Something of an odd thing I’ve come across in Japan are ‘Maid cafés.’ I’ve not yet visited one, but feel like I should probably tick this off my list of wacky things to do in this country before I leave.
Despite what you might initially think when you see a pretty girl dressed in a French Maid costume, there is nothing sketchy about a Maid café. In simple terms they’re just cafés where girls in frilly maid costumes serve customers who pay by the hour to visit such a place.
In Tokyo’s Akihabara distric, girls dressed as maids, or meidos as they’re known in Japan, stand on the street handing out flyers to potential customers. They’re often quite outgoing and lively but will shy away the moment a camera appears. This isn’t because they’re camera-shy or ashamed of their job in any way, but rather because a photograph of or with a maid costs money when you’re in a café.
While most maid cafés tend to feature girls in French maid styled costumes there are, of course, variations on the theme. Notable among the alternatives are “danso” cafés where girls dress up as boys, cross-dressing maid cafe where the maids are actually men, and even a chubby maid cafe. If that isn’t your thing then maybe a nun café is for you. There you can enjoy miniature food while the ‘nuns’ pray for your soul and the souls of the other guests. Whatever the variety, it would seem to me that visiting such a café is a must on any worthwhile list of bizarre things to do in Japan.