Jun. 29th, 2012

genki_rocket: (Cookie!)
Continuing on with the themed café...theme, I want to talk about maid cafés.

As is the case with cat cafés, maid cafés aim to be cute. But a different kind of cute. A weird kind of cute.

The premise is that you go to one of these tiny places and cute young girls in French maid outfits serve you and flirt with talk to you. They'll play games with you, sing karaoke for you, bring you coffee or tea or sweets and generally fawn over you while you sit and bask in your own awesomeness. Sometimes, the maids even have "rivalries" with each other and they'll fight over who gets to talk to you/serve you etc.

Maid cafés are a very strange part of Japanese culture.

They seem to be quite common in the larger cities - Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya etc. In Tokyo, the main place to see them is in Akihabara (the 'otaku' section).

Imagine my surprise when I found a sign in Kumamoto City advertising a maid café! On a whim, my friends and I decided to check it out and see what it was all about. It had apparently just opened - hence the shiny sign outside of the building.

Imagine, though, the poor maids' surprise as six (or were there seven?) curious foreigners wandered through the door of their establishment.

They promptly sat us down at a booth and explained the rules to us. It was 1000 yen for forty minutes or something like that. I can't actually remember but it wasn't too much different from the cat café, surprisingly enough. We got a drink, a dessert and a ~*~game~*~with the maids. Sweet deal!

I ordered the pancakes and when they finally came, they looked like this:


Is that not the cutest most special-needs-looking rabbit pancake set you've ever seen?!

As we sat there, I looked around the tiny café and saw that we weren't the only people there. At the bar, there were three older gentlemen sitting their chatting up a storm with the maids. Across from us in another booth were a small group of Yankis (more to come on Yanki culture later). They were barefoot and smoking.

Overhead, the TV screens hanging from the ceiling played ridiculously 'kawaii' music videos and popular anime songs that I only half-recognized. At one point, a girl came over to the Yankis' table and started dancing a Para Para dance with them. It was very strange.

Eventually it was time for our ~*~game~*~ with the maids. The poor girl who was sent to deal with us had clearly drawn the short straw. She tried to explain some game but we didn't really know what she was saying. So instead, she resorted to an easy game of rock-paper-scissors with each of us.

Instead of the normal "Sai shou wa gu..." that the Japanese usually start out with, she taught us a different version. "Sai shou wa NYAN!" she said in an incredibly high-pitched voice as she raised her hands above her head to mimic cat ears. "Janken PON!" We all ended up losing to the maid in this high-stakes, cute-ified version of rock-paper-scissors.

And with that, our ~*~game~*~ ended.

Shortly after, we saw an older man taking pictures of one of the maids in front of the entrance. He had an incredibly nice camera and was contorting himself every way possible in order to get the best shots he could. Upon seeing this, we decided that it was time to leave the strange land that we had visited.

Before we left, I asked one of the maids if I could take a picture with her. She smiled cutely and cooed "Yes of course...it'll be 500 yennnnn". I didn't end up taking a picture with her after all. Because pfffft.

All in all, I'm glad I went to experience a maid café...but it was strange. I can imagine that lonely, pervy men spend exorbitant amounts of money there and in turn feel better about themselves. Good for them, but it's not my style at all. I do give massive props to the girls working there, though. I'm sure they have to put up with more than their fare share of weirdos.

Oh, and by the way the pancakes tasted like cardboard.


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Genki Rocket

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