Tag: <span>中级车</span>

Tokyos Square Enix Cafe is Fun Even With Soccer

first_img When you travel, you probably want to experience new foods at good restaurants, really get a feel for the best things the locals eat. Or, if you’re like me, you want to eat a piece of chocolate with an anime girl printed on it, then shop at the gift shop before paying your check.I’m talking about character cafes, and because of nerds in and out of Japan they’re a pretty popular installation.The Square Enix Cafe in Tokyo is one of a few character cafes run by the company in Japan, along with another Square-Enix Cafe in Osaka and separate Final Fantasy XIV-themed Eorzea Cafes also in Tokyo and Osaka. I reached out to Square-Enix before heading to Japan to arrange an appointment.Yes, an appointment. Character cafes are popular, and walk-ins aren’t accepted (though you can still shop at the gift shop). You need to reserve a time slot to get served at most of these character cafes, and they get booked quickly. The Square-Enix Cafes have rotating themes, shuffling through different “collaborations” with specific games or series. The last theme at the Square-Enix Cafe was Nier: Automata, one of my favorite games of last year. Unfortunately, that collaboration ended a month before my trip. Instead, the current collaboration at the Square-Enix Cafe is Schoolgirl Strikers, a Japan-only mobile game about high school girls playing soccer.You know what? I’m still down for that. So I went and got my striker waifu on.The cafe itself is located just outside Yodabashi Akihabara, one of the biggest electronics stores in Akihabara, located just a few blocks away from Akihabara Station. Because it has rotating themes, it doesn’t have any big Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest decorations on the front, only a big, glowing sign that says “Square Enix Cafe” over the queue of fans waiting to get in. LInes form, even with reservations, and an attendant walks down the line to confirm reservations and issue lanyards to guests, showing they can dine in.Reservations are based on a number of fixed 90-minute time slots, and even with your reservation  you should show up a little early to get shown in quickly. When the time slot begins, all guests are shown in with typical enthusiastic courtesy and a cheerful “Irrashaimase!” (the standard greeting given to all customers of restaurants and stores in Japan), and led up the stairs to their tables. Then each table is given an iPad, which serves as the menu.The decorations of the cafe can vary depending on the collaboration, and for a soccer-themed mobile game like Schoolgirl Strikers it was kept very simple: Some TVs along the mirrored wall of the cafe showing anime from the property, and otherwise very modern, minimalist appointments. Which actually probably fit in well with the Nier: Automata collaboration before this one, with square, black tables.The menu is in Japanese with no English translation (though you can look it up online and use Google Translate to find out the dishes ahead of time, which helps). Fortunately, every item has a big, colorful picture of the dish or drink, and you tap them to order instead of speaking, so it isn’t much harder than drunkenly eating at Denny’s. And, while the menu itself is entirely in Japanese, foreign customers are given a laminated guide with English instructions on what you need to tap to complete your order. It’s helpful, even if it isn’t quite as helpful as an English menu.I don’t know anything about Schoolgirl Strikers. For all my weebness, I’m neither a soccer fan nor a big enthusiast for these Kantai Collection-style harem properties. But I’m still down to try things, so I ordered a light dinner of Satoka’s Favorite Dumplings, Yona’s Favorite Hot Coffee With Special Marshmallow, and, um, some fried shrimp (the cafe has non-collaboration appetizers).All three dishes/drinks showed up quickly, The shrimp came in a metal bucket line with wax paper, and the coffee and dumplings had their own separate plates and presentations, complete with anime characters printed on decorations. I don’t know who Satoka or Yona are, but Satoka stood on an edible wafer leaning against a flower in the middle of her dumplings, and Yona posed cheerfully on a piece of white chocolate and stared at me in a slightly unsettling Monika-from-Doki-Doki-Literature-Club way from a sticker on the coffee.I’ll be real, you don’t go to a character cafe for the quality of the food. You go for the presentation and experience, and generally because you’re a fan of the characters. If you want the best food in Japan, you need to look for unbranded experiences like Black Hole in Shinjuku (a yakiniku place, serving some of the best beef I’ve ever eaten). Or find a Japanese-speaking friend who can guide you to a completely non-English izakaya (tavern restaurant) and tell you about the best dishes there. Whether it’s the Square Enix Cafe, the Pokemon Cafe, or the Gundam Cafe, you’re not going to be wowed by the quality of the meal. You are, however, going to enjoy what the food looks like and the fun anime characters arranged on the plate.The dinner wasn’t bad at all. Yona’s coffee was a perfectly standard black drip coffee served with a few marshmallows on a small plate next to it. The marshmallows had hearts painted on them, except for a larger one that also had Yona’s face. The dumplings were three pairs of gyoza with vegetable, shrimp, and (I believe) chicken fillings. A bit chewy and more doughy than ideal, but tasty. The fried shrimp was a generous amount of popcorn shrimp, but fried without breading so you just get the crispy shells, which actually makes eating them feel more like eating popcorn than American popcorn shrimp does.After dinner, I went to the gift shop, which wasn’t Schoolgirl Strikers-themed. There were a few items from the game, but the store ran the gamut of Square-Enix’s Japanese properties, with lots of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts items. There were even some Nier: Automata items from the last collaboration, so I picked up a YoRHa 2B steel tumbler. It helped assuage the disappointment of dropping 3,000 yen on a UFO catcher in the arcade and not getting that Emil sensor lap, which presently stands as my white whale. My white moon man skeleton whale.The meal at the Square-Enix Cafe was just under 2,000 yen total (about $20), and I was pretty pleased with it. Not amazing, but a nice experience, and one that would have been better if I made it there in time for the Nier: Automata collaboration or if I actually knew anything about Schoolgirl Strikers. And, since these collaborations rotate, there’s always a chance the cafe will be doing something you like when you get a chance to see it.I don’t understand soccer, soccer anime, or soccer anime games, but the Square-Enix Cafe was still a pretty fun experience. And I got a big steel cup with 2B on it. Check it out if you’re in Tokyo or Osaka. And, if you’re a Final Fantasy XIV fan, check out Cafe Eorzea in either of those cities. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on targetcenter_img Launchpad Blaze Postpones JAXA’s Cargo Ship Launch to ISSJapan’s Hayabusa-2 Probe Packs Up Space Rock Cargo From Asteroid Ryugu last_img read more