(Not the best English, but she gets points for trying.)
During my visit to Tokyo, I spent a day exploring Akihabara, the mecha for otakus, anime fans, idol fans, computer nerds, and, of course, maid and cosplay cafes.
I visited Akihabara with the intention of hunting down some rare manga merch (mission: failed) and locating some lithium AA batteries for my camera (mission: success!), and had been a bit unsure about what to do for lunch that day, as I was totally on my own, and a bit nervous about going to a maid cafe by myself. But then I thought to myself, “When will I have another opportunity to go to an Akihabara Maid Cafe?” YOLO and all that. And so, I resolved to find a cute cafe to have lunch in.
It was actually a little more difficult than I first anticipated. There was a maid cafe I’d spotted earlier that seemed interesting, but though I could see the sign on the upper floor of a building, I couldn’t find the entrance! It would seem that a lot of these sorts of buildings need to be accessed from the back, using the elevators there. So, what ended up happening is I ran into a maid promoting the Heart of Hearts cafe on the street and I asked her about it and how much a lunch set would be.
Maid cafes and other similarly themed restaurants tend to be rather expensive. Although the food is usually not much more than simple, easy-to-make dishes, because you are paying for a unique, cute experience, the prices are higher. The Heart of Hearts lunch set was apparently 2500 yen (about $25 US), and includes a drink, lunch meal, a dessert, plus a picture with a maid of your choice. I think they may have given me a discount, though–I only ended up paying 2100 yen.
When I came in, they had me sit in a student’s desk and they “taught” me the rules of the restaurant. The theme of the restaurant is “maid school,” so all of the maids are “students.” My maid was called Nyankichi, and she was super cute! She did a really good job of making me feel welcome, and came by during her free moments to ask me a bit about myself. I can see why some lonely, single men would enjoy coming here, as the maids really do make you feel like they’re interested in you and want to be your friend. However, none of the other customers gave off the stereotypical creeper vibe. Everyone there seemed normal and a bit like me–kind of curious about what happens in a maid cafe and enjoying the goings-on with a curious amusement. Unfortunately, photos were prohibited with the exception of photos of your food, otherwise I would have more. Anyway, here’s what I ordered:
It was a pretty basic omurice with meat sauce set. But Nyankichi drew a cat holding a heart on it for me! Also, every time she brought something, be it drink or meal, we had to do a “magic spell” over it. It was usually some cute phrase that she would start, and then we would say the last part together, accompanied by hand motions. After my omurice (which was actually pretty good), I received my dessert:
Apple pie! Which was also quite good, and they drew a chocolate cat on the plate. Like I said, you’re paying for cuteness, not quality or quantity. After I ate my pie and took a photo with Nyankichi (which was the opening photo for this post), I thought that meant it was time for me to leave, so I sort of started to gather my things. But Nyankichi came over and was like, “Eh? You’re leaving now?” At the beginning, as part of my “education,” they told me that I had one hour, which I assumed meant that I had to leave before the hour was up. Apparently, not so. You are allowed to stay and hang out, chatting a bit with the maids until your hour is up, even if you’ve already finished your meal.
All in all, it was a good time. I would never make a habit of frequenting these cafes, since, like I said, they’re a bit pricey. But they’re very cute and it’s definitely a unique Japan experience that I would recommend to anyone who wants to try.
If anyone is interested, you can find the Heart of Hearts website HERE.