If you love yurukyara, or any kind of Japanese characters, you’ll be a regular at cafés like The Guest, in Shinsaibashi, Osaka. The second-floor café hosts character themes for short periods of time, and its current theme is Funassyi.
Funassyi is legendary on the Japanese character scene. This talking, dancing, ever-joyful pear is an unofficial mascot of Funabashi city, in Chiba prefecture. First created in 2011 by a local, it was rejected as the official mascot of the city, but has since gained a massive following all over the country. Usually prefectural characters don’t speak or move around too much, so the rebellious Funassyi made itself very memorable. Even its style of talking is unique, as it adds ‘-nasshi’ (nashi = pear) to many words.
Theme character cafés like Funassyi’s Café are sometimes only open for a limited time, around a month or less, so if you see an advert for one, check the dates. Next, check the opening times and plan to arrive early. Theme cafés are very popular in Japan and people will wait for an hour or more to get in. Depending on the crowd level expected that day, you may have to wait in line or receive a time ticket to come back later. Expect to wait at least half an hour even if you arrive early, as the cafés generally don’t have many seats inside.
While you wait in line, staff will hand you a menu, so you can place your order before you even get into the café. Pictured below is Funassyi’s Café menu, which features some basic English descriptions and pictures. Meals are around 1,500 yen, with some special goods included - a balloon, a bottle, and even a souvenir bowl. Desserts are a little cheaper, and the drinks are slightly higher than average café prices, from 500 to 980 yen.
This line was around ten minutes after the café opened
As you enter the café, there’s a free photo opportunity. Staff will take your photo with the café’s signs or toys with your camera or phone, and you can borrow some themed props for the picture. Once seated, the food and drink arrives pretty quickly. If you ordered a meal with souvenir goods, they’ll be waiting, boxed up, at your seat. A decorative placemat and coaster are also used, and the staff will anticipate you want to take photos of everything before they set the plates down. And then take even more pictures of your food, as theme cafés love to make your character come alive on the plate!
The menu features unique main meals, desserts and drinks featuring the character
Cute theme balloons, coasters and placemats are part of the fun
While you eat, be sure to soak up the fun theme atmosphere. The café was showing videos of Funassyi and playing his CD, and even just watching other people’s dishes arrive was entertaining. Theme cafés often have a time limit for your table. Funassyi’s was one hour, which was plenty of time to eat and take photos.
The Funassyi food and pear-flavoured drinks were tasty
After eating and paying, we were able to draw a lottery number and won some Funassyi stickers. Next stop was the goods store on the same floor as the café. Many of the goods were limited or Osaka-only editions. The store also featured a small range of previous theme goods. You can browse and buy in the store without having to go to the café.
Inside the café, soaking up the atmosphere
Make sure to look out for theme cafés like Funassyi’s when you visit Japan, as they’re always fun!
Goods were also displayed outside the shop
This cute souvenir bowl was available in both the café and goods store
Funassyi Café in Osaka ends on July 25, 2016. The Guest Cafe runs theme cafés in both Shibuya, Tokyo and Shinsaibashi, Osaka. Check their main page, or the twitter pages, to see what themes are currently running.
The Guest Café official website: www.the-guest.com
The Guest Osaka twitter: @theguestosaka
The Guest Tokyo twitter: @THEGUESTcafe