If you think of Japan’s big selection of theme cafés, the most common ones are animal cafés with cats, Maid Cafés with cute looking girls or time-limited anime and character cafes. If you take a look deeper, you even find out about Butler Cafés which became popular for women through manga. But there is another genre of manga especially women are interested in: Boys Love! And the number of women liking this genre – in Japanese these women are called Fujoshi - isn’t small. You only need take a look to all the volumes of manga you can find in Japanese book stores. So why not opening a Boys Love themed café?
Welcome to the Boys Love Academy Café!
Here we are: in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Around 10 minutes by foot from Ikebukuro station you find the Ikebukuro Boys Love Academy (in Japanese 池袋男子BL学園Ikebukuro Danshi BL Gakuen or even shorter called Ike-Gaku) inconspicuous hidden on the second floor of an elderly building. Inside you find a nicely furnished room with a bar and some dishes to sit down. Even a black board is there to make you feel like being inside a school. Surely, all the staff members are male and they are mainly dressed up in school uniforms. They are ranking from first to third grade of high school. Which grade they are in you can see through the color of their neckties.
As a first time guest, you are a first grader. So you can act with first grader staff like friends and should act more respectful to your senpai, which are in grades above you. I really recommend you to speak at least a bit Japanese when you visit the café, because your classmates and senpai are there to have a chat with you. Some can speak a bit English and they really tried hard to communicate with foreigners when I was there. And be ready that you will be asked about your favorite boys love mangas and things like this (^_~)
At the café you can find a school book with information and pictures of all the students inside. You also can find the members and their social media accounts on the cafes website. Furthermore, if you want you even can spend your time with reading some of your favorite shonen ai and yaoi manga or getting special gacha balls from the cafés own gacha gacha machine. Different events and birthday parties for the students are held over the year.
Food, drinks and the special menu
The menu is available in Japanese and English and ranges from non-alcoholic to alcoholic drinks and some nice looking dishes including hamburger, curry, fried rice, pasta and more. You even can order desserts. They prices are really ok and the food was always delicious. My omelet rice was even designed lovely by the staff members. Because everything was made fresh, it sometimes took a while until the dishes were served.
But let’s take a look to the special BL menu, which makes this café so unique. First you have the pocky game, which is my personal highlight. First you get some pocky chocolate sticks you can eat by yourself, but be sure to keep one left. While this you can think of a boys love scene you want to see act right in front of you. If you are not completely sure, the staff will help you make up a story with some questions. You can decide two students, say who is senpai and kohai, if they are a couple or one is secretly in love, decide about the place, what they do and so on. Then they play your scene ending up with both eating the pocky coming together to a kiss. And probably making you blush up.
Another role play game like this is the Onigiri game. Here your decided students who are making a riceball together. It is definitely softer than the Pocky version. Furthermore, there is a Takoyaki game where you can play jenga with one of the students. The looser has to eat some special takoyaki.
All these games cost you 980 yen each. But as Fujoshi at least the Pocky game is so damn worth it. Sorry… |D’
Time system and rules
Known from other themed cafés also the Boys Love Café has a time system, which makes you pay for your time of stay. At day time, you pay a school fee of 1000 yen per hour including one drink. Extending this time will cost you 500 yen every 30 minutes. First time visitors have to pay an additional 300 yen entry fee and will get a members card to collect points. If you spend a lot of money at the café – and get a lot of points through this – you will earn some benefits with the card.
On Saturdays night there is even a free-time package, which costs you 2800 yen and is including one drink. You can get this after midnight and stay until they close at 5 am in the morning. A 10% surcharge applies on everything you order between 10:30 pm and 5 am.
For sure, as in all themed cafés there are some rules you have to follow, too. These are the school rules which are written down on the website and are also told you when you enter the café.
· Don’t touch the students. Even so it is a BL café you are not allowed to touch the staff members. Also, it’s not allowed to ask for private contact addresses such as telephone numbers or email addresses.
· Don’t take photos. As in many other themed cafés you are only allowed to take pictures of the foods and drinks you ordered. You are not allowed to take pictures of the people working there.
· Leave the school on time. There is a time system, so it will get more expensive the longer you stay.
· Don’t bring in drinks and food from outside. Because it is a café you should order something at the shop.
Nothing special, but please take care of it to enjoy your stay and have fun with everyone at the café.
To end up this article here you have some more information about the Ikebukuro Boys Love Academy Café.
Address: Toshima-ku, Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-9-13 Iwashita Building 2F (豊島区東池袋3-9-13 岩下ビル2F)
Opening times: Monday to Friday 15:00~22:30, Saturday: 12:00~05:00, Sunday 12:00~22:30