Okaerinasaimase goshujin-sama, ojou-sama! (Welcome home master, milady!)
Want to get into the mind of someone who is at the center of maid cafés? Introducing Bosu (Japanese pronunciation for “boss”) and Yumi-chan. This husband and wife duo are the co-founders of Café Delish! Yumi was also the head maid for many years before “graduating” in 2014. I had the chance to sit down with them and pick their minds! Here’s what they had to say…
So why did you guys choose to start a maid café?
Yumi – I was the one that wanted to. I don’t really remember how the idea came up.
Bosu – Well, we used to cosplay hardcore. We won a lot of contests. So we were approached by the Head of Masquerade at Anime North and asked if we wanted to host an actual event. Yumi said that she had always wanted to do a maid café. That’s how it started.
Yumi – It took us over a year to establish it though.
Bosu – We didn’t know what we were doing at first. We had to do a lot of research.
Ok but why a maid café in particular?
Yumi – Because it had never been done [here].
Bosu – She was into dressing Lolita style, so it sorta went with the dressing up and cosplay. Then while we were planning Café Delish we went to Japan and visited some maid cafés.
Yumi – We met Hitome-chan at the popular @HomeCafe. She was one of the most famous maids in Akihabara. When One Direction went to Japan she’s the one that took them around Akihabara. She was a huge inspiration.
Bosu – A maid café fit into our fashion and anime worlds, while being something culturally different that hadn’t been brought to Canada for people to experience.
When did you first learn of maid cafes?
Bosu – We’ve always been huge anime fans and maid cafés are pretty prevalent in anime. So it’s something that we learnt about from being geeks. We didn’t really know what they were except that they were cute. In anime, they didn’t really seem performance-based, like what we realized it was later on.
Have you ever visited one in Japan before?
Yumi – Every time we go back to Japan I go to one. I want to level up my “mistress card”.
What’s a mistress card?
Yumi – Well, at my favourite place, the first time you go they give you a little card, and that’s your membership. Every time you go you level up. If you get a high enough level, you can get invited to one of their concerts! (Meidos are a type of idol, check out my post here.)
What was the biggest hurdle in creating a maid café?
Yumi – Starting the very first year the event sold out quickly. I heard that there had been a line up. I was like what?
Bosu – The first year was really chaotic. We didn’t even know what we were doing. We were just sort of like, be hospitable, because that’s all we really knew about maid cafés.
Yumi – So we just served them food and chatted with them.
Bosu – Our café wasn’t good until the second year. We did some research and went to more maid cafés in Japan. We added the performances and games and stuff. We discovered the actual “maid culture”.
“We wanted to create and encapsulate what a maid café would be like in Japan.” – Bosu
What do you think people can expect when they visit a maid café (for the first time)?
Bosu – People always ask me that. I think they expect something sexual but it’s not. You can expect a warm atmosphere. The meido really show off their personality because they try to make you feel at home and be entertaing. And at the most basic level, you won’t be bored.
What essential qualities do you look for when girls audition to become a meido?
Yumi – *laughs* I think passion.
Bosu – It’s a tricky question because here in Canada people are probably being meido for a different reason than in Japan. In Japan lots of girls do it because they are outgoing and the pay is decent. But here it is a little bit of an escape from reality, like something that exists inside of an anime. Those are the people who audition.
Yumi – They have a craving to satisfy about the Japanese culture they see in anime.
Bosu – So that’s what Yumi meant by passion, it’s not just another girl putting on a costume and trying to dance around. It’s the girls who really want to do this, and you can feel the passion radiating from them. They enjoy this. Those are the best ones. And they all have something unique.
What is the biggest misconception about maid cafes?
Yumi – That it’s sexual. It’s actually a lot more innocent. It’s supposed to be innocent and cute.
Bosu – It’s not a fetish thing. It’s more of a social thing. The “French maid” thing throws people off, because it’s a sexual thing here. Japan has always had a big sexual divide, but geisha were their own class. They were brought to entertain both male and female parties. I feel like that’s kinda the niche a maid café fills.
What is the most interesting story or memory that stands out from all your years of running the cafe?
Yumi – Mine is more of like… well, it’s not a good thing… some guy on the internet asked to buy my underwear. That stands out to me. This guy found me (well my maid persona) on Facebook and started talking to me. First he asked if I was willing to sell him one of my costumes, I said no. Then it turned into my underwear. He said, “Ok look, basically I have $500 and what I really want is a pair of your underwear. Eww. I blocked him. *laughs* It was one of those weird creepier things.
Bosu – Mine is about a fan too, but a good one. There was this guy who was really upset because he couldn’t get tickets to Yumi’s graduation performance. He asked if there was any way he could just meet her because he had a present for her. So we were like, “ok that’s really weird” but we let him come by the café after the last performance ended to say hi. And he presented Yumi with this paper doll of herself.
Yumi – All the meido freaked out.
Bosu – It had everything, her exact dress, her hair clips, her bracelet. It even had its’ own packaging. It was so detailed. I’d say that was one of the coolest things. The next year we all got one! It’s pretty crazy, to have such a huge fan that would spend hours to make gifts for all the meido. It’s awesome.
Are there any “business secrets” you can share?
Bosu – Passion and authenticity. It’s crazy how much of a following we have. We’ve had actual guests from Japan tell us Cafe Delish is great. We even got invited to the Consulate General of Japan house because of our representation of Japanese culture. To be recognized for how well we do in our maid café, and how authentic we are, that’s what we try and strive for.
That’s all Bosu and Yumi had to say this time. Thanks to them for taking time out of their hectic schedule to share these insiders! Visit them here for more information on their maid café “Café Delish”. Or contact them here for information if you are interested in auditioning to be a maid! Auditions are normally held once a year.