Ever since first time I heard about Japanese maid cafes, I wanted to visit one.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It turned out that we decided to Visit “MaiDreamin“.
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.
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…
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.
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:
moe moe kyun!
Apparently “moe moe kyun” is some kind of otaku meme. You remember the moe-concept?
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! ^_-
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. ^^
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”.
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.
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! ^^