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MAID CAFE IN TOKYO JAPAN: ANGEL & DEMONS, CAFE BAR PRAY. CUTE COSPLAY COSTUMES, WEIRD RESTAURANTS IN AKIHABARA.


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O, the bizarre world of Japanese maid cafes! Since I photographed and wrote about the phenomenon in my Tokyo Theme Restaurants book, the Dutch Pepsi TV show wanted to shoot at an Akihabara cosplay cafe. Naomi and I made arrangements with Cafe Bar Pray, a newcomer with an Angels and Demons theme.

Here, half of the servers are innocent seraphs, and the rest are devilishly cute temptresses. Which side of the counter would you sit on?

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Naturally, I chose the dark side. My outfit theme was Evil Queen Step-Mother.
Long trailing Goth dress: gifted from Lip Service
Victorian tulip choker: gifted from Yifat Aharoni
Long lace gloves: Spider, Hong Kong Lolita brand
Hair clip: Daiso

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I bonded with the cafe manager, Tamao, over our orange hair. He’s a pro at mugging for the camera.

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The adorable “Raphael” is the number one maid in Akihabara. (Yes, there’s an annual contest for Japanese maids!)

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Each maid has a fake name, age (most are hundreds of years old), and rank in the heavenly hierarchy. Pick your favorite. She’ll give you her name card and prepare her special cocktail.

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The maids charm the customers with games, skits, and light-hearted conversation.

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Cafe Bar Pray is my new favorite. You’re allowed to take photos inside, the decor is swanky, and there’s a relaxed, anything-goes atmosphere. A nice change from the typical tense otaku hangouts.

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The Dutch TV host, Bo, got dolled up like an angel.

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We taught her how to make cute poses and decorate Polaroid photos for her admirers.

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Can you guess who was our favorite customer-boy?

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At Cafe Bar Pray, it doesn’t matter if you choose good or evil. You’ll be smiling from the moment the girls greet you with “Yokoso!”

The Dutch Pepsi TV shoot was great fun. Don’t forget to check out my behind-the-scenes photos and videos in this and this post. There’s more madness to come.

Have you ever been to a maid cafe? Would you want to visit one? Which angel or devil is your favorite?

Japanese Word of the Day: Kokuren = United Nations
Song of the Day: Era – The Mass (Carmina Burana and Gregorian chants meet dance beats!)

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40 Comments

  1. Posted December 12, 2010 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    I don’t know why but the concept of Maid cafes greatly unsettles me. I guess it has something to do with being so used to North American wait staff, or that I have a complete aversion to little games and the overtly cutesy. (how I will I ever function in Japan?)

    • Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Maid cafes sound slightly sketchy, but I think once you’re there, it’s fun and harmless… certainly, one must have an affinity for cuteness!

  2. Posted December 12, 2010 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    I can see why Raphael would be number one. If only they had girls like that over here stateside. >.<
    There's a "maid cafe" over here at FanimeCon, but it doesn't seem very interesting. I would definitely visit a maid cafe if I entered Japan. ^^

  3. Posted December 12, 2010 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    This is another place on my places to go whenever I go to japan.

    • Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      It’s probably the best maid cafe I’ve visited thus far. The owner is my orange-haired buddy!

  4. Posted December 12, 2010 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    That’s place looks so cool! Once again your make-up is FAAbulous! And your outfit is AMAZING!!

    • Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Thanks darrrrrling :)

  5. Posted December 12, 2010 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Oh BOY. You just made my day.

    Who would I choose the angel or demon. Why I’d choose both of course? So I guess I’d sit right in the middle in between the delightful angel with the 2 pony tails with the green ribbons in her hair, and the oh-so-sinister temptress with the 2 pony tails with the black ribbons in her hair. With those two right by my side – it’d be like having a 2nd conscious.

    shadow do this…no don’t do that! HAHAHA – oh how fun!

    Will I ever go to a maid cafe? ……………………………………………………..I wish I could. And if I’m close to one I certainly will as long as no kin of mine is near by haha. Because then it wouldn’t be too good for me.

    As for favorite customer boy…the one in the middle?

    But boy would I just love to enter the place and smile right away. (sigh!) soon…soon…(which possibly means 7 years or so sadly)

    • Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      We took the Norwegian TV show to this maid cafe as well… so there are more photos coming up!

  6. Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Oh wow that’s a cool place! You look fantastic. Funny that you met Bo. I’m Dutch so this is like fandoms colliding for me. lol :)

    • Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Bo is very sweet! It was fun to introduce her to Tokyo pop culture.

  7. Posted December 12, 2010 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    great entry ! i love your black lips ^_^

    • Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Thanks! It’s fun to dress evil haah xoxo

  8. Posted December 12, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    great entry, like always!

    1sr point: I simply love your ouffit, elegant and sexy and the same time, amazing

    2nd point: sometimes, always in fact, I wish I could find awesome places like this one in Madrid, but it’s kinda impossible because of our culture. Spain and Japan don’t have a lot in common so for spanish people is really hard to understand these kind of things. Anyway I’m really glad to know your blog because you make me feel a bit closer to the things I like. (I dunno if this makes sense lol but I hope you know what I wanted to say)

    Have a really nice day!!!
    xoxo

    • Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      That makes sense – and makes me happy! xo

  9. Posted December 12, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Maid cafes scare the crab out of me.

    But the dress is lovely (on you)!

    • Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      This maid cafe is very friendly and fun though! I think they did a great job of making people feel welcome and not creeped out haah

  10. Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    That dress is AMAZING! See ya in Houston soon! <3

  11. Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    That dress is AMAZING! See ya in Houston soon! <3

  12. Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    very nice. you are doing well.

  13. Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    very nice. you are doing well.

  14. Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Adorable

  15. Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Adorable

  16. Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Yes yes yes Raphael. Cutest. Ever. *nibbles*

  17. Posted December 12, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I cannot squeeze in all of these places in 2 weeks. ahahaha.

  18. Posted December 12, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Is it the cute long haired boy staring directly into the camera? (or IS it a girl? I don’t know (good thing *drool*))

    I don’t know if I would go to a maid café. I think I’d feel like a sexually confused boy if I go to a maid café because I’m gay… Though I also think it’d be great fun see the whole thing happening in RL because it’s such a weird concept for westerns.

    • Posted December 13, 2010 at 6:09 am | Permalink

      haha that’s a boy… ;) gotta love the androgynes

  19. Posted December 13, 2010 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    I think the girly on the left in the first picture on your blog is the cutest :3. I want one!!

  20. Posted December 13, 2010 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    Did you ever visit the Western men butlers cafe in Shibuya? Don’t think I’ve seen you write about it, and I’m sure you’d enjoy it! I used to work there, and they’re always happy to get some media attention.

  21. Posted December 13, 2010 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    Absolutely GORGEOUS!!!!! I love it. <3

  22. Posted December 13, 2010 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    Oh you look so thin and elegant in that dress! I’m jealous XD

    I think its kinda cool you’re allowed to take pictures inside the cafe. Maybe more places like this will open up and allow a quick photo here or there. Being a photographer in love with Japanese culture is a bit of a curse. I want to visit someday but I know I’d want to take lots of photos and I’d probably be turned down a lot if I asked XD;;

  23. Posted December 13, 2010 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Stunning. Even moreso than usual.

  24. Posted December 13, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Evil Queen Step-Mother, your make-up is fabulous!

  25. Posted December 13, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    La Carmina, you look amazing!:D I like the customer-boy = 3=b. Is it just me or does Raphael look a little European? -sigh- My favorite maid is the one with glasses and striped arm warmers, pretty much all of the dark side!
    Is there an age requirement for a maid cafe? xD

    • Posted December 14, 2010 at 2:51 am | Permalink

      So cute, all the maids! Nope, there’s no age requirement for a maid cafe, but some of them have alcohol and I don’t think they’d serve you if you look too young ;)

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