Cute cafe or weird tourist trap?
A maid cafe in Shibuya. They’ll call you “Master” or “Princess” based on your gender, put on shows, and do little magic spells to your food that has been prepared with maximum cuteness.
Japan has a unique culture and it’s probably safe to say Maid cafes would only be born in place like Japan. Generally if you speak to someone who has been to one, you will either get the response that it was a fun, cute experience or a weird tourist trap. Let’s try to examine both perspectives:
Cute Cafe: You came to Maidreamin to enjoy some cute desserts.
Weird Tourist Trap: You came to Maidreamin because you heard it was a weird, maybe fun thing to do in Japan.
Cute Cafe: You brought some open minded friends with you, here to enjoy whatever unexpected comes out of the experience.
Weird Tourist Trap: You dragged some friends with you who were somewhat reluctant and slightly embarrassed to go and would never go on their own.
Cute Cafe: You meet the cute, sweet and young waitress with an unnecessarily high pitched voice. You chit chat, depending on your level of Japanese and their level of English.
Weird Tourist Trap: You meet the cute, sweet and young waitress with an unnecessarily high pitched voice. You look at your friends awkwardly not sure how to respond.
Cute Cafe: You look at the menu. Every food, dessert and drink option is cutely themed and decorated. When your food and drinks arrive, you can’t wait to take photos to post on instagram.
Weird Tourist Trap: You look at the menu, force yourself to pick something that looks appetizing. When your food and drinks arrive, you pause for a moment to consider if you should eat something that is staring back at you with cute eyes.
Cute Cafe: You chit chat more with the waitresses, they cast a spell on your food and give you bunny ears to wear. You laugh, clap and cheer together as they perform some jpop and anime songs on a small stage.
Weird Tourist Trap: You try not to stare awkwardly around you as you silently judge other guests in the establishment, whether they are other tourists or locals. You start to question your decision to come here.
Cute Cafe: You end your experience by taking a photo with the cute waitress, on your way out, making sure you have your best shots of cute food and friends to get ready to post on instagram.
Weird Tourist Trap: You decide you should get the most out of this experience by taking photos to show your friends “hey look at this weird thing i did in Japan” before leaving.
So where do you think you will fall? Maidreamin, like any other restaurant or entertainment place is a business here to make money. You can enjoy the experience if you come with an open mind and are a fan of kawaii culture. If thats not the type of person you are, you may be better served at some of the other “adult” oriented entertainment in the Shibuya area. Or just go and have a drink. Drinking is always recommended for a good time.
Just like going to a club or bar, your experience can vary depending on the time you go and how the vibe is during that time. Dead and empty? May feel like a tourist trap. When its full of tourists and locals joining in on the fun it can be a memorable experience.