Kowai means scary. Kawaii means cute. The phonetic similarity evokes the way a lion cub can be adorable even though it is capable of ripping your face off… or how visual indicators of cuteness can be heightened out of all proportion and end up slightly terrifying.
There are Japanese girls dressed as maids in the streets of Akihabara. While I'm sure some of them are dressed as maids for the fun of it, the majority are wearing their uniforms and trying to attract business for whichever maid cafe they work at. Yep, a cafe, staffed by girls in cartoon maid costumes. Sounds pretty nifty, huh?
One girl, in a blue dress with a white pinafore and a bunch of semi-coordinating hair accessories, waves us into a hallway. Down the hall and one right turn later, we are looking at a sign with pictures of girls in blue dresses and white pinafores with lots of stuff on their heads, and 6F in the corner. Elevator to the sixth floor to MaiDreamin it is, then. I do wonder if the name is an intentional pun. The elevator door opens and girls start freaking out. They're either force fed large amounts of caffeine and sugar before their shift or they really love their jobs. Possibly both.
There is a bit of chanting and ritualized hand waving, and then our waitress takes us to our table in the excessively lit dining area. She picks up a battery operated candle and blows on it. It does not light up. Presumably it is supposed to light up, because she looks flustered. She shakes it and continues to blow on it until it eventually does spring to life. She then sets it on the table, picks it back up, and disappears. We survey the landscape from our plastic chairs in the *Forest Area* and it looks grim in a very saccharine way. The place looks like a deranged Care Bear was hired to supervise the interior design of a kindergarten. Matt's response is that it looks like his worst nightmare. Did I mention that he has to walk through Tokyo Disney to get to work? There is, however, a small stage in the middle of the room and I'm holding on to the hope that
something entertaining or ridiculous will happen on it. After all, there are frilly bloomers hanging out of the bottom of these maid costumes so there's still the chance that we've wandered into an extremely bizarre strip club.
Our waitress returns with a laminated menu. I order a Kahlua-milk, which turns out fairly well, and Matt ends up with a rum & coke that, in his opinion, tastes like date rape. There is another chanting-waving ritual before we're allowed to touch our drinks, followed by a request that we order food. A Kitty Vanilla Sundae sounds like a safe option, and Matt points to a sign with a chunk of meat on a stick.
A young man in an oversized white dress shirt is ushered in and seated on the opposite side of the room. His eyelids droop, his head droops with them, and he supports his chin on a set of scabby knuckles. I begin to regret my toast of "To exploring weird shit!" The food arrives. It turns out that Kitty Vanilla Sundaes are very cute but not a safe option at all as they come covered in chalky tasting sauce that looks deceptively like chocolate. Also, the maraschino cherries are booby trapped. Matt's stick meat appears to be mystery meatloaf shaped into an approximation of a turkey leg, held together by intestine, and speared on each end with a bone. I think we've stumbled upon the Pokemon version of Soylent Green.
One of the other girls on the staff climbs onto the stage and starts
talking into a microphone. I get really excited. Hand gestures and chanting start up again. The lights dim, something must be about to happen. The chanting stops and she steps off of the stage. Silence.
I guess that was the light dimming ritual. I quietly say "Take it off?" and get no response.
The only thing left to do here, aside from listen to Matt's Pokemon dinner protest loudly at finding itself in a human stomach, is to get a polaroid with the waitress and get the hell out of there. I do believe that one should always take the opportunity to pay a woman for the privilege of taking an innocent polaroid with them. This may have something to do with the fact that Fleshlights and Polaroids pay my
Upon arriving home, research on the internet revealed that we ended up at the TGI Fridays of maid cafes and MaiDreamin was not an average specimen. However, they are still not strip clubs.
Tomorrow: The Big Fat 0
[This post is a part of Fleshbot's Stoya Week.]