30 Minutes in Atelier Royale Butler Cafe

Yesterday I went to the last day of AFA (Anime Festival Asia) at Expo, Singapore. One of the most exciting experiences I had was when I visited the infamous Atelier Royale butler café. I had heard of this café before from my friend but it was my first time going there and I was so excited! Basically we will be served by butlers and treated like a princess. Photography and physical contact with the butlers are not allowed, but we can talk with them. Each customer (or group of customers) is expected to stay at the café for only 30 minutes (not sure how long I spent there, though).
As expected, the queue was long even though it was still quite early (around 11). I had to wait for about 20 minutes before being served. I ordered a yuzu cheesecake that costed me $19 (it came with Nescafe) and later bought a pumpkin bread that I initially wasn’t interested in (just because Shou ‘persuadedme)! I spent $5 more to take a picture with one of the butlers (can only choose one) but it’s all worth it!
So when I first came in, I placed my order and paid at the cashier. The ‘manager’ then called a butler who was not serving any customer at that time, who turned out to be Haru, the head butler. He’s my friend’s favorite, not mine… Haha. But I must admit he looked really charming from close! Ahhh… He then bowed and greeted me, though I’m not sure what he said at that moment because I was feeling excited and nervous at the same time. He escorted me to an empty table and pulled the chair for me (ASDFGHJKL!). I couldn’t stop smiling like an idiot, I swear! He then introduced himself, “Hello. My name is Haru and I’m the head butler. I will be serving you today.” He confirmed my order one more time before politely excusing himself.
Moments later, Haru came back with a tray. He then placed the coffee on the table and asked me if he could stir it for me while kneeling (again, ASDFGHJKL!). Of course I let him do so and was too embarrassed to look at his face while he stirred my drink like a professional butler that he is. I kept my eyes glued at the coffee and watched as the floating coffee powder slowly dissolved. I then said thank you to Haru and he smiled at me… Oh my God, his smile was so cute and heartwarming! He then left again and came back with the cake. This time, he asked me if I want dressing sauce or icing. I told him that I wanted chocolate sauce, but he brought both. This is the rest of my conversation with him and the other butlers.

[E: Me, H: Haru]
H         :   What do you want me to write on the cake? *still kneeling next to me*
E          :   You mean you want to write something? (I was a little bit slow at this point… LOL)
H         :   *smiles sweetly* Yes
E          :   Ummm… Then just write my name?
H         :   What’s your name? *holding the chocolate sauce tube*
E          :   E… (I was going to spell it for him)
H         :   “E”? Only one letter?
E          :   N-no! *blushes* It’s E-V-E-L-Y-N.
H         :   Oh, Evelyn? *keeps on writing my name neatly on the side of the plate*
E          :   Yes… *keeps staring at the plate* (It became silent so I tried to initiate a conversation) Is  the head butler always the same person or does it change from one event to another?
H         :   *a little bit surprised at my question and thought carefully before answering* Umm, I was the head butler for the past two events but for the previous event, it was another butler. (I’m not sure what it means or if I heard it right, but I let it go)
E          :   I see… Umm, can I take a picture of you? (I know it’s prohibited but I couldn’t help asking!!!)
H         :   Eh? *looks at me and smiles guiltily* Yes, but not with your camera… You can take one with ours later. You can take picture of the cake, though.
E          :   Oh okay…

(After finished writing my name, Haru thought for a while since there was some space left. He took quite some time but I patiently waited for him and wondered what he would come up with. He then drew a cat, much to my surprise! Probably because I was wearing cat ears hair band at that time. Haha. I was so happy, because cat is my favorite animal.)

E          :   Awww so cute! Thank you! *squeals happily*
H         :   *smiles* I hope you enjoy the cake! *leaves*

(I was a little bit disappointed when he left but tried to enjoy my cake anyway. It was so cute that I didn’t even want to touch it, so I took a picture of it before eating. It tasted really good! As I was eating, I looked around the café and exchanged glances with some other butlers who smiled oh-so-charmingly at me. I was trying hard not to squeal and smiled back despite feeling really embarrassed. A blonde-haired butler who was not doing anything then saw me and smiled. I felt my heart stop beating for a second as he made his way to my table. ASDFGHJKL! I spent most of my time at the café talking to him. Haha.)

[E: Me, S: Shou]
S          :   Hi! *smiles brightly* (Shou is so handsome and his smile is really bright and cheerful)
E          :   Hi *smiles back despite the loud thumping inside my chest… LOL*
S          : *sits on the empty chair across from me* Do you like the cake?
E          :   Yeah sure! It tastes good… *smiles* But the drawing is so cute, I don’t want to eat it!
S          :   Evelyn… *reads my name* Who made this? Ah, wait! It must be Haru, right?
E          :   *surprised* How do you know?
S          :   Because of the cat… I recognize that drawing… Haha… Haru and I like cats.
E          :   Really? *smiles* Do you like sweets?
S          :   Me? Yeah, I like sweet things… I don’t like bitter and sour things…
E          :   Haha… I see…
S          :   Why are you alone? (He must think that I’m pathetic since other customers came with their friends)
E          :   Actually I come here with my friend… But he’s a boy, so you know… He didn’t want to come in, so I come here alone. Haha.
S          :   Oh, I see… But you’re going to meet him later, right?
E          :   Yup.
S          :   That’s good *smiles* Because you know, it’s kind of lonely to walk around alone… (He’s so caring… Ahhhh)
E          :   Haha… Yeah, that’s true. By the way, where are you from?
S          :   I’m a Singaporean. Can’t you tell? Haha!
E          :   Well you do look like one but I just want to make sure… Haha! (Actually I can’t really tell because he kinda looks like a Japanese, but his English is fluent so I was not sure at first)
S          :   Do you like it here? (He always tries to keep the conversation going)
E          : Yeah I like this place a lot! I came here to see you guys… (Which is true, since the butler café is one of the things I really looked forward to at AFA)
S          :   Oh! *a little bit surprised* You’re not from here?
E          :   No I’m not. I’m from Indonesia, but I’m studying here. Hehe ^^
S          :   Ah, I see… Where are you studying?
E          :   MDIS. Do you know it?
S          :   MDIS? *confused* Is it a poly or…?
E          :   No, it’s a private school.
S          :   Ah… *nods* What are you majoring in?
E          :   Mass Communication.
S          :   I see…
E          :   What about you? Are you also a student?
S          :   Yeah, I’m a student. I’m studying Digital Media in N****** Polytechnic. But I’m currently working for the internship.
E          :   Ah, I see… So how’s the internship? Is it fun?
S          :   *pouts a little while thinking* No, not really.
E          :   No? *laugh* Why? (I was surprised at his answer, but he was sooo cute while saying that!)
S          :   Well, ugh, actually it’s fun… But the company that I’m working for is a big and a quite famous company, so they have a high standard and we have to work really hard. (I can tell that he’s a hard-working person)
E          :   Ah, I see… Do you like working as a butler?
S          :   Yeah, I like it! It’s really fun!
E          :   *smiles* So is this your first time? Are you new here or…?
S          :   No, no! I’m not a new butler, I’m old… Oops! *covers his mouth oh-so-cutely*
E          :   *laugh at Shou’s irresistible cuteness*
S          :   No, I mean, I’m not old… I’m a senior butler… Arghhh… *tries hard to explain*
E          :   *laugh again* What kind of customer do you prefer?
S          :   I prefer… all kind of customers! *laugh* But I like the one who can talk… You know, because I’m also…
E          :   Talkative?
S          :   Yeah… I like to talk with people… So, you know, if the customer is very quite then it will be a little bit awkward…
E          :   Haha… I see! (I smile silently, knowing that he’s enjoying our conversation and glad that I’m not so quite)
S          :   By the way, would you like to try our new breads?
E          :   What bread?
S          :   We have two kinds of bread… Wait for a minute, I’ll show you. *He left and then came back with two breads, one was green and the other one was orange* This is pumpkin bread and this is …… (I forget what the other one is). Which one do you want to try?
E          :   Ummm, which one do you recommend?
S          :   I recommend the pumpkin bread, because many girls prefer this one.
E          :   Ummm, okay… I’ll take the pumpkin one then! (I actually didn’t want to buy the bread since I’m not sure of the taste but bought it anyway because of Shou. Haha.)
S          :   *smiles* Okay, here you go! *hands me the bread* It’s 3 dollars.
E          :   *hands him the money*
S          :   Thank you! *Shou then went to the cashier to get me the change and came back a minute later* Did you also come here yesterday?
E          :   No, I didn’t… *pout*
S          :   Awww, that’s a pity! LiSA was performing yesterday.
E          :   Yeah I know! Ahhhh… I wanted to see her so badly because I’m a fan of LiSA, but I had other things to do yesterday so I couldn’t come *pouts again*
S          :   I also like LiSA!
E          :   Eh, really? *excited*
S          :   Yeah! I like her songs for Angel Beats! Especially the one called ‘Ichi… Ichiban…’ (He couldn’t remember the title)
E          :   ‘Ichiban no Takaramono’!
S          :   Yeah, that one! *smiles*
E          :   Awww I also like that song! *smiles back at him*

(Somewhere in the middle of our conversation, the manager who cosplayed as a man came and whispered something in Shou’s ears. She then turned at me and smiled, and then squatted next to my chair.)

[M: Manager]
M        :   Why are you sitting there? *points at Shou who’s sitting across from me* You should kneel down here! (I can’t help but smile as the manager ‘scolded’ Shou… Haha)
S          :   *turns to look at me* Do you prefer me sitting here or down there?
E          :   No, no… I prefer you sitting there… *uses my hands to tell Shou to just stay on his seat*
S          :   See? *smiles triumphantly in the direction of the manager* (I couldn’t help but laughing again)

(Someone behind my back called Shou and Shou nodded in his direction. He then smiled apologetically at me, signing that he had to go. I nodded in understanding and let him go. After that, a cute short-haired boy approached me and replaced Shou. He knelt next to my chair and I felt so flattered every time one of the butlers did that.)

[E: Me, M: Miki]
M        :   Hello *smiles shyly* Do you enjoy the cake?
E          :   Yes *smiles back at him* What’s your name?
M        :   I’m Miki *points at his picture on the wall of the café*
E          :   I think your smile in that picture is so cute!
M        :   Really? Haha… *laughs awkwardly* You think so? (I guess he doesn’t like being called ‘cute’. LOL. But his voice is soft compared to the others and he’s really, really cute!)
E          :   Yeah I think so… Where are you from?
M        :   I’m a Singaporean.
E          :   I see… By the way, how did you guys come up with the Japanese name?
M        :   Umm, our boss decided for us… Actually some names are quite close to their original names… As for mine, my boss just wanted something cute so she chose ‘Miki’ *laughs again*
E          :   Ahh, I see… But I think it suits you!
M        :   Really? I don’t think it suits me… Haha… Because you know, I’m a member of the dance club… (I’m not sure if he’s referring to their ‘high school’ concept or if he’s really a member of dance club in school)
E          :   Wow, that’s cool! Are you a student?
M        :   Yeah, I am. I’m studying Digital Media at N****** Polytechnic.
E          :   Oh, same with Shou?
M        :   Shou? *a bit unsure* Oh, yeah… Same with him. (I don’t know why but he spoke really softly and stuttered a little at times. Haha)
E          :   Whoa… So are you guys classmates or something?
M        :   Yes we are… In fact, we are all classmates here! *referring to the concept of the café*
E          :   *laugh* Hahaha… I see!
M        :   *smiles* Actually it’s my first time working as a butler.
E          :   Really? It’s your first time?
M        :   Yeah, so I’m still new here… Haha… *smiles shyly* (No wonder he’s so shy and all! Haha)

(Actually we talked some more and as he pointed at the pictures of the butlers, I commented on Keigo being intimidating with his red hair and all. He had to leave eventually and I finished my cake right after that.)

While I was still drinking my coffee, Keigo approached the two girls who were sitting next to my table and chatted with them. I couldn’t help but noticed how handsome he is. His hair color and facial features somehow reminded me of U-KISS’ Kiseop. I have no words to describe him but being “naturally good-looking”. Our eyes met and he smiled! I think I fell in love immediately with him because of that simple action. Hahaha. He then commented on how I dressed similarly with one of the girls, since we were both wearing Japanese school uniform. We then chit-chatted some more with the two girls before I decided to leave the table and join the queue to take picture with the butlers.
As I queued there, I couldn’t decide which butler I want to take picture with, since we can only choose one butler per picture. I was contemplating between Shou and Keigo because they are my favorites. Shou is really friendly and fun to talk with, while Keigo is really handsome and nice. After pondering for quite some time, I finally decided to take picture with Keigo. When it was my turn, he was still busy serving the other customers so I had to wait a little more. When he was done with them, he came to take picture with me and smiled what seems like the most charming smile I’ve ever seen the whole day! I didn’t know how to pose but then Keigo pointed at his character on the board and suggested a pose. I agreed, so we both pointed at the character while facing the camera. SNAP! We took the picture twice because I wasn’t satisfied with the first one (I think I look bad in that picture. Haha.) After that, he bowed and said thank you to me because he knew that I was leaving soon. “See you next year!” he said. Yes, Keigo. I will definitely come to see you again next year!
So that wraps up my exciting visit to Atelier Royale butler café. Even though it was short, I really enjoyed my time there. They gave me such an unforgettable experience. All the butlers were professional and they treated me nicely. I was so sad that my time was over and didn’t really want to leave, but I knew that I had to. I really hope I don’t have to wait until next year to see them again… The saddest part is that I won’t be able to see Shou again at the next AFA, because he told me he will join the army. Anyway, I’m glad I came and I promise myself to definitely come again next year!!!     

Haru--the head butler

Handsome Keigo

Cute Miki

Cool Shou

I love the cat~ Arigatou Haru 

Shou's recommended pumpkin bread!


So finally, after what seemed like endless struggles, I have successfully made my way into MDIS (Management Development Institute of Singapore) majoring in Mass Communication. I passed IELTS with a score that I’d never dared to expect, but God is truly amazing. He let me pass it with what I can proudly refer to as ‘great accomplishment’. Without taking any course before. Just wow.
Attending a university in Singapore has always been my dream since I was still in junior high school. And now it’s finally coming true. I’m leaving to Singapore tomorrow (well, if the weather is conducive enough for my flight). I don’t know what to feel, seriously. So many emotions flood my senses—excitement, happiness, anxiety, insecurity. Gosh… The biggest question I’ve been asking myself these past few days revolve around: Will I be able to survive there? Will I be able to meet the seemingly high standard of school? Will I be able to live alone, like, completely alone? Will I be able to adapt to the new environment?
However, one thing that keeps me composed is the fact that God will always be there for me. No matter where I go, no matter how far I travel from my hometown, He will always be beside me, hold my hand and strengthen me. I keep telling myself that there is nothing I should worry about, as long as I rely on Him.
Two days ago, I went to my granduncle’s office to thank him for paying most of my tuition fee. Surprisingly enough, he asked me one question that caught me totally off guard. “Why don’t you consider going to the US instead?” To be honest, I have never considered that option before. For me, Singapore is good enough to pursue my higher studies. But my granduncle, my aunt and even my mom seem to encourage me to go to the US, thinking that universities there are way better than those in Singapore. I must admit that is a really tempting offer. However, I need to think about it seriously before deciding anything.
Well, I guess my journey is yet to begin…  

Officially Not A High School Girl Anymore!

I first started this blog when I was in the first grade of high school. Three years have passed by quickly, and after the finals, prom, graduation and all, now I’m officially not a high school student anymore! Whoa… Sometimes it’s still hard to believe it.
I must admit that I’m kind of sad to say goodbye to my ‘youth’ and start a new chapter in my book of life as an ‘adult’. It’s hard to describe the mixed emotions in my heart now. I’ve always known that this day would come sooner or later, but when it finally came, I feel overwhelmed… Looking back at the past three years of my life, I’m positive than I’m going to miss everything and everyone. Many events took past during my unforgettable high school years… the heart-warming ones as well as the heart-breaking ones. It would be too much to talk about them all!
But first of all, I’m very thankful to my awesome Jesus Christ for the amazing and unexpected result of my finals! Finally, those days of hard work, sweat and tears are finally paid… I got the highest scores. Yes, I really did. What makes me feel proud is because I did it on my own, when 13 out of 15 students in my class (except my best friend & me) cheated. Hallelujah! I’ve proven that when we rely 100% on God, He will never, ever let us down.
I was also given the honor to deliver the valedictorian speech, which was a very nerve-racking experience for me, despite the fact that I also did it in elementary and junior high school. I was glad to be able to share my experiences during my precious 13 years growing up in Tunas Daud. I’ll never forget the school that has been a very important of my life, the school where I got to know Jesus for the first time, the school where most of my first-time experiences took place.
My high school life definitely didn’t end happily and dramatically like what I’d read on manga. It was somewhat disappointing, especially the last year. It was also painful to remember. How the teachers who I initially respected turned out to be ‘not that amazing’… How I saw my friends gave up their integrity for false achievement… However, those disappointments aren’t going to change the way I feel about my school since kindergarten, at least not completely.
So, it’s finally time to say goodbye to the people who mean a lot in my life…
For my best friend & sister (who moved away in the second year but remains the best in my heart), thank you for staying by my side and always supporting me! Even though we are far apart, you always let me know that you’ll be there for me anytime I need you, and that’s a relief. I sincerely wish you won’t forget or even discard the special bond that we shared, even since we’re babies!
For my other bestie, thanks for being so crazy and turning me into a crazy girl as well! LOL. Thanks for all the fun, all the silly jokes, all the embarrassing experiences we shared together… Thanks for strengthen me when I fell down… Thanks for teaching me a lot of things about life. And more importantly, thanks for standing firm together with me, even when the whole world opposed.   
For my 3-year crush since junior high who used to be my best male friend, thanks for introducing a new world to me that I didn’t know before, and also for teaching me how to cope with heartbreak!
For the rest of my wonderfully crazy and unbelievably silly classmates, thanks for all the great time and the smile that you put on my face! I love you guys, I really do. Even though I might not be that close with some of you, everyone is special and precious to me.
For my teachers, thank you for all the things you taught me! Thank you for always believing in me. Thank you for all the encouragements. Thank you for the great time!
My high school life is not perfect, but it’s still beautiful nonetheless. After this, I still have to face IELTS before finally breathing in relief… But I will do it with full optimism, since studying abroad has been my dream for years, and I won’t give up that easily! And I know that wherever I go, God will always be with me. So, there’s nothing to worry about, right? ;)

Hallyu Wave, Not Just An Ordinary Wave

‘Hallyu Wave’ may sound familiar to some people while others are probably wondering what kind of wave that is. No, it is not a kind of tidal wave that can be found daily at the sea. The term ‘Hallyu Wave’ refers to a sweeping phenomenon in which Korean cultural products (such as movies, popular songs, dramas, food and clothing) are enthusiastically hailed by people from countries all over the world. This unprecedented craze for Korean culture has been spreading in an astonishing speed for the last decade.

Hallyu Wave first took place in China and Southeast Asia around late 1990s, when a Korean pop group, H.O.T, released their album in China and became a hit. They are later credited as forerunners of the ‘idol group’ trend in South Korea. Short after, a Korean drama ‘Winter Sonata’ was broadcasted in 2002 and soon gained massive popularity throughout Asia as well as Europe and North America. The drama has been broadcasted in 13 different terrestrial and cable stations in Japan alone and viewed by over two-thirds of the nation’s television households.

One of the most important aspects of Hallyu Wave is music, which is widely known as ‘K-Pop’ (an abbreviation of Korean pop). ‘K-Pop’ is a musical genre consisting of pop, dance, electropop, hip hop, rock, R&B and electronic music. In the recent years, K-Pop has started to take domination over music industry, especially in Asia. In 2008, a famed Korean male group TVXQ made it in the Guinness World Record for having the world’s largest official fan club. They have more than 800,000 official members just in South Korea, more than 200,000 official members in Japan and more than 200,000 international fans. ‘Best Selection 2010’, which consists of their best-selling songs, was sold for more than 1.000.000 copies and got first place for world’s album selling, leaving popular names such as Black Eyed Peas, Justin Bieber and even Michael Jackson behind.

Other groups who also have important roles in spreading Hallyu Wave are Super Junior, KARA, SNSD and Wonder Girls. The last two female groups have even made their debut in the USA by releasing English version of their hit song and making appearances on major television network talk shows, slowly enlarging the number of their fan club there. On the male’s side, the ‘leader’ of Hallyu Wave, Super Junior, shows their superiority by constantly holds their annual concert which takes place in countries around the world titled ‘Super Show’. The enormous concert always succeeds to attract thousands audiences and scored amazing ticket-selling record for the last four years.

This phenomenon of Korean-addiction, however, also has implications on many aspects. K-Pop, for example, has grown into a popular subculture among teenagers and young adults around the world, resulting in widespread interest in the fashion and style of Korean idol groups and singers. The recognition of Korean boy and girl groups also brought a quite drastic change in music style in some countries, including Indonesia. It starts over the trend of idol groups that used to be popular around 10 years ago here in our country. Newly emerging Indonesian idol groups such as SM*SH and Cherry Belle also admitted that they are inspired by K-Pop idols.

Not only music, the Korean wave also reflects to the spread of other aspects of Korean culture, including food, clothing, video games, and the language. International fans who like listening to K-Pop songs or watching Korean dramas tend to get interested in learning Korean language as well. They also find Korean people’s lifestyle fascinating and slowly begin to imitate the subcultures, from the way they dress up to practicing ‘aegyo’, a cute action often done by Korean.

Just like the concept of Yin Yang, Hallyu Wave is not always accepted by people. Anti-Korean sentiments are also taking places all over the world in response of the swift spread of Korean culture. In Japan, for example, more than 2000 people are reported to hold a demonstration in front of Fuji TV broadcast station, asking them to stop airing Korean programs. They even sang their national song and brought Japan flag to show their strong nationalism for their country and rejected Hallyu Wave which they thought have weighed down Japanese culture.

Hallyu Wave has brought both positive and negative impact to world’s people. On one hand, it introduces something new and fresh for us to enjoy. On the other hand, people are often become too obsessed with it that they no longer care about their original culture. It is absolutely okay to be fond of other culture, but our keenness shouldn’t make us overlook our identity of who we are.