Monday, November 12, 2007

Heart on a plate

During my first visit to a maid cafe I got to witness otaku (geek) love first hand in the form of a balding 30-year-old man crafting a love poem, illustrated with a picture of a kitten, to his favourite maid. The message was written with cranberry cream around the edges of his plate. At first I thought his affections had been swayed by the tiny maid serving us whose charm point was a dainty run across the cafe to meet prospective customers - arms pinned to her sides and eyes glued subserviently to the floor. I then noticed an even cuter maid in glasses who seemed to be skulking about kitchen door and concluded that the love letter was probably meant for her and she was taking time out from her stalker. She probably heartlessly dunked his tender missive straight in the suds without reading a word.
Although the whole Victorian-era maid cosplay thing was undeniably fun, it seemed to me that the maid phenomenon is now so popular that the cafes just aren't trying any more. The place (Cute M, Akihabara) had a shoddy, half-finished look about it. The only attempt at original decoration was a pitiful wall display of red feathers stuck amateurishly to a grubby wall with glue in the shape of a lopsided heart. I was prepared to be fleeced for the overpriced 1,000 yen (about £5) cake and drink set, but I thought they'd try a bit harder with the ambiance. In the queue to the entrance I met some girls going together with their mum, when I asked why they were going, they didn't seem sure themselves and answered that they “wanted to see what the fuss was about”. Perhaps the otakus will soon be driven out by family groups and gaijin sightseers like myself, which should be good news for the maid in the glasses.

No comments: