I had a blast attending the AFA cafe last year which was why I decided to go again for this year as well. But to be honest, the blast really didn't happen due to the Atelier Royale butlers but because of the company I was with then, Alanna of Macaron Hearts and Cherly. The cafe itself with the local homegrown butlers trying to emulate the real ones from Japan was ooooookay but as long as one don't take the whole affair seriously, it's actually weirdly enjoyable.
This year, Alanna and I, joined by Ivory and Feli this time round, attended Atelier Royale again. And Atelier Royale's 2011 theme was Alice in Wonderland so naturally this meant we had to be in loli when attending.
Service by the butlers was a lot better than for the previous year. More attentive than before and I got called 'Ojou-sama' clearly instead of the one who barely mumbled it for the 2010 cafe visit. Like, damnit, if I'm paying for a butler cafe experience, I jolly well expect to get the basic requirements, not least of which is to be articulately called 'Ojou-sama' by my assigned butler. And as said, I did notice an improvement in the service area as the butler assigned to us actually volunteered to stir my tea and sugar, lol. But unfortunately, he gets some points deducted for neglecting to wipe some spilt tea drops after stirring and I surreptiously cleaned the table myself with a napkin.
But improved service aside, the best bits of being at Atelier Royale this year was when we spotted Kalafina, who was holding a mini concert at AFA this year, there inside the cafe! The butlers were all over them, lol. But I would be too. Plus I think Kalafina was in Atelier Pierrot outfits as well!
A paparazzi shot of Kalafina by Ivory
And the second highlight of being at Atelier Royale was when Kaname came in! For those not familiar with the cosplaying community, Kaname is a popular and sought-after professional cosplayer from Japan. Something like a regional celebrity in the cosplaying context. While no longer an active cosplayer myself, I can still appreciate the pains and dedication someone like Kaname puts into his own cosplays. And it helps that he is very good-looking with abs of steel, hur. And how do I know he has abs of steel? Because I had given him a hug, lol. What happened was his Singaporean minder was a mutual friend and when she saw us sitting at the cafe and waving to her, she dragged Kaname over to introduce him to us!
And as Kaname was cosplaying Sanji from One Piece, he was quite in-character and apparently, in the manga (I don't read One Piece!) Sanji is something of a skirt-chaser. So when Sanji came up, leering cutely at the bunch of lolitas, I looked at him and he looked at me and, 'Er, you want a hug?' popped out of my mouth, lol! Honestly, I was expecting a handshake and a bow really! But Sanji okayed me and so...we hugged! It was very funny really and I was laughing my head off when we were hugging. And at my age, I think it's pretty safe to hug younger men without surrounding fans (the Atelier Royale butlers were all over Kaname, I kid you not) mentally dissecting me to pieces =p
Afterwhich, we all had the requisite group photo but of course!
Pretty much my favourite photo of the day.
I'm wearing Atelier Pierrot's Tsubaki Toori OP in honor of Kalafina, haha. I originally was wearing a black corset with the OP but it didn't feel or look right so I borrowed a black bolero from Ivory in the end to wear over it.
I'm not very happy with my outfit, it's a beautiful OP and I could have coordinated it so much better, definitely. Oh well! But out of nowhere bonuses like Kalafina spotting and an unexpected Kaname hug and having these experiences together with good friends was lovely!