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Japan: Tokyo – The Butler Cafe

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shitsuji
You’ve heard of Japan’s famous maid cafes, right? (Who in the civilised world hasn’t…) If the maid cafes are more for the fellas, then butler cafes are for the ladies. I hadn’t thought of it at all, but Angie insisted that I have to try a butler cafe just for the experience of it. “They’ll call you ojousama!” she said. (“Ojousama” that translates to “my lady”, “mistress”, “madam”, or variations along those lines, depending on context.) Thus influenced, I had to add it into the list of things to do in Japan (especially when I have the company of a friend who is fluent in the language). I’d initially thought of going to the one Angie recommended but after some thinking, decided that if I could find one where they speak English that would be easier. That way S wouldn’t have to be translating for me all the time. I understand some Japanese, but not a great deal. Stumbled across this article on CNNGo and so that’s where we ended up.

It was… interesting.

So this was the first major thing I did when in Japan. Landed in Narita, met up with friend S then hopped down to Shibuya to have a look around and find this place.

We could barely keep from laughing at first because the whole thing seemed so ludicrous (though I must say, the butler who greeted us at the door and first served us was a real good-looking one. haha) especially in the way they kept using “my princess(es)” like a punctuation mark. “Today, my princesses, we have a special lunch menu. I would like to recommend this and this to you, my princesses. And now, my princesses, allow me to show you the different special teas we have. I recommend this one, my princesses. Is everything all right, my princesses? Can I help you, my princesses?”

It’s seriously a bit much after a while because it begins to feel so juvenile. It was also hilarious, but we didn’t dare to laugh outright because it seemed a bit mean. (After all, the butlers were just doing their job.) I wanted to tell them: “This princess commands that you stop saying ‘my princess.’ She prefers ‘my lady.’ Or, if you must, then ‘your highness’ will do.” Ha.

They put a bell on the table, and if you need anything, you pick it up and ring it. When you do so, all the butlers present immediately chorus, “YES, MY PRINCESS!” Now that irritated me. Mostly because of the way they said it. It wasn’t a crisp sort of thing, like how you’d imagine a soldier saying, “Yes, sir!” It was… like… I don’t know how to put it into words. The intonation was weird… Like the emphasis was on “my”. “YES! MYY PRINCESS!” Something like that. haha It just sounded really silly. And they’d stop to say it even if they were in the middle of something else. If they’re serving food to other tables and someone rings a bell, they’ll all stop whatever they’re doing just to say that before continuing. Rather annoying.

In any case, the bell was really loud (the place was small so it sounded even louder) and we decided to just be really careful not to knock it over by accident because it would be loud and we’d get that really unnecessary chorus of “YES, MYYYY PRINCESS”.

Oh, they also give you a tiara to wear for the duration of your stay there (usually about 2 hours). Like so:

princess for a bit
(I don’t think S wants her picture up anywhere, so I’ve cut her half out. haha) We got a glass of rose water in addition to the tea we ordered. I can’t remember what tea I had. Apple and something. But it was nice. They were very diligent about refilling our teacups and glasses. And yes, those cups are heart-shaped. And there’s the small golden bell sitting in between our two tea cups. Also, yes, they write your name on the plate if you order food. “Princess Yuin.” Nice. lol.

The butlers will stop by your table periodically to talk to you. All small talk, nothing amazing. Stuff like “Where are you from?” and “Can you guess where I’m from? Have you been to my country?” (they’re all non-Japanese, except for the head butler) or “How is your meal?” There were only 2 on duty that day besides the head butler – one Eli from France and Alexander from Colombia. Both good-looking (though I liked the former’s looks better than the latter :P ). It was pretty clear, though, that both S and I are far more fluent in English than either of them. haha

Guys are also welcome. A group of college students (after listening to their conversation, my friend deduced that they were postgrad students) came in shortly before we left – about four or five girls and two guys. The butlers called the guys “prince”, naturally. “My princesses and princes.” I doubt that it’s a places guys would come on their own though. It’s definitely more entertaining for the girls.

I don’t have many other pictures because we weren’t allowed to take photos with the butlers in them, and as it was a small cafe, getting an angle without any of them in it was a pretty difficult task. If you want a photo with “your favourite butler”, you’ll have to pay an extra fee. To be honest, I really regret not paying the 800yen (RM30) to do so. It took about 2 days for that regret to really sink in. Yang said to me later in Kyoto: “Yuiiinnn! Why didn’t you do that?? You’ve come all the way! You should have!!” Damn. I know. I really should have. The butlers really were good-looking too. I plead impairment of my judgement due to the long journey (1 hour flight from Penang to KL, 5-hour layover, 6-hour flight; and only 3+ hours of sleep).

All in all, it was an amusing experience. 8D Rather hilarious, yes, but I can see how stuff like that can be appealing. The handsome fellows who serve you and smile at you and talk to you (though if you’re with a friend/s it can get rather pesky because it interrupts the flow of your conversation). It’s a little bit of fantasy for a short while. Some people – myself included – need that little bit of fantasy, since we don’t have anything even close to it in reality.

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6 Comments

  1. Why didn’t you take photos of the butler… why… Hahahaha :p

    And everything is so princess-sy and you really look good with the tiara. :)

  2. hahahaha but at least you got a photo of yourself! the one i went request us to keep our camera and phones in the handbags lol. the writing on the plates really nice!

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