Okaerinasaimase goshujin-sama, ojou-sama! (Welcome home master, milady!)
A few weeks ago we had our promotional photoshoot for Café Delish. And so begins my story…
“Here’s your Mac and Cheese,” our waiter says as he sets down plates of piping hot noodles covered in gooey melted cheese and a variety of different toppings.
I am ravenous. We are all ravenous. I have been awake since 6am. It’s been a LONG day of dance practice followed by hours long promotional photo shoot all over Downtown Toronto. For Café Delish, the biggest event of the year is coming up fast. Anime North. And so much still needs to be done. After hours of posing in our new “traditional” costumes (a fusion of a kimono and regular meido outfit) in the cold biting wind, we all decide we’ve earned some comfort food. So obviously, we head to Cheese Werks.
This is my first time, but many of our group are no stranger to this restaurant of cheesy goodness. As our waiter finishes distributing our choice of cheese, he begins to walk away but then changes his mind. He turns around, takes another look at the table, and says…
“Hey, you look familiar!”
“Ya, we’re regulars here,” is the answer from a couple of the meidos and crew.
“Noooo… that’s not it,” the waiter stands there, looking up and down the table of people.
After another (very) awkward million years, he exclaims, “You guys are the maid cafe! You guys are Café Delish!”
And that folks, was my brush with fame. Ok, not quite fame, but definitely from being randomly recognized in public (like, away from home turf). Ok, so it wasn’t necessarily me that was recognized, but it still was a surreal experience. My first thought, “What have I gotten myself into?” Which brings me to my next point…
Maids are like public idols.
In Japan, meido can be considered idols of sorts. Everyone knows that there are top maid cafés lists, but did you know there is also ranking for the meido themselves? Just like pop idol singers like Taylor Swift or Arianna Grande, some meido have their own fan base. If you’re popular enough, some people will keep coming back to the the maid café just to visit YOU. Some will even have their own merchandise, like postcards or keychains that you can purchase! In Akihabara, the maid café central of Japan, some meido are household names around the city.
At Café Delish, we have a very special fan. Let’s call him Super Fan. So Super Fan is literally, a super fan. He comes to almost all our events, way before I even started! Every year at Anime North he waits in line for hours just to get tickets! He collects all our speciality pins (every year the meido come up with different designs and we get them made). He even made his own trading cards of all the meido, just so he can get us to sign them and keep them for his own personal collection! A few years ago, he made a bunch of the meido THEIR OWN PERSONALIZED DOLL FIGURE! This year we got our own personalized doll charms! So much care and detail went into making so many of them (he even made the male kitchen staff some)!
Yes I can see the cringe on some of your faces. But it’s not like that. Super Fan is one of the nicest people you could meet. He has never once made any of the meidos feel weird or uncomfortable. In fact, every year we look forward to seeing him! It’s great to see that the hard work we put into the maid café is so greatly appreciated. Just like some people choose to follow and admire big name stars, he just chose to admire some a little closer to home.
So much for it being just like any other [café] job.