Tokyo is a huge, cosmopolitan city. You can find anything you could ever want to find there, from shops that sell cosplay costumes for your dogs to craft beer that you can’t get anywhere else in Japan. The range of options is vast and ever expanding. When I was in Tokyo, I saw things and did things I couldn’t do anywhere else. I went to Meiji Jingu and saw part of a traditional Japanese wedding. I walked through Harajuku and saw tonnes of stores selling crazy stuff. I went to a prison-themed restaurant in Shibuya. One thing, however, stood out in my mind as completely unique and Japanese.
I went to a Maid Cafe in Akihabara.
For those of you that don’t know what maid cafes are, let me give you a quick rundown. Basically, they are cafes where you can eat and order drinks. Big surprise there. The catch, though, is that you are waited on by a “maid”, which is normally a waitress dressed up in a little maids uniform. They are all attractive, young, innocent looking women. The maids will stir your drinks for you, chat with you, and in some cases perform for the whole cafe. What the girls do varies from place to place, but generally, the atmosphere is innocent, albeit a little creepy.
I was intrigued by this, so when my group of girls and I found ourselves in Akihabara, we decided that we had to give it a try. We walked around for a little bit, trying to find a cafe that wasn’t too overpriced, when we came across a really adorably clad girl with a really high-pitched, annoying voice. I was hesitant, but Jessica seemed really excited and she offered a good deal, so we got in the elevator and went up. As soon as the elevator doors opened, everything changed.
I was surrounded by lights and pink and cuteness. It was terrifying. I tried to back out and go back downstairs, but instead I was led to a table for the four of us by a waitress dressed in a french maid costume with another squeaky, high pitched voice. She helped us all sit down, then she introduced herself, kneeling at the table, and wrote her name on a little card, decorating it with hearts and flowers. I was half amused and half uncomfortable. She then took our drink orders and went away to get the drinks, leaving me some time to investigate my surroundings.
It was dark, made that way so you couldn’t really see the other patrons. I tried my hardest to scan the room regardless, and realized very quickly that everyone else was male. The few other females that were there were there with their boyfriends, and I even thought I recognised one of the patrons. If I did, however, he definitely didn’t recognise me, so I paid him the same courtesy. Most of the men were there by themselves, ordering drinks and chain-smoking.
Our maid brought us our drinks, and in order to make them “more delicious”, we all had to say a magic spell together, complete with silly hand gestures. Jessica got really into this, and I just did it so I could drink my beer. We ordered a few snacks and went through the same routine to make them more delicious too.
Afterwards, we were treated to a special show, where all the maids danced and sang to all of us. They took turns picking out audience members to say silly things, and Jessica got really into it, making cat noises into microphones.
Then, after an hour, we packed up and went home. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to take pictures inside, so I have no photos from the night, but you could pay to get photos with the maids. We saw one guy getting his photo taken with almost every single one. I am broke, so this story is kind of bare.
I would recommend the experience as that. An experience. If you go in with an open mind and don’t expect too much, you might have a lot of fun.