Japanese maid cafe with emotionless robot-girls – they need YOU

For those of you who doesn’t know about maid cafes: it’s a sort of cosplay restaurants in Japan that have grown especially popular in areas like Akihabara. Originally these cafes were designed to attract the fantasies of so called “otakus”; Japanese “nerds” (mostly males) who are obsessive fans of video games, manga and anime.

Androidol☆Caffe

Androidol☆Caffe

If you’re curious, you can read about my own maid cafe experience here: Princess for 1 hour in MaiDreamin

Mostly you find these maid cafes in Akihabara, the otaku heaven, but the maid cafe that this post is about is located – surprisingly – in Akasaka, known as a business area. I stayed at a hotel in Akasaka during my last visit in Japan and never heard of this cafe, but I sure will visit it next time in Mars. ^^

This maid cafe is a liiiiittle bit different. Of course there are cute girls in pretty waitress dresses serving you, but… they are no real girls.

They are Andoroidoru (androids idols)!

At least that’s what the theme and story behind the cafe tells. They were brought back in time from year “20-something” where they were created by a boy-genious. This boy however didn’t know how to implement emotions in these girls and that’s where YOU as a customer plays an important role.

Androidol☆Caffe

Androidol☆Caffe

By interacting with the androids, you nurture them with feelings and helps them become “real women”. You do this by talking to them.

If you become a regular patron, you can “load” the girls with different talents and abilities, like singing karaoke for example. You also have the possibility to choose an android with a certain persona that you like, like the cheeky little sister, the otaku and so on.

Androidol☆Caffe

Androidol☆Caffe

Japan never stops to amaze me. According to the owner, his decision to open this cafe in a business area like Akasaka is to spread this type of cafes to the rest of the world by giving foreign business-men an opportunity to visit it (I doubt that regular business-men go visit maid cafes in Akihabara…)

Androidol☆Caffe

Androidol☆Caffe

Well, who know. Maybe it will be a hit or maybe not. I can’t help but wonder how hard it must be for those girls to act “emotionless” and gradually develop feelings in front of a customer.

Japan, Japan, Japan… crazy… I love it.

Visit the cafe’s webpage: Androidol☆Caffe

Androidol☆Caffe

Androidol☆Caffe

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Day 3: Princess for 1 hour in MaiDreamin

Ever since first time I heard about Japanese maid cafes, I wanted to visit one.

Maid cafe

Maid cafe

Maid cafes is a sort of cosplay restaurants that have grown especially popular in areas like Akihabara. Originally these cafes were designed to attract the fantasies of so called “otakus”; Japanese “nerds” (mostly males) who are obsessive fans of video games, manga and anime.

Typical description of a Japanese otaku. ^^

Typical description of a Japanese otaku. ^^

When I visited the manga figure stores, I was mostly accompanied by boys like these. Apparently there's not that many female otaku's who enjoy the beauty of these dolls. I think otakus are charming though! ^^

When I visited the manga figure stores, I was mostly accompanied by boys like these. Apparently there’s not that many female otaku’s who enjoy the beauty of these dolls. I think otakus are charming though! ^^

This is a Korean otaku who recently married his pillowcase (decorated with a character he obviously love very much). ^^ I can't help it, but I adore odd people.

This is a Korean otaku who recently married his pillowcase (decorated with a character he obviously love very much). ^^ I can’t help it, but I adore odd people.

Western otakus. ^^ Yes, the kind of people I usually get surrounded by on the Japaneses events I'm going to now and then. *lol* ^^

Western otakus. ^^ Yes, the kind of people I usually get surrounded by on the Japaneses events I’m going to now and then. *lol* ^^

When you become a costumer of a maid cafe, you will be entitled as master (if you’re a male) or as a mistress (or princess) if you’re a girl.

Today, maid cafes attracts women as well, couples and tourists.

The waitresses at a maid cafe are mostly dressed up as “french maids” in petticoat dressed, stockings and with bows or a frill in their hair. Some maids wear bunny- or cat-ears for extra attraction. The employees are mostly young, pretty and innocent-looking girls that can live up to this “moe-fetish”. In manga and anime, moe often refers to adoration for young or innocent-looking female characters.

You will hear this “moe”-expression later in a chant.

Maid cafe in anime

Maid cafe in anime

All maid cafes are not the same. The costumes may differ, as well as the rituals. Some are more extreme than others. I believe our cafe was pretty normal. ^_-

There are maid cafes in which the maids kneel in front of the master to stir their tea and even offer to feed the master with a spoon for extra charge.

Spoon-feeding anyone?

Spoon-feeding anyone?

I’ve even heard of maid cafes that offer ear cleaning and massage (which truly don’t interest me… Eeewww ^^) and I don’t think it’s that uncommon with maid cafes in which you can pay extra to play cards or similar with a maid. In some ways, I would like to consider maids as a form of modern geishas. They entertain.

The maid menus do not differ a lot from regular cafes, but they tend to decorate the meals and deserts a little extra with cute designs. You will see our own example later.

Cute food.

Cute food.

There are some common rules that you’re expected to follow in almost all maid cafes. Most of them are pretty obvious.

For instance, you’re not allowed to touch the maid in inappropriate ways (of course!!!), you’re not allowed to stalk her or ask her for private information. You are not either allowed to take photos of her or of the interior in the cafe.

Maid cafés may allow you to get photographed with a maid if you pay an extra fee though and these photographs mostly get decorated by the maid, especially for you. You can see my example later in this post. :-)

Well, neither me or Hide had been to a maid cafe before, so we weren’t sure of what to expect.

There’s a lot of maid cafes in Akihabara (there are maids on the streets handing out flyers everywhere), so we just had to pick one.

Not my photo.

Not my photo.

It turned out that we decided to Visit “MaiDreamin“.

We just picked one.

We just picked one.

The cafe was obviously located on the highest floor in a very big building, so we had to enter an elevator. It was small and rusty and I really didn’t know what to expect.

As the elevator had reached top floor and the doors opened, it was like entering a magic world of soft pink light, a warm atmosphere and smiling people.

Not my animation.

Not my animation.

Three cute maids in adorable dresses shined up and came skipping toward us, shouting something I guess must have been “Welcome home Master” and “Welcome home Princess”, since that’s how they usually greet their guests.

One maid became our “main maid” and she lead us to a table in this lovely room with soft lights and colorful and cute interior.

A group of boys where sitting at another table, all wearing silly hats, and I thought “Ha ha ha, such nerds…”

Well, just you wait Iona…

Magical candles that leads you to fantasy land.

Magical candles that leads you to fantasy land.

Our maid knelt down at the table and had a small electronic candle in her hands. She mostly spoke Japanese so I’m happy that Hide joined me and could translate.

She said that it was a magic candle, and when it was lit, we would enter Dreamland.

I don’t remember if she made us count or chant something, but the candle got lit and our visit in this fantasy world began.

She handed us a cute menu with offers and desert. There was hearts, stars, cute bears and cats painted everywhere.

Certain “package-menus” offered us something to eat as well as special offers like gifts, posters of the maids and the opportunity to get photographed with two maids instead of one.

Well, more the merrier I thought and decided that I wanted to be photographed with two maids. You can see the photo below.

Me and Hide ordered ice-cream. I chose a vanilla cat and Hide a chocolate bear. We were allowed to take a picture of these cute and tasty beings and so I did.

Hides chocolate bear and my Vanilla cat.

Hides chocolate bear and my Vanilla cat.

Before eating, our maid wanted us to join her in a little song, or maybe we can call it a “little chant”. I had a little bit of hardship to learn these words, since I can’t speak Japanese, but I did as well as I could.

I think one of the chants was the following words, and it was supposed to make our food become extra tasty:

Oishiku nare
moe moe kyun!

Apparently “moe moe kyun” is some kind of otaku meme. You remember the moe-concept?

Not my animation.

Not my animation.

The ice-creams were delicious!

Now and then, maids approached us for some friendly chats and entertainment, giving us compliments and such. They liked my hair and wondered if it was all mine. Of course it is! ^_-

Suddenly, while eating our ice-creams, our maid came skipping from behind and put a silly hat on Hide’s head. It was the head of a reindeer. I sure got surprised and before I knew it, she put something on my head as well. Hide told me it was a couple of black horns.

How suitable! ^_-

Glowsticks for party mood.

Glowsticks for party mood.

So now I was the one to sit there with a silly head accessory and I felt bad for thinking such thoughts of the boys at the other table.

Another maid told us that they would put up a show for us and asked to buy some glow sticks, which we did.

And another maid gave us a handwritten paper with the lyrics – I guess – for a song. Hide told me that he didn’t understand the concept of it though, that it was just irrelevant words put together. Apparently this was a bit strange for a native Japanese as well.

Well, it was a pretty paper, written by hand and decorated with cute kitties.

Some minutes later, the maids gathered in the pink spotlight and jumped up on a small stage formed as a pink heart. Music started to play and they sang and shouted like professional entertainers. They wanted us to cheer with our sticks and shout with them – and so we did. ^^

Not my animation.

Not my animation.

It was an amazing show and the maids gave their hearts and souls to us. I was so impressed and it was incredible to see. I think I smiled the whole time during our visit at that cafe. And laughed of course. I don’t think anyone can resist doing that.

Later, another maid wanted to sell us souvenirs, but I said no, ’cause I thought I had spent too much money there already. The maid looked really sad and said something with a very disappointing sound. Gosh, they are truly professional actors. Very hard to resist.

We both received a member-card in which Hide got entitled “Master” and I got entitled “Princess”.

Princess Iona

Princess Iona

With this card I was granted a special show next time I visited MaiDreamin. ^^

I believe maid cafes is a perfect place to go to when you feel depressed and alone. Even though it’s only a show, it DO make you feel better. They have such cozy atmosphere and the maids are so sweet.

After we had finished our ice creams and our coffee, we were asked to pick two favorite maids to be photographed with.

Oh, this was so hard, ’cause I liked them all. But I picked two, and we all stepped up on the heart-shaped stage and got photographed together. Our maid decorated the photos and handed them to us before we had to leave.

My and Hide's photos. The maids instructed us to take these "cute" poses. *nyan nyan*

My and Hide’s photos. The maids instructed us to take these “cute” poses. *nyan nyan*

This was truly quite an experience, and I don’t you can fully get how weird everything felt if you haven’t been to a maid cafe yourself. So if you plan to got Japan, you MUST try it! ^^

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Akihabara – the electronic city

Hide had taken the night-bus from Osaka and arrived in Tokyo this morning. We decided to go to Akihabara, also known as Akiba – the electric city!

Akihabara

Akihabara is very colorful and truly a paradise for all otakus who love electronic stuff, manga and anime. The buildings are big and scattered with advertisement. Everywhere is stores filled with electronic knick knack for very beneficial prices.

Akihabara

I will never forget our trip to Akihabara. Definitely one of the most amazing places in Tokyo.

Manga figures

To my delight there were a massively amount of stores with manga figures and I knew for the very beginning that I wanted one.

Manga figures

There were big buildings with several floors totally dedicated manga dolls (we skipped the hentai floor, for Josefins sake ^_-) and at one of these I found the girl who would become my most expensive investment in Japan. She cost me 13 000¥ and I love her very much.

Let me introduce: Alice – Mon wo Hiraku Mono. Isn’t she adorable?

Alice - Mon wo Hiraku Mono

Funny stuff

You find some weird stuff in Akihabara also, of course. But hilarious if you ask me – I love weird stuff. Like these cushions shaped like a girls lower body. Want to rest your head on someones lap?

Need to rest your head on someones lap?

Japaneses also seem to be quite crazy about different kinds of outfits, like these Lolita ones (“Love Dream Costumes”). It would be fun to be the owner of one, but I settled down with some cute cat ears instead. (Now, when am I supposed to wear these… While educating? ^_-) They are anyhow prettier than the poop-hat. (?)

Cat ears or poop hat?

Gaming Halls

Of course there’s also a lot of gaming halls and next time I visit Akihabara, I know that I will spend much much time in any of these.

Silent HillMe and Hide played some Silent Hill (don’t I look awesome with a gun? ^_-) and I also tried out one of the dancing machines.

I have a dance-mat at home, but have never tried one of these big installations before.

Akihabara maidens

Here and there we spotted these notorious “Akihabara maidens”, girls dressed up in cute lolita-outfits who draws people to certain maiden-restaurants or maid-cafes.

I asked several of them if I was allowed to take a picture, but they all turned me down with a friendly smile.

Akihabara maidens(I’ve heard somewhere that the cafes usually charge 500¥ if you want to take a picture with a maid. Maybe that’s why.)

Some of them happened to be caught on film anyway. I hope I’m not going to hell because of this.

Dinner

When night fell over Akihabara, we relaxed at a nice restaurant, sitting outside watching the rain and enjoying the nice temperature.

Akihabara evening

Josefin ordered a pizza that she’s been talking very hearty about ever since and I took a peak at my doll Alice who had been carried around in a box all day. I was so happy that evening – about everything. I will remember this evening with delight forever.


 

Blog posts from this journey:


Greetings from Akihabara

3 July 2009

Today we have visited Akihabara – electric city – in Tokyo, and it was AWESOME! I loved it! So many cool stores with a lot of nicknack, electronic stuff, manga and anime. I played Silent Hill with Hide, and danced on a dancing machine. We saw a lot of Akihabara maidens but no one wanted to be photographed. I bought a manga figure for 13000 Yen. Crazy? But she was SO adorable! I saw her for several months ago (090328) and put a picture on her on my blog. And now I finally found her. She HAD to be mine!

It’s late, but me, Josefine and Hide will drink some sake in our hotel-room. Mata ne!

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