Japan is a weird and wonderful place, which is one of the reasons I love going back there. It also loves its themed cafes – Pokemon, horror hospital, Alice in Wonderland – as well as various cafes which appeal to certain groups of people.
Butler cafes, tutor cafes (get tutored I’m a subject of your choice by a hot guy/girl) and… Maid cafes. One of the biggest ones is the @Home cafe. They have a few branches in the otaku capital of Akihabara – I think the biggest is in the massive Don Quixote (Donki for short ) on the maid road. A friend tried to take me there a few years ago but the line was just… No. I don’t like queues. A lot of the maid cafes are above other shops. @Home was slightly off the main road and on the 2nd floor of the building. When you enter, a maid will greet you at the entrance – guys get called ‘Master’, but in my case my maid called me ‘my lady’ – and depending on how busy it is you’ll be assigned a seat. Each table gets a maid – our party of 6 had two maids though one served us most of the time.
Clientele was mostly male and they were definitely regulars given their interactions with the maids. We were seated at the front near the stage area – this is where the maids play games with everyone and where you get your Polaroids taken. The food and drinks are all super ‘kawaii’… And super sweet. I ordered a rabbit dessert set which was like a mousse in the middle, with two white chocolate covered biscuits as ears. Also-lots of cream and really artificial gel. My drink was a hazelnut latte (or was it caramel – can’t remember since it tasted like syrup) and I chose the ‘character’ coffee so a maid will come and draw a character of your choice on top. Totoro ❤
I convinced one of my male friends to get the ‘special’ drink which came out looking like the Cookie Monster in drink form. But it tasted OK (apparently ) and the maid performed a “spell to make it delicious”. She would not start until ALL of us had our hands making a heart shape. I’ve seen it before on television and in Japanese TV shows – it’s really fun once you get over how weird it is. The spell is just a bunch of animal noises and lots of looove. All of us bought the set which gives you a Polaroid with the maid serving you (you get to put on animal ears of your choice) and if you win the cafe-wide game of Janken-pon aka. Scissors, paper, stone, you get another Polaroid with the maid of your choice who will decorate it with glitter/sparkles/love. The maids also give you their photobook to browse through in case you want to buy one. They were all super attentive and tried their best to speak English (I translated at times ) to my group. The cafe was clean (I love this about Japan) and tidy. Deco is a little tacky but it’s a maid cafe! We actually went to another cafe first (still in Akibahara) but the decor was darker and the maids were in Victorian style outfits. I’m not sure about other cafes but @Home doesn’t allow pictures. Well, not on your camera at least as they didn’t stop me taking pictures on my phone. There is a service charge for the maid (per person) which was around ¥600 each, and for the spell she chanted XD. When you leave you receive a card as proof of you being a “Level 1 Master” – I assume the more you visit the higher your level is.