Akihabara; world-famous home to everything otaku! Cosplay, electronics, comic-books, videogames, maid cafés, pop idol pubs, trading card stores; Akihabara- or Akiba to the locals- is where it’s at.
For years, swarms of young men with poor social skills (and cool folks like you and me, too…) have been heading into Akihabara to buy figure models of girls in bikinis with disproportionately large breasts, locate hardware for their new gaming PC, or spend an hour in the company of cute girls dressed as maids who giggle as they put “love spells” on guests’ food before sending them home more frustrated than ever.
As reported by Hamster Sokuhou earlier today, a fun new establishment has recently thrown its doors open to Akihabara’s masses, inviting them to come and cook with their cast of female chefs, each ready to guide the hands of young men who, until now, were perhaps too shy to touch a woman’s measuring jugs for real.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Prepare yourselves for the next level in awkward interaction with females in exchange for cash!
“We’re not the greatest teachers in the world, but we put our heart and soul into cooking. Let’s spend time together cooking and having fun!” welcomes Kitchen a la Mode’s manga-themed website.
The system is simple- make a reservation, turn up a few minutes before (no ingredients or utensils required!), cook your chosen meal with one of the young female members of staff, eat, then go home. Sounds fun, right?
Oh, but it’ll cost you $100 US. $120 on weekends…
While the asking price may seem a little steep to you and me, for many young men in particular, it’s not that bad a deal, and not drastically different to spending a few hours in a swanky maid cafe where food and drinks are at a premium, and often not all that well made.
At least Kitchen a la Mode’s DIY menu looks pretty good…
▼Left: Dry Curry course Right: Pon-su mayo chicken
▼Left: Classic omu-raisu Right: Japanese-style meat and potatoes
▼The desserts don’t look bad, either!
And, don’t forget, the entire time you’re cooking, you get to spend time making flirty conversation with your very own cute cooking instructor! That’s the real reason you came; am I right!? <nudge, nudge>
Well, about that…
OK, how to put this without coming across as a horrible, objectifying chauvinist and lose my job in the bargain…
After taking a quick glance at the “cast” section of the unique new business’ website, it might not be unreasonable to suggest that, maybe, in the eyes of some people, perhaps the girls you’d be cooking with aren’t all that… you know… You know what? Let’s just let Japan’s Twitter users take it from here for a moment, shall we?
“Um… can I switch, please?”
“These cute girls you speak of… Where are they exactly? ”
“Wohoo!!! Cooking and cute girls!! Cooking and cute girls! Cooking and c– wait…”
“Sorry… did someone say ‘cute’?”
Oh, you horrible, sexist internet brutes! What a terrible thing to say!
But thank you for saying it so I didn’t have to…
While no-one would go so far as to suggest that any of these young women are physically unattractive, it’s clear that the average netizen expects slightly cuter cooking companions for their money… (But, for the record, I think Nao-chan on the bottom right is actually quite pretty.)
Out of fairness to the girls, none of them are exactly goblins- they’re just regular, everyday girls- and Kitchen a la Mode at no point claims to offer “cute girls” to cook with. But to set up shop in Akihabara, surrounded by maid cafes with girls ranging from cute to jaw-droppingly pretty, and to openly admit on the company website that the staff are not exactly cooking pros, can Kitchen a la Mode really hope to survive on young men’s burning desire to prepare a decent omelette? Call me a pessimist, but I’m betting that very few young men visit maid cafés for the food alone…
It’s not just the staff that Akihabara’s internet users aren’t blown away by, though…
“So let me get this straight; I turn up, prepare, cook and eat my own food, then I pay for the privilage?” sneered one Twitter user. “I can’t see this catching on, somehow…” added another.
At $60 for a 45 minute dessert cooking class, or $124 to cook one meal with two side dishes, Kitchen a la Mode might have a tough time attracting business. Surely an hour at a maid cafe, followed by a quick visit to grandma’s house to learn how to make a decent apple pie would be both cheaper and altogether more fun? If Kitchen a la Mode can make a profit from average-looking girls teaching half-arsed cooking to undiscerning young men, then I’m going to start pole-dancing on weekends.
Anyway, if anyone needs me I’ll be in the back office making a start on my apology letters…