There are many maid cafes spread out between the hidden alleyways and main street of Akihabara Station’s Electric Town, but very few of them offer an experience such as the Tsunku co-owned Backstage Pass…
In fact I would go as far as to say, that Backstage Pass is less maid cafe, and more, let’s say, caberet club. The reason for this is that while food is ready and available, and equally as bad as a regular cafe, the main focus of everyone is the stage.
On the start of each hour, a show is put on for the customer on a large and well lit stage. The girls working at Backstage Pass will perform through dance, singing and in some cases MC events in order to stand out from the crowd, and this is where the real selling point is…
You are the producer!
Every customer who enters Backstage Pass becomes a producer. On your first visit you will receieve a Producer/Reward card. For the 90 – 120 minutes you can stay there, the girls begin trying to catch your attention both on and off the stage. The reason is that at the end of your first visit you receive a producer card (aka reward points card), and with this reward card you will receieve 2 sets of points.
The first point set is based on how much you spend. These points accumulate, and based on your total points, you can earn a higher rank of producer. The other point set is used to promote your favourite girl(s) from Backstage Pass up on the Backstage Pass official rankings board! This can be done by logging onto the official website with the log-in and password they give you along with your producer card on your first visit. The higher the rank of producer card that you have, the more your points multiply when voting them towards your favourite cast members!
A winner is declared each month and based on the month at hand, there may even be special rewards for those who rank best. For example, Backstage Pass has released one single (with possibly the best B side ever), and the top 10 or so had the opportunity to be featured on the cover of the CD/DVD edition of the release.
The stage shows themselves are of the most interest to 95% of the crowd. Like being at a concert, the fans chant, bring light sticks and go crazy when they hear their favourite songs. The songs themselves are pretty varied, you’ll hear a nice eclectic mix of AKS and Hello Project. A nice way to introduce idols to those such as myself, who never really looked into HP before. Now I’m slowly getting into C-ute’s back catalog.
The girls come in all shapes and sizes. Lots of differently personalities roaming the floor, willing to chat to customers and generally have a laugh with them. For my own experiences it can seem pretty varied in terms of how they approach foreigners, some are too intimidated to speak, some are happy to chat in their somewhat limited, but always kind-hearted, English, and some speak perfect English!
Let me guide you through some of my favourites.
Kaori speaks fluent English and is one of the most popular girls in the whole establishment. I’m always happy to talk to her, and if you manage to catch her on the stage, you are very lucky, because she was voted best singer in Backstage Pass by the customer base. You should talk to her! Twitter – Ameblog
Ami can maybe speak 10 words of English, but her fantastic energy and bright smile will win you over instantly! I have only caught her on stage maybe once or twice, but she didn’t disappoint. If you get the opportunity, talk to her! Ameblog
I enjoy talking to Cullen, even though she doesn’t speak English (and my Japanese is pretty bad). She is one of the more “gentler” members of Backstage Pass. She always offers me a glass of water when I am waiting for the cheque. No one else does that! Great performer, TALK TO HER! Twitter – Ameblog
Of course these are only three of the full cast of 100+ girls who work there. Spend time talking to everyone when you arrive, even if you don’t speak Japanese, just go crazy with what you got. I promise you won’t regret visiting!
Have you been to BP? How was your experience? Tell us about it in the comments section!
*photos taken from Backstage Pass official site: http://backst.jp/