Ever fantasized about being tended to by an attractive teen maid in your home, who addresses you as Goshujin-sama (Master) or Ojo-sama (Mistress)? Or dreamt about being coddled by a demure young thing in a mini-skirt, coquettish pinafore, bunny ears and thigh-high boots?
At Akihabara's Maidreamin' Cafés, giggly waitresses dressed as French maids—an image that's been popularized in manga and anime, as well as cosplay (costume play)—insure you're master of your domain, complete with your own animal ears.
"Welcome home, Master/Mistress,” they'll coo when you enter. At some cafés, maids play cards or video games with customers and perform services like spoon-feeding and back massages—in full clothing—for additional fees, of course.
My dessert came shaped like a turtle: a mound of green tea ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup on a bed of whipped cream, with jelly-candy "legs" and a cherry on top. Before digging in, I followed 16-year-old Daisy in some ritualistic finger-play accompanied by a high-pitched blessing designed to make my dessert more delicious. Kneeling by my table, Daisy stirred cream into my coffee and invited me to chant along. “Kyun kyun!” she yodeled. For an extra fee, she posed for a picture.
Considering I paid 1,000-yen to enter Akihabara's Head Maidreamin Café, 1,500 yen for food and drink, and 5,000 yen for a photo, my one-hour visit was hardly cheap. Yet looking back, it was $30 well spent for an experience available nowhere else but Japan.