Okaerinasaimase goshujin-sama, ojou-sama! (Welcome home master, milady!)
I am a maid.
No, I will not come to your house to clean. I have a hard enough time keeping my own space clean. No, that is not a title for some fetish sex-worker. That’s just… no.
I’m a meido (the Japanese word for maid) and I work at a Maid Café.
*Cue blank stare or confused look* Yes, I get that a lot… Let me explain.
Don’t know what a maid café is?
A maid café serves snacks and refreshments, just like any other café. The difference is the waitresses are all dressed like maids.
Meido costumes vary between different establishments, but usually they resemble that of the stereotypical “French maid”. This includes:
- A dress
- Pinafore (apron)
- Petticoat (worn underneath the skirt to add puffiness)
- Hair accessory (usually bows or frills)
Sound weird yet? Stay with me, I’m not done.
So why the maid costumes?
Because we’re here to pamper you. No, not in a weird, gross sexual way. Quite the opposite actually. Guests that come to maid cafes do not come for anything sexual. In Japan, maids are idealized for their innocence and purity! Our goal is to provide you with special care to make you feel at home and relaxed.
From the minute you step in you’ll be greeted with “Okaerinasaimase goshujin-sama (or ojou-sama)!”, which means “Welcome home master (or lady)!”.
So what do we do in a maid café?
Well, of course we lovingly serve you food and drinks. And when I say lovingly, I mean it. Want a picture of a cat drawn on your omelette in ketchup? Just ask! And to go the extra mile, we’ll cast a special spell on your drinks and meal. (This usually involves putting your hands into a heart shape and chanting something like “Moe! Moe! Kyuun~~!”) You’ll probably be asked to participate and repeat after us. Just to make sure it’s extra delicious.
But all cafés try to provide good food. We take it to the next level. Want to play a game of cards? That’s cool. How about a quick game of Jan-Ken-Pon (Rock-Paper-Scissors)? Let’s do it. Depending on the café, the games you can play with the meidos will differ. However, there’s always SOMETHING you can play!
And we go a step further!
A Maid Café offers live entertainment!
We will get up and perform, live, JUST FOR YOU! Whether it’s dancing to the latest J-pop hit, or singing and dancing to an original tune, our goal is to make sure you enjoy yourself.
And this isn’t just something we throw together. We put a lot of care and attention into our performances! (No really, the black and purple bruises I have all over my knees from my dance practice last week are proof.) We put our heart and soul into putting on a good show.
Last but not least, here’s some tips for when you visit (So you can’t say I didn’t warn you!):
- Please don’t take our picture without permission! Most places (particularly in Japan) will not let you take pictures of the maids. You wouldn’t try to sneak a picture of the cute girl sitting beside you would you? Well, I hope you wouldn’t, because that’s creepy. We aren’t here for you to gawk at. Some establishments have a system where you can purchase the chance to take a Polaroid with a maid of your choice (she’ll even sign it for you after). Either way, please ask permission first.
- Don’t try to touch us! That’s called harassment anywhere you go, maid cafes are no different. Please respect us. Groping of any sort will get you kicked out of any establishment faster than you can say “maid”.
- Asking for our number is a no-no! We’re there to do a job, to make sure you feel comfortable and entertained. We might look cute doing it, but it’s still just a job. In Japan, maid cafes are almost considered an alternate reality. The maids only exist within the cafe, so don’t try to bring them into the real world. Please respect our privacy.
Oh wait… there one more last thing I feel the need to point out! Even in Japan maid cafés are considered a very niche market. It’s not something for everyone. But they tend to have a very different target demographic compared to the West. It’s mostly men and women who don’t know how to converse or who want a comforting atmosphere and a change of pace from real life. However, because of its rise in popularity from such things like anime and video games, more and more people are visiting maid cafés.
So whether you’re a student or a businessman, male or female, a tourist or just a Curious George… Drop by and experience a Maid Café at least once in your life. I promise you won’t regret it.
To see an example of what it can actually be like inside a maid café, check out the Buzzfeed video here!