Don’t do this: how to get drugged and robbed in Tokyo

Traditionally, Roppongi has been the place for idiot tourists to get hustled. But this guide will send you to hell.

[Don’t Do This was intended as an article series exploring bad ideas for humorous effect. After The Incident Which Shall Not Be Named we’ve come to realize the series itself is legally speaking the mother of all bad ideas — but we’ll publish some of the material.]

Tokyo is considered one of the world’s safest cities. Crime is basically zero, everyone is impossibly polite and you can leave your bike lying on the street like it wasn’t a thing. Being the victim of crime in Tokyo is actually REALLY, REALLY difficult. But it’s not impossible.

Here’s a step-by-step guide that will have you balls deep in Rohypnol, cheap hookers, and organized crime before you can say, “Sumimasen, Eizu no shinryoujyo ha dokodesuka?” (“Excuse me, which way to the AIDS clinic?”)

#1. Shinjuku

Head over to Shinjuku in the city’s inner east. Traditionally, Roppongi has been the place for idiot tourists to get hustled, but that area is totally played out and over as far as crime goes. Shinjuku has a much more indie / relevant underworld steez.

#2. Pre-game

Once in Shinjuku find yourself a decent bar and get a few drinks in. Don’t get stupid and start hammering shots — you’re going to get drugged later on so you may as well pace yourself.

Take a moment to appreciate the fact you can smoke cigarettes in all the bars and a packet of Marlboro Golds will only cost you about $4.

#3. Kabukicho

Once you’ve got a nice buzz going, it’s time to find Kabukicho, Tokyo’s red light district. It’s hidden away among Shinjuku’s back-streets but any map will point you in the right direction.

You’ll know you’ve found it when the streets start to resemble a scene from Sega’s Yakuza franchise.

Kabukicho, Tokyo.

Don’t bother heading over until midnight.

#4. Stand out

What you want to do next is spend a good 30 – 40 minutes wondering the block looking like a proper tourist. You’ll probably be the only white person around so it shouldn’t be too difficult to stand out.

#5. Follow the white rab–uh, random black guys

By this point, you should have come to the attention of every halfway crook in the area. Proper Yakuza dudes have better things to worry about than tourists and won’t fuck with you.

The African street touts are another matter: You won’t be able to walk ten meters without some guy offering you drugs, women, cheap drinks, whatever. Resist the urge to follow random black guys down dark alleys for “cocaine.”

#6. The shady promoters

Every African guy on the block will try and hustle you into “the best club.” There are two things to keep in mind here: Firstly, any place that allows you to have a look inside without paying cover is halfway legit and way too wholesome for our purposes.

Also, you won’t be getting into any of the really good clubs with the hot Japanese strippers –- they’re reserved for locals and they don’t want your ass in there. Point is, neither of these places will get you bodied. You want somewhere several notches more ghetto. Keep talking to random African dudes.

#7. Ridiculous deals

You’ll know you’ve hit the jackpot when the club is: a. offering some ridiculous deal (i.e. two hours of unlimited drinks and women for $40); b. doesn’t have a name; c. is located up a scary elevator in a random building.

#8. Karaoke and bad couches

Does the club you’ve just walked into look like a third-rate brothel? Congratulations! You’re well on your way to getting drugged and robbed.

As a rough guide, there should be karaoke, bad couches and a bunch of strung out Filipino “hostesses” sitting with drunk salarymen. You’ll notice the lighting is very dim and there are a lot of coats draped across laps.

#9. The secret menu items

If you’re a guy, here’s where it starts to get fun: Although your drinks are free, you have to have a girl by your side and you have to buy them drinks. These ladies have expensive taste and the cheapest thing you’ll find on the menu is usually a $30 / $40 glass of champagne.

Keep in mind that certain drinks are more than just a drink. Order a $100 half-bottle of wine for your new lady-friend and she’ll throw in a handjob under the table. Go for the $300 champagne and you’ll get yourself a private dance out back. It’s a pretty standard hustle designed to circumvent prostitution laws…

#10. The complimentary shot of schomehtning..uhh teuiqlol

… but it’s one you probably won’t remember. If the bar is as dodgy as the description above, the African bar guy should be giving you a complimentary shot of “tequila” around the time your hostesses starts working on your belt.

The Rohypnol in the tequila will take about ten minutes to kick in and once you’re under, the staff will retrieve any credit cards in your wallet and start charging huge sums to bogus offshore accounts.

And you? You won’t be waking up for another 10 – 14 hours and that tequila shot will be the last thing you remember.


The guys who drug and rob tourists in bars are actually pretty nice about it. They won’t bother stealing your phone / camera and whenever possible, they’ll throw you in a cab and send you back to your hotel. Basically, they want the victim to assume they had a “really big night” and not realize their credit card has been emptied out until they leave the country.

Also, virtually none of the Japanese cops speak English, so even if you do realize what’s happened, good luck making a report.

The good news is your credit card company will (almost certainly) refund the money, so technically the drugs were free.