This is a summary of my first (and probably last) experience at a maid cafe in Japan from over the weekend. The cafe was called ‘MaiDreamin,’ which, if read in the unintended way (as I choose to do), is an unfortunate choice of names and leads me to believe the owner is unaware of what it means to ream a maid. I can’t speak for the customers.
Anyway, two of my friends wanted to experience a maid cafe for the first time while we were in Akihabara, so we set out on a mission. We were troubled momentarily by the fact that none of us actually knew where one was. Luckily, if you’ve ever been to Akihabara, you know that you don’t have to walk very far to find a maid on the street handing out fliers to attract customers. So we literally just crossed the street, and lo and behold a super cute maid was awaiting our arrival.
She had medium-short hair and an adorable costume, complete with what I assumed were fake bandages on her arm, thigh high black stockings, and super cute glasses. One of my friends waited in the background suspiciously while my other friend and I went up to talk to her. She told us that the cafe was nearby, and that she’d be more than happy to guide us, so we all tagged along. By the way, letting a maid guide you through back alleys in Akihabara is a very surreal experience. Looking back, that was probably my favorite part.
We only had to wait a few minutes before she guided us into the very small cafe on the n-th floor of a cramped building. I couldn’t be judgmental too quickly though – most Japanese businesses seem to be located on the n-th floor of rundown buildings. It’s just normal. The cafe itself was pretty crowded though. There was a small bar with an aisle down the middle and 2 sides ready to accommodate any number of “single” men, and a few glass top tables meant for small groups. I bet it wouldn’t hold more than 30 customers at a time. Even so, the stereo system was playing Perfume songs very loudly, so everyone was shouting and it felt pretty noisy.
Because we were clearly not 30 year old businessmen ready to spend lots of money on them, the waitresses didn’t pay particularly much attention to us. But there were about 6 to 8 girls running around in different maid costumes. After a very deep discussion on the matter, we decided that only about 3 of them were really really cute. We spent a lot of time looking around at the other customers as well — some of them were clearly very comfortable and familiar with the atmosphere, and others were obviously like us, checking the place out for the first time with that “I don’t belong here” look on their faces. I’ll also say that the majority of the customers were men, but many of them were younger than I expected.
There wasn’t much going on until a super regular customer ordered some champagne, and they had a mic and spotlight on the girl who came out to serve it to him. She couldn’t open the bottle after several attempts, and ended up making a struggling “eungh!” noise that was so girly and sickeningly moe it made us all laugh, albeit as quietly as possible. If that wasn’t on purpose, I’d be very surprised.
After all is said and done, I don’t think I’d be interested in going back. I didn’t exactly have high expectations to begin with, but for one friend in particular, it was kind of a let-down. In my opinion, the service was not great at all, but like I said, we weren’t exactly their target customers. The lighting was also way too bright, which I suppose is for the sake of being able to see the cute waitresses as clearly as possible. And ultimately, the drinks were not made well, and everything in the room was pink, which made me wonder if maid cafes would be better suited for elementary school girls instead of men who are interested in elementary school girls. Still, this is something you should experience for yourself, and I’m sure that every cafe is different.
Walking back to the main street, we passed another maid leading a group of guys down a back alley of Akihabara.
They were pretty finicky about pictures so we didn’t bother taking any. The ones in this post are from the cafe’s website.