I continue to be fascinated with Japan’s captivation with manga and theme cafes. The manga and theme cafes (maid cafes) once catered only to the male otaku but there is a growing trend in catering to the female fans, namely the fujoshi. Fujoshi is a term which refers to female otaku who covet manga and novels featuring romantic relationships between men. Yaoi also called Boy’s Love or BL is becoming more common place these days with conventions, fan sites and fan fiction dedicated to the genre of male+male romance narratives. One such manga simply called Boys Love is written and illustrated by Kaim Tachibana.
Most visitors to Japan know that the otaku culture is prominent in Akihabara but now there is the yaoi version developing in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district which is renowned for its variety of shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities. Along Ikebukuro’s Otome Road, you will find numerous shops offering anything and everything from manga to cosplay items dedicated to Boy’s Love (BL).
However, aside from the shops there are also “butler” cafes and the Boy’s Love Academy Café which specifically cater to the teenage girls or young women who comprise the fujoshi population.
The interior of the café is decorated like a classroom and the waiters are dressed in school uniforms. The waiters are grouped into three grades, freshman, sophomores and third-year high school students. Each group is distinguished by the color of tie they wear. The freshman are uniformed with red ties, the sophomores in blue and the third-year students in pink. Oh and for those that desire something a little different, there is even a teachers & janitor category.
Each customer is presented with a “student card” when they visit the café. The cards are used to accumulate points which can be used for special services such as birthday surprises, etc.
The menu is rather limited but the fujoshi do not come here for the meals served. For ¥1000, clients can purchase a Pocky stick which will be shared in a fantasy scenario by two waiters of your choice. It is called Fantasy Coupling Pocky. The fun doesn’t end there girls! You can also purchase Coupling Onigiri which involves a staged scene between two waiters of your choice who hand-prepare the onigiri for you.
For you girls who want to capture your favorite “school boys” on your cell phone or camera, the café does not allow any photography or videography. (Only still photos of food and beverages ordered is permitted.)
Dining at the café has a time limit and the options available vary depending on the time of your visit. The “Basic Daytime Fee” of ¥1,000 includes a 60-minute session plus one drink. You can extend your dining experience by purchasing an additional 30-minutes for ¥500. During the evening hours, you have the option of paying the basic fee or purchasing a “free-time package” for ¥2800. The package is available between 12 midnight and 4:00 AM. There is a ¥100 “administration fee” charged for first time patrons and a 10% surcharge is added on to fees and food and beverage orders placed between the hours of 10:30 PM and 5:00 AM. Staying after school will cost you!
The café is open on weekdays between 3:00PM and 10:30PM, Saturdays from 12:00PM to 5:00AM (next day) and Sunday from 12:00PM to 10:30PM. You can reach the café via the JR Yamanote line Ikebukuro Station East exit.
Web page: http://www.blcafe.jp/pc/index.html
Address: 3 Chome-9-13 Higashiikebukuro, 2F
Toshima-ku, Tokyo-to 170-0013
(Images courtesy of Boy’s Love Academy Cafe)