MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

Experiencing An Akihabara Maid Cafe

Whilst in Akihabara, we felt it was only right that we "experienced" a Maid Café. There are several around if you look hard enough, although its actually not hard when there are maids giving out flyers on a few of the streets near the station.

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We did pop into a multi-storey complex along the main street - unfortunately I didn't note down the name - and there was a maid café in there, but it was full of very serious looking Japanese men and an entrance that seemed to imply no foreigners.

The Animation Studio and Maid Café was our eventual resting place, and this is on the corner of the second floor of a block in Akihabara's Electric Town. We had to go up in a lift within quite a dingy looking corridor, though once the doors opened on the second floor, we were faced with the clear and bright interiors of the cafe and the welcoming Japanese greetings of the maids at the entrance. The bemusement started straight away.

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Since we didn't speak Japanese, we were seated by a South-Asian-looking (could have been Brazilian) maid who spoke fluent American English and Japanese. So we could converse, but I still felt a little disappointed by not being served by a real Japanese maid!

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We were given menus and ended up ordering a pricey piece of cake and soft drink each (totalling 2,400JPY (£16.20)). Don't ask me how I know but it felt like being in a strip joint where everything is expensive to compensate for the "unique service".

Anyway, we settled down to look around us and took some covert photos and video footage which wasn't really allowed - since they wanted to charge for a photo with a maid - I think it was around 500JPY. Check the video below to get an idea of the atmosphere of this maid café:



The place was a mix of Japanese and foreign customers. The foreigners were obviously like us, wanting to check out the Maid Café experience, although the younger Japanese seemed equally as bemused. There was one young, possibly Japanese couple, who had ordered some plates of pasta, but as they were watching the scenes of maid-café-action unfold, the look of disgust on the girl's face was priceless.

There were some older Japanese men too - a group who seemed to stop by for a rowdy (in a Japanese way) pint of beer each and a grizzly looking guy who had a quiet conversation with the South-Asian maid.

When our food and drinks arrived, the cakes were average, though the melon juice drink I thought I ordered turned out to be an appropriately sickly sweet carbonated pop. Before we could tuck in, our South Asian maid informed us that something we all needed to do first was perform some "maid-magic".

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With my screwed-up-expression in objection to the cutesy-cutesyness of it all, we had to put our thumbs and forefingers together to create a heart shape and repeat a phrase after her. I can't remember (nor am willing to remember) what it was, but she explained afterwards that part of it had no meaning, that it was just a cute sounding expression.

With our initiation over, we tried to "savour" our expensive cake, which wasn't all too bad actually, and took in more of our surroundings. The furniture seem quite basic and the "animation studio" aspect of the name was due to a collection of framed images and two plasma displays screening a repeating anime. The "riveting" animation was of some story about a couple of talking animals waiting for a late arriving maid in order to open their very own maid café...

After we felt that we'd been there long enough(!) we maid (ha! Sorry...) our way to pay and upon asking for a card of the place, each received a personalised card bearing a Japanese version of our name. I got a couple of hearts on mine since I'd obviously made an impression.

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Check PopoPure.com for the Animation Studio and Maid Café website

Check out Maid Cafés on Wikipedia for more information on this cosplay subculture


This entry posted in : Culture. Food. Japan. Tourism.

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12/06/09  at  03:27 AM
Awsomeness! I want to go to Akihabara and experience everything I can.
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15/08/10  at  08:57 AM
I went to PoPoPure yesterday. I got the cake and drink set, yes, it was a bit expensive, 1200 yen. It was so crowded, we had to wait 10 minutes at the door, but when we left, the line started at the elevator on the first floor! I paid 500 yen for a picture with a cute maid, and we maid (ha) a heart shape together with our hands for the picture. Overall, a nice experience, and may go back and see (Mou chan), my cute maid!
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