Montag, 27. Juli 2015

One rainy day in Asakusa

Asakusa was definitely on the top of our to-do list, right below Comiket 87 and themed coffee shops. The Kaminarimon Gate leading to Senso-ji temple is one of Tokyo’s most significant attractions and it is located in Asakusa. 

The following information is written on a board just outside the gate:
The Kaminarimon Gate ("thunder gate"), standing at the entrance to the processional road leading to Senso-ji, is Asakusa's most famous landmark. Inside the gate on either side are enormous wooden statues of the protective Buddhist deities Fujin (wind god) and Raijin (thunder god), from which the gate gets its name. The original gate was erected in 942 but burned down several times over the centuries. The one standing today was built in 1960, donated by Japanese entrepreneur Konosuke Matsushita (1894-1989).
It would’ve been interesting to see the Sanja Matsuri “Three Shrine Festival“ that is held annually during the third week of May but instead we had our fill of rain during our visit on December 29. And you would normally expect less crowd on a cold rainy day, but boy, was I wrong.
Upon entering the gate, you will see a huge line-up of souvenir shops that are selling Japanese goods at very expensive prices.

In between those you will find a lot of stores that are selling Japanese delicacies like dango or rice crackers, and who is not a big fan of spontaneous snacks?

The first store that we tried from was selling a rice flour product that was all gooey and soft inside but with a powdery texture on the outside, it is best eaten while drinking green tea. It had a hardly noticeable sweetness which I liked very much.

After finishing the snack we moved on to dango, that has inspired a manga, anime series, live-action series and a bunch of remakes.

Slowly but surely from a dango’s point of view we stumbled on to the next shop which was selling a rice product but this time with an interesting twist. A puffy bread with flavor on the inside. I ordered green tea flavor and my cousin went for apricot flavor. We also bought a couple of those red bags (bite-size bean-filled cake in different designs) that were on sale.

And my all time favorite, say hello to freshly cooked rice cracker (available with nori)!

After walking pass all those shops we decided to draw O-mikuji (fortune written on strips of paper) for a small 100 yen donation. See that metal box, you need to shake that very well and from that you will get a stick with a kanji symbol that determines from which of the boxes you will draw your fortune from. 

I unfortunately drew bad fortune. 

As per custom, I had to fold and tie that piece of paper on a wire and leave it there. (Leaving bad fortune behind). After that disappointment we stumbled on a different attraction.

An old lady was rubbing this very statue when we spotted it. My cousin asked her about it and she explained that the statue takes away pain of the body. First donate 5 yen and then start rubbing the statue. I rubbed the statue’s head and praid for my unpredictable migraine to go away forever. 

And then, there it was, the temple. Red, majestic and well restored.

It has definitely inspired me to pray.

All the pictures were taken by me with an Iphone 5. Original post was made in May under

Ikebukuro Danshi BL High School - BL Cafe

from Fujoshi to Fujoshi

On the evening of December 29, 2014, my cousin and I were in our hotel room, about to fall sleep after a busy agenda. We wanted to go back to Swallowtail but we knew we wouldn’t be able to because it’s always fully booked and winning lotto is more likely to happen than a short-notice reservation at Swallowtail. At around 9:00 PM, my cousin spontaneously called the café located in Ikebukuro. There seemed to be an ongoing party at the cafe during the phone call and she was able to make a reservation for the next day December 30, 4 PM.

We decided to go to the BL Cafe after the closing of Comiket at 3 PM. Of course not knowing that a great big cosplay crowd would still be available long after the market closes. We unfortunately ‘had to’ leave Comiket early.

After arriving at Ikebukuro station past 4:00 PM, we didn’t know which direction to go and because we did not want to be more late than we are, we called the cafe and had our session moved. We decided to take a taxi because we were so lost, and that was probably one of the biggest waste of money EVER (800 yen), after a 5 minute ride, the taxi couldn’t pinpoint us to our building. We were at the right location but we didn’t know which building. My cousin went inside K-Books and eventhough the lady didn’t know which way, she did give us a map.
We ended up walking towards Swallowtail and past a familiar bakeshop. It was hard finding the right building because everything seemed abandoned. We got so lost we went inside the wrong BL Cafe where girls were cosplaying boys. :D

After a few more steps we finally found the Boy’s Love Cafe. Upon walking up a flight of stairs we were welcomed inside a rather cozy, dim-litted café that was designed to imitate a classroom. The walls, the tables and chairs and even the bar were made of wood and there were comfortable leather chairs. We were sitted farthest from the blackboard. Thank the heavens! I am more of the wallflower type so I thought that was perfect and being sitted next to church-themed windows at a BL Café is not really something I wish for. BL manga were available under the tables. We were handed two hot towels after being sitted.
The guy (Sora) who gave us the towels came by again to explain that a red tie indicates a 1st year, blue a 2nd year etc. and to explain the pointing system, the more you visit, the more points you will get. As first timers, we had to enroll and will be automatically 'first years’, the guy talking (who is absolutely adorable like a kitten btw) is a second year, so we have to address him as Sora-senpai.

There were other miscellaneous fees. But what the heck, take all my money and let’s get the show rolling shall we?! After reading the menu, we decided to order 2 drinks, a pancake dessert to share,
and the-pocky-menu (980 Yen, WOOHOO!).
A first year by the name of Yuto brought our order. RnB music was playing in the background and there were other guests aside from us but the shop was not full. The other lady guests seemed to be very familiar with the boys and they were joking around and I got that whole host club vibe. The pancake dessert was delicious and while we were busy with our dessert, the school council president (seito kaichou) approached us and I was surprised he knew how to speak a bit of English. He asked us questions like where we were from, what we were doing in Tokyo and also talked about himself. After seito kaichou-san, Haru-senpai (a third year) approached us and talked about how pretty foreigners are with their big eyes and that he had an ex-girlfriend who was Russian.
All in all, you can expect someone approaching and trying to talk to you…

Sora-senpai is such a sweetheart, did I mention that he has dimples? He came by to talk about the pocky menu. He explained that we can choose who we would like to pair, who will take on the role of seme and uke, and choose the character type. *nosebleed* We chose Sora-senpai and Yuto (the first year who brought our order) and tsundere uke as the character type. Kouhai x Senpai onegaishimasu! .

Sora-senpai then said that he will have to concentrate and practice his role and that they will be back. I thought there would be some backdoor room for the whole pocky event but NO, it happens there and there, for all to see. I was kinda ashamed and considered suffocating my face with a pillow but yeah, there was no pillow available.

Sora-senpai and Yuto came back shortly and they played out this small script which involved a heart-breaking goodbye between a kouhai and senpai, ending with the expected pocky kiss. It was short and perfect, and I wished it would have been longer eventhough I was too ashamed to witness it at the same time. 

It was possible to extend the visit but that would mean spending more money. So, we asked for the receipt.
Another second year came by to confirm our names for our school card ID. It seems Sora-senpai has really bad handwriting.  

Here is the copy of my school ID card:
We left the BL Cafe on time with the boys seeing us off. Not sure if we will come back but it was definitely worth the try.
If you have a friend or a long distant relative who knows how to speak Japanese, definitely take them with you if you are planning to visit this café, without some help, communicating will be troublesome otherwise. 


Ikebukuro Danshi BL High School
2nd floor, Iwashita Bldg. 3-9-13, Higashi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo.
I originally posted this under my other blog ( last May 2015.