Onigiri are the perfect Japanese snack food. Portable and (generally speaking) healthy, they consist of a small ball or triangle of rice containing one of a huge variety of fillings, wrapped in seaweed or coated with some kind of seasoning. While most of the onigiri you can buy at convenience stores here in Japan are probably filled and shaped by machine, it’s traditional to roll ’em yourselves by making a squeezing motion with your hands. And now you can combine your love of onigiri with your love of cute idol girls by heading down to “Galmusu”, a new cafe where, for a small fee, a cutie will squeeze your rice balls for you right in front of your eyes!

We sent one of our Japanese reporters to investigate this new form of edible performance art!

Oh, but before you read on, we should probably mention one thing: our reporter usually can’t stand anyone handling his food

Our intrepid reporter decided to take up the idol rice ball squeezing challenge by heading down to Galmusu, which opened in Akihabara on April 21. The shop’s name is a play on “girl” (or “gal”, if you will) and “musubi” (another name for rice ball) and also potentially a pun on “musume” which means “young girl” (think Morning Musume). The cafe is staffed by idols and would-be models, actresses, and other talento who work as waitresses and generally bring in customers with their wit, charm and vivacity (and excellent rice ball squeezing skills!).

Despite having a lifelong fear of eating anything that someone has potentially contaminated with their cootie-ridden hands (and that makes rice balls enemy number one), our reporter decided to be brave and man up for the sake of not looking like a wuss in front of a pretty girl.

Feeling nervous, he entered the cafe and received a brief explanation on the services available. Two rice balls can be ordered for the cost of 800 yen (US$6.60). In comparison, your average conbini rice ball will set you back around 200 yen, ($1.60) but remember that these are special balls, freshly squeezed by beautiful maidens, so there’s a certain degree of markup involved. He was then able to choose which of the girls he’d like to squeeze his rice balls for an extra 200 yen. Altogether, the meal came to 1,000 yen ($8.30).

Like in so many Japanese-style fast food joints, to order at Galmusu you have to first make your selection and pay at a ticket machine. From left to right, the categories are: onigiri (red buttons), miso soup (yellow), and drinks (green). There’s also two more buttons – a blue one for ordering a polaroid of the girl of your choice, and a purple one for a photo of your rice ball-handler complete with her autograph.

▼ The polaroids look like this. Perfect souvenirs of your time at Galmusu!

▼ Cute girls plus rice balls – what’s not to love? (Can’t they open a “Manmusu” cafe, too?)

▼ The atmosphere in the cafe. Did that salaryman bring his little girl? Now that’s a daddy-daughter date idea for you…

Our reporter opted for Riho-chan, a 20-year-old up-and-coming talento who he describes as being “kawaii indeed”. First, Riho asked our man how he’d like his balls stuffed. Upon being offered a choice of plum, seaweed, or fish stuffing, he opted for double fish stuffed balls, since he doesn’t like the other two ingredients. (It’s a wonder he hasn’t starved to death by now from overly picky eating…)

Since the cafe takes hygiene seriously, Riho first covered the rice balls with some plastic wrap before squeezing. In other words, at no point did her bare hands come into contact with the rice. Still, our guy found himself breaking out into a cold sweat at the sight of those pretty hands massaging and squeezing the rice balls he was about to eat. “I don’t even like it when my wife does that,” he explains. Still, he was determined to see things through, since he didn’t want to offend young Riho after all the effort she had put in.

▼ Squeeze, squeeze…

▼ Perfectly shaped and ready to eat!

And how did our reporter feel about his snack? Well…

▼ That’s not the face of a man about to eat a delicious snack prepared with loving care. That is the face of a man who is about to undergo double root canal surgery performed by a demented badger with no license to practice dentistry.

Bravely, he took a bite of his first ball. Since he was in the grip of facing down a deep-seated psychological phobia, he was apparently unable to taste the rice ball at all. What’s more, he only managed a paltry two bites of his fishy rice snack before throwing in the towel early and admitting defeat in front of poor Riho.

▼ “I think I can, I think I can…”

▼ “NOPE.”

▼ Aaah, mottainai.

Of course, samurai spirit dictates that disrespecting a lady’s culinary skills calls for an apology of the most sincere sort, to wit: dogeza!

Dogeza is the lowest form of apologetic bow, and involves getting down on your hands and knees and headbutting the floor in order to prostrate oneself as low as possible before the person they have wronged.

Still, our reporter was, surprisingly, quite pleased with himself for overcoming his food phobia enough to take two whole bites of onigiri, which he also managed to hold down long enough for digestion to occur. Good for you, sir!

While we doubt he’ll ever be showing his face around Galmusu again, our reporter states that the service was top-notch and there was something soothing about having a smiling, up-and-coming idol prepare a snack for you. If you’re interested, you can follow Galmusu on their Twitter account (if for no other reason than that they post adorable twitpics like this one…).


And, of course, if you happen to find yourself in Akihabara and require a tasty snack hand-squeezed with care, be sure to drop in!


Girls Omusubi Cafe
Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda 3-15-7 Dai-ni Marushin Building 7F
Open: Mon-Thurs 17:00 – 22:00, Sat-Sun 11:00 – 22:00
Closed: Fri

All images © RocketNews24

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[ Read in Japanese ]