Jack Sparrow takes the helm of a Tokyo cake store
One of the best things about living in Japan is that there’s always some completely surreal surprise waiting around the corner.
This week, it’s Captain Jack Sparrow, decked out in full swashbuckling garb, behind the counter of a cake shop in Nakano. Really.
The sight of the grizzled sea dog schlepping tarts around a decidedly pink and princessy shop is enough to stop most passersby in their tracks.
Of course, it's not the real Jack Sparrow, though they look so similar you might be hard pressed to tell the difference.
This pirate proprietor calls himself Koenji Jack Sparrow, after the nearby hipster neighborhood, and he specializes in pastries, not plunder.
Pirates of Ryouma -- the store’s equally eccentric name -- is one of many hole-in-the-wall type joints to be found in the alleys of Nakano, but it's definitely got the most captivating décor of the lot.
Stop, yer kraken us up
The second-floor seating area and bar is decorated in a rather bizarre mix of gritty pirate imagery and cotton-candy pink princess regalia.
A painted window on one wall shows a ship under attack by a kraken on a stormy night, while the opposite wall has the kind of bejeweled pastel bower you'd expect a six-year-old girl to design.
When we visited, an elderly patron sat among this design mayhem calmly sipping a cup of coffee and reading a newspaper as if nothing could be more normal in her favorite cake shop.
Like I said, surreal.
Getting there: Take the Sobu, Chuo or Tozai lines to Nakano Station. Go out the north exit and follow the crowd into the covered shopping arcade. At the end of the arcade, turn right onto a small side street. Walk to the end and you'll see the café on the left of the connecting street.
Pirates of Ryouma, Nakano 5-54-3, Nakano-ku, Tokyo. Open every day 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
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