Manhattan imports a Japanese taste for quirky cafes filled with young Asian women.
Manhattan recently became home to a new Japanese import called maid cafés, an establishment that caters to otaku, a subculture in Japan that is obsessed by manga and anime. The all-female waitstaff at Maid Café are beautiful, young Asian women outfitted in what appears to be clothes from a little girl’s wardrobe. Staff also greet customers with a “Welcome home, master” and generally act cute, servile, and far younger than their actual age.
The cafe is typically full of 25 to 30-year-old men who are unafraid to admit what attracted them to the shop. One customer shared with Gothamist: “I’ve seen them in anime videos before. The girls are acting so cute. I’m, like, really into that. My girlfriend’s also Japanese and really cute.”
Maid cafes originated in Akihabara, Tokyo, a district known for stores that offer mountains of anime and manga. It may also come as a surprise that the one in New York is actually a toned-down version of “cosplay” restaurants (costume restaurants) in Japan. More extreme versions usually offer hygiene services, fully-clothed massages, and spoon-feeding – to name just a few of the more obscure practices.
For those concerned about the safety and/or intention of the women who work at the Maid Café in Chinatown, customers aren’t allowed to touch the waitresses, speak to them outside of working hours, or try and get hold of their contact information.
Images: Maid Cafe NYC