro universe that the whole cafe is from.


 BELOW:  the tiny, faded CCTV monitor at the desk: In the lower left corner you can see a guy – his cell phone fully erect –  making awkward small talk with the staff.

 BELOW: more peeping on the peepers. This photo is taken during the brief "photo session" in the back room. The guy on the left has brought his OWN video camera.

 BELOW: pictures of butts. Another satisfied customer. When the photo session is over, the staff will return to their special elevated seats directly in front of the monitor screen.


Take JR Yamanote line to Ikebukuro. Exit the NORTH exit, and make a left.

 You’ll immidiately find yourself at at an asterisk-shaped intersection with like 5 roads. follow the arrow, which goes to the right side of the DOCOMO cell-phone store.

 Walk about one minute down that street, and you’ll come to CHIRARIZUMU, the underpants cafe. It’s on the second floor, above the YASU-BEI store. If you get to the porno store by the "X" you’ve gone too far.

 Here’s the sign you should look for:

The sign seems to say, "Wait here and call us at this number. Within 10 seconds, the manager will come down to escort you up."


Also, check out their website at: (I think the ‘p’ maybe stands for ‘Panties.’)

mon-thurs 6-11

fri-sat 1-11


2 comments Tags: , , ,

2 Comments so far

  1. fake August 23rd, 2009 11:30 pm

    wow. just, wow.

  2. Marie September 13th, 2009 9:54 pm

    Are you hentai? lol

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