MAID CAFES: HOW CAN I SERVE YOU, MASTER?
September 27, 2016 [category:Japanese Subcultures]
Maid Cafes are so very Japanese.
Certainly you must have heard of them, right? I think now there are even maid cafes in the United States.
I've seen pictures of them; but they're all a pale shadow of the real thing.
You don't need to be in Akihabara to go to a maid café, even though Akiba and maids are somewhat synonymous.
Maid cafes can be found peppered throughout Tokyo and the surrounding area. They're pretty easy to spot, what with their colorful signs and all.
Plus, there's usually a girl outside dressed as a maid, handing out flyers and trying to get prospective customers to come inside.
People actually get addicted to maid cafés in Japan, believe it or not.
There have been news stories about men who have spent millions of yen (tens of thousands of dollars) wooing their prospective maid,
only to find that they've gotten nowhere except in debt.
But keep in mind that the girls who work at maid café aren't out to fleece you (to that crazy extent), those guys are just dumb.
Entering a maid café, the first thing that will happen is that you'll be warmly greeted by the maids of the day,
usually with a "welcome, master!" or something of the like.
In the west, we think of the title "master" as having sexual connotations, but in Japan,
the "master" is the head of the house, so the insinuation is that this is your house and these are your maids, thus you are the "master".
You'll then be taken over to a table and seated, just like at any normal restaurant.
That's what a maid café is, really: a maid-themed restaurant.
They'll bring you over a menu, and then it's up to you to decide what you want to order.
Let me tell you, be prepared for sticker shock when you see the prices. Maid cafes are anything but cheap.
Going by yourself, you'll find it easy to drop 5,000 yen ($50.00) on just a drink and a bite to eat.
Stay longer, and the price goes up.
I had a friend who visited a maid café and really tried to connect (read: hit on) the maids there, only he couldn't really speak any Japanese.
They avoided him like the plague, and he ended up spending well over 10,000 yen ($100.00).
Contrast that to me sitting a table over, where I could speak a little Japanese, and they were pleasant as pleasant could be.
A little Japanese can go a long way.
The maids also offer little games, like rock, paper, scissors, that you can play with them and win little trinkets.
Of course the games cost a small monetary fee. Usually each maid has a catchphrase that goes with her maid persona.
Some are super cute and childish, others are mature and cold acting.
They try to have all personality types (even if the personalities are all fake).
If you're visiting Japan, you really owe it to yourself to go to a maid café at least once, if for only the experience.
Be prepared for the cost, but take lots of pictures and make a memory that the folks back home will find hard to believe.