Japan can be a weird place for the uninitiated. Sometimes it seems like Japan is suffering from some form of identity crisis with it’s mix of traditional culture and festivals, cutting edge technology, myriad of subcultures (otaku, gyaru, cosplayers to name a few), world-class service, curious practical innovations, and creative entertainment options. And no where else can this be felt more obviously than in Tokyo. One of the things I’ve always found interesting and been curious about are the numerous themed cafes. There are tons of cafes in Singapore, but we can’t quite match up in terms of…erm… “novelty”. Anyway I finally got a chance to explore Tokyo and jumped at the chance to check some of them out.
Visited – @Home Cafe: 7F Mitsuwa Building 1-11-4, Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku
“Konnichiwa go-shujinsama” I think she said, as she guided me towards my seat in her french maid uniform. Get ready to feel an overdose of kawaiiness and be fawned upon as french maids call you “go-shujinsama/master” and serve your every (gastronomical) need. Ok the food isn’t exactly Michelin standard, but with your waitresses drawing ketchup bunnies on your omelette rice and chanting “moe moe kyun” over your drinks, it definitely taste “better”. @Home Cafe is one of the most established and has numerous branches around Tokyo. There’s an entrance fee of ¥600 for an hour excluding food and drinks. Pictures of the maids aren’t permitted inside the cafe so I opted for a polaroid with a maid of my choice (¥600) and a Magic Sketch Caramel Latte (¥700). For the polaroid, there were props and I could choose from 5 different poses that the maid demonstrated. Games could also be played with the maids for ¥600, although this became too contrived for me as they played with a timer on the table. To be honest, I was surprised that it wasn’t only the male otaku’s who visited the place. There were girls as well and it seems like many just enjoy the novelty of a cafe like that. The maids are very professional, giving attention and engaging in conversation with both sexes. Unfortunately most of them didn’t speak much English, and our conversations were reduced to hand gestures and body language. More surprisingly, despite it sounding awkwardly weird, I had quite a bit of fun figuring things out and will definitely recommend anyone to try this.
Once is enough though. :p
Visited – Calico Cat Cafe: 1-16-2 Kabukicho | 6F, Shinjuku
There is no resisting this if you love cats and animals. I chanced across this while roaming the famous Kabukicho area at night. The neon flashing lights had gotten the better of me and I figured that playing with cats will be a better idea. Calico’s pretty tucked away and if it wasn’t for the cute standing light box by the street, I would have totally missed the entrance. The cat cafe occupies 2 floors and has over 20 feline friends of various breeds for you to play with. It’s 1000yen admission for the first hour and 150yen for every additional 10mins. Kitty food (300yen for a small but sufficient container of chicken) is a must for bribing the kitties because… well cats are being just cats. Feeding time is around 5:30pm so it’ll be a good time to visit if you want to catch them at their most active state.
Id tag which you use for your purchases
Ngawwwwwwwwh 2nd floor of the cafeSleepy…Food is the only way to bribe them really. They are too used to people petting them!
Cat cafes seem like a really good idea to just chill and get a dose of cuteness. Just being around them is enough to melt your worries away. So glad that Singapore finally has our own Neko Cafe!
Visited – Com Com Manga Cafe: Tsukiji (104-0061 東京都中央区銀座4-14-8 佐野ビル3F. Contact: 03-5565-5584)
The need to stay in one actually arose from trying to be at Tsukiji Fish Market by 4am to get the limited tickets for the Tuna Auction. I was too cheapo to stay in a hotel nearby or take a cab in the morning so this was the next best option being only a 5mins walk away.
More mangas than you could possibly read in your lifetime
Contrary to the name, Manga cafes seem to function more as a cheap place to rest than a place to read mangas. For 3hrs in the cafe (~1000yen), you could use the internet, read mangas, help yourself to the free flow of soft drinks, coffee/tea and second hand smoke, or try snoozing in one of the many cubicles. I would recommend earplugs though, unless you enjoy snoozing to the melody of your neighbour’s snoring.
Narrow corridors with individual cubicles Freeflow drinks!! Snacks and noodles were available for a small fee Crib for the night. I personally find an overnight bus more comfortable to sleep in
Although I’ve heard of nicer manga cafes with hot showers and a smoke free environment, I wouldn’t recommend sleeping in one unless you have no choice, is really cheapo, or just want to experience something new.
So after all this trouble did I get to see the Tuna auction in the end?
No. Reached the market at 415am. le sigh. -___-”
In case you’re wondering what else to do in Tokyo, check out my video below: