In the most New Yorky-ist thing of the summer, a pop-up museum has open in the Meatpacking district of New York City dedicated to ice cream. You can dive into a pool of rainbow sprinkles (or jimmies as I call them), which I’m sure is highly educational. Along with the ice cream related art and history, there will be tastings and sundae creations.
I yawn in their general direction, because I’ve been to an Ice Cream City. In my world, cities are much bigger than museums.
If you head to the Toshima area of Tokyo, you’ll find the mega-mall and entertainment complex Sunshine City. Inside here is a theme-park called Namja Town. As far as I could tell, Namja’s mascot was a carton ninja cat named Najavu, which what you should expect from Japanese culture. Looking at the official website, the cat also wear a top hat, so maybe there’s a lot of cosplay for this feline. There’s a section of this theme park called Ice Cream City.
If you want to find the hidden weird and wonderful of Tokyo, then this is the place to seek out. I had a lot of trouble finding Sunshine City to begin with. Then once I got to it, I went floor to floor trying to find this theme park. You would think finding a theme park in a mall would be easy. I was just about to give up when I finally found it the farthest away from the main entrance.
Like a lot of things in Japan, you have to buy your ticket from a vending machine. Once inside Namja Town, you’re greeted with several other food options like Gyoza Stadium, which is a misnomer because eight food counters that just serve dumplings does not make a stadium.
A lot of the Namja Town defies description or explanation, mainly because the language barrier and the batshit crazy nature of a Tokyo playland designed by a 13-year old Japanese child high on sugar. As far as I could tell, kids played through a scavenger hunt-like puzzle game throughout the indoor park. They get a decorator ring of some sort, there’s a haunted forest and general obnoxious j-pop music for kids blaring through the whole place.
In any event, I was there for Ice Cream City. Like the Stadium, it was five counters of ice cream confections where you can get insane combination of sundaes. Since English was nowhere to be found, I didn’t want to start an international incident of chocolate sauce.
As much as I wanted to buy something that Augustus Gloop would go to town on, I went to the Ice Cream Hall of Fame section. Here they had 100 variety of ice cream cups with every flavor you can imagine. When I write “every flavor you can imagine” I mean “use your imagination”. There’s goofy names like Vampire’s Blood and Happy Puppy’s Delight, but I aimed for a happy medium with the flavors. I went with Garlic, Cheddar Cheese Risotto, Scotch and Red Wine. Hmmm, I can taste the artificial flavoring like it was yesterday.
I had read about Ice Cream City during my research of absurdly strange things to do in Tokyo. Obviously, you can seek out the cosplayers in Harajuku, the endless arcades, the pachinko parlors and the funky gadgets in the Akihabara section of the city. If you’re up for a little adventure and a “WTF is this?” diversion, then a land of ice cream is waiting for you.