If you have ever watched any Japan travel vlogs or blogs, you must have heard about maid cafes. It is basically a themed cafe with cutesy waitresses dresses up in maid costumes, serving you adorable looking foods and drinks. The maids will usually ask you to make a spell “Moe, moe, kyuun! Oishikunare!” before you start your meal. Depending on the store, you can usually take pictures with one maid of your choice. This is an extremely popular and unique experience for tourists, especially for weebs like me who are very into anime and manga.
Akihabara is the place that gathers anime, manga, gaming, idols and all kinds of otaku hobbies. It is also the place where maid cafes were born. The first maid cafe appears around two decades ago in the “Tokyo Character Show 1998”, where the launch event of the love simulation game “Welcome to Pia ♡ Carrot! 2” took place. The event production team set up a one-day cafe with waitresses cosplaying as game characters while serving customers. This concept cafe was greatly appreciated by fans, hence, the event team decided to run the cafe longer for a limited time. This further led to the grand opening of “Cure Maid Café”, which is believed to be the first official maid cafe.
The popularization of maid cafes started a boom in the maid culture, yet, also brought up the dark side of it at the same time. Other than cafes, there are many maid-themed stores, like karaoke, casinos and more. Some store owners even started a trend of maid strip club, maid gentlemen’s club and maid prostitution. These sexual services are described as the dark side of the maid culture because it has attracted people with an unpure mind to Akihabara and leaving otakus with no place to stay. Additionally, the increasing amount of tourists that have heated up the battle between stores also causes some less pleasant voices within otakus and even maids.
From an interview performed on 100 maids staff, most of them agreed that otakus customers are more willing to spend money on services and tips more compared to tourists. The maids surely do not hate on or whatnot, yet, when it comes to financial benefits, otakus seems to have won the heart of the maids.
If you are a weeb, have an otaku hobby or if you are totally not interested in such a culture, I still recommend you to try out one of the maid cafes when you visit Japan. It is a very interesting experience, and if not, the girls are really cute and adorable to look at, cough cough, I mean the food and drinks are really cute and adorable to look at. Get ready to Moe moe kyuun! ♡~*