What began as a mission to get a phone in Akihabara, became an unexpected journey outside of my comfort zone and into all things kawaii.
With our phones bought, my friend and I decided to explore the Electric City and after turning a random corner (because that’s the only way to explore properly), we soon came across a maid. She told us about the Maidreamin Maid Café and what they do there. I finally gave in and she kindly escorted us to the building where the café was. During the 5-minute walk there, she pulled out a small walkie-talkie and informed someone that she was bringing two guests. I didn’t know who she was talking to exactly, but by the time we got to the building, another maid met us at the entrance and took us into the café.
Two words can summarize the entire experience…CUTENESS OVERLOAD! I was not ready for everything that happened within the one hour we were there. Our maid was adorable as she presented us with the Grand Menu, which listed the different foods, desserts, drinks, etc. They also had services that the guests could pay for. For instance, for 500yen guests could take a picture with the maids, for 700yen the maids could play games with them and for 900yen, they receive glow sticks and could have the maids perform live on a mini stage.
I decided to have a strawberry parfait (while my friend had the chocolate parfait) and while we waited, our maid, Tora, kept us entertained. Being the only female customers (and the only African American ones at that), we felt a bit awkward, but she asked us questions like where we were from and why we came to Japan and she did her best to make us feel as comfortable as possible. Everything about her was charmingly adorable: her outfit, her way of speaking, her mannerisms, her whole demeanor.
But wait! The cuteness did not stop there! When our desserts came out, Tora had us say a “spell” with her that would make the desserts extra delicious. (Excuse me while I prepare myself.) “Oishii oishii naruite moe moe kyuuu!” (or “おいしい おいしい なるいて もえもえ きゅう~,” which roughly translates to “Become Delicious! Become Delicious! Cute! Cute!”) In the middle of our dessert, two maids announced a random drawing for two sets of rabbit ears. My friend and I looked at each other and before I knew it, I felt a pair of fluffy rabbit ears being placed on my head. わたしはとてもはずかしかった! (I was so embarrassed!) But at that moment, I was officially a princess (for the rest of the hour anyway.)
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the maids try to engage everyone in whatever they do, even if they have their own customers. For example, even though one guest paid to have their maid perform on stage, the rest of the guests were encouraged to join in and enjoy the show. At some point, a guest was leaving and the maids had everyone in the café (guests and maids alike) say “Nya nya!” as a final farewell. (See, I told you it was cuteness overload.)
Upon finishing our desserts, we were approached by another maid who had us do another spell (and you better believe this one included hand motions as well.) “Oishikatta oishikatta nya!” (or “おいしかったおいしかったにゃ,” meaning, “It was delicious. It was delicious! Meow!”)
But alas, the time came for us to leave. Our hour was up, our stomachs were full and our faces hurt from smiling so much. Going to a maid café was definitely a unique experience and one I don’t think I would have considered going through had I not been in Japan. I don’t consider myself to be the kind of person who would normally partake in “cutesy” things, but the maids themselves work hard to make sure each and every customer has a wonderful time and they really make the café come to life, so why not go and experience the kawaii?