Maid to order fantasy
Techno geeks babied and bossed as they master cartoon servants
Originally published in the National Post
TOKYO • I’m not sure what “mushi, mushi” or “moy, moy” mean, but seeing as how everyone else in the cafe is saying it, I give it a try. The waitress, dressed like a sexy anime maid, smiles so hard it looks like her teeth might shatter. She stirs my spaghetti and ketchup faster — which is great but also a little sad. It means the perfectly good happy face she had drawn with my ketchup just moments before is now thoroughly mixed with the noodles. When she has finished stirring she gives me this ta-da look, turns the blue bendy straw (I picked the colour myself ) in my ice coffee toward me, pats me on the head and leaves. I am somewhere between enthralled and embarrassed.
Seems strange, but this is a perfectly normal lunch hour in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. Traditionally the best place to buy electronics, Akihabara has been making a new name for itself as a haven for everything otaku (geek in Japanese). In other words, nerd central, where you can play video games, shop for anime and comic book paraphernalia, meet females (and, oddly, some males) dressed as your favourite anime characters (which basically involves taking any profession and adding a short skirt) and be waited on like a baby at a “maid cafe.”