Today is my 200th (roughly) day in Japan!! WOW! Already! To celebrate here is a post on my first time in a Maid Cafe and lots of other things.
On Ria’s third day in trip here in Japan (Adventures with Ria series) we started off the day the proper way – with a bowl of ramen!
Ria is a big fan of ramen and says it is her favourite Japanese dish. Up until this day we had only had ramen once, so we decided to pay another visit to the notorious Ramen Street in Tokyo Station for lunch. We picked a different ramen shop and opted for the Tsukemen option.
This is where you dip the noodles into a broth and eat it like that, rather than have the noodles already in the sauce. It was a new experience for Ria but we both agree that normal ramen (noodles already in the broth) tastes better. The noodles were not hot since they probably ran the noodles under cold water so that they didn’t stick when dipped in the broth. Also, this ramen shop’s broth wasn’t as flavoursome as the previous one. So it was a slightly disappointing ramen visit but still tasty!
We hadn’t been to Akihabara yet so that was the main destination for Ria’s third day in Japan. She wanted to get her brother a Dragon Ball Z figurine and since Akihabara is renowned for anime and figurines we headed there.
There are so many anime/manga/figurine related shops here amongst all the electronic stores so we went into quite a few different shops to see what they have and to compare prices. It was a successful shopping trip as we managed to find a pretty good one for her brother in the end. Ria had also looked up this retro arcade called Super Potato Arcade, where they sell retro playstation games as well as the original Nintendo Gameboy too. To pass the time before heading to the Maid cafe, we headed there to check out the merchandise and ended up playing the original Street Fighter for a bit!
The next main event for the day was the visit to a Maid Cafe. These are pretty common around Akihabara, and you often see girls wearing maid outfits dotted along the pavements handing out leaflets. I’ve never been to one before since I’ve always had a slightly weird image of them, and as Ria had never been to one before we thought it would be fun to go together! Omar has actually been to a maid cafe before, so we asked him to join us! Previously, he went to one called Maidreamin but we decided to try out a new one called @HomeCafe.
BTW! You’re not allowed to take pictures apart from your food so that’s all I managed to get, sorry 😦
The way in which these cafes work is that you first pay money to get in, then you order something to eat/drink and are served your refreshments by a girl wearing a maid outfit. We had to pay about 500 yen just to get in but other cafes charge about 1000 yen!
I was expecting just to see guys in the cafes but there were couples, old ladies ( I mean people in their 40s/50s! My mum isn’t going to be happy I said this, hahaha) as well as normal school girls in this cafe. We were promptly seated and shown the menu.
There is a wide variety of food and beverages in these cafes and they sort of hint that you should order something that allows for some creativity. For example, if you order a latte they can use some chocolate syrup to draw a picture in the foam. Since Omar ordered an omelette the maid drew a cat for him using some ketchup.
Before you eat, you have to “Power-up” your food with love. They make you do some hand movements and say these cutesy words as you’re meant to give love to the food before you eat it. I felt a bit awkward but you just have to go with the flow!
As well as eating, you can pay to play games with the maids. For 3 mins at 600 yen(?) a go you can play card games or board games with the maids. None of us opted for that option but we paid 600 yen each to have a photo taken with a maid. They call you up on stage and you are asked to wear a hairband (lots of different types – cat ears, bunny ears etc.) and after the polaroid has come out they will use pens to decorate it for you.
It was certainly an interesting experience and I have to say that I rather enjoyed myself. It’s not as bad as some people made it out to be. You do have to be open-minded and just go along with it but I wouldn’t mind going back again since the food was good and there’s this happy atmosphere (albeit a bit forced perhaps?). There were moments that felt slightly wrong as some of the customers were old guys who clearly had time and money to spend, and were playing numerous games with the maids and you could tell that they were regular customers.
Before we left they handed us our own individual loyalty cards that look like the American Express credit cards. Each time you visit you get a point and rank up when you get a certain number. According to the website you can get gifts and get to play games with the maids for free past a certain ranking.
I don’t think I’ll be back anytime soon but if you’re ever in Japan I think you should go for the experience!
Next post will be on Tokyo Disneyland so stay tuned!
Thanks for reading!