Tag Archives: maid

Tomo Neko Maid Cafe, Interview with Maid Rachael

Maid cafe popularity in my area (Southern California) has risen exponentially in the past decade, with the rise in popularity of butler cafes following suit. These trends tend to boom with every release of a maid/butler themed anime. I felt it was time to take a better look at maid cafes and see what the hubub is all about. Please note; traditionalists realize that 99.9% of everything done in America will have an American twist to it!

I had a chance to shoot Maid Rachael some questions after finding out a pop-up Maid/Butler cafe was in the works as the main theme of an event.

She's a 2D girl, living in a 3D world.

California, especially Los Angeles has a few decent maid cafes. What separates Tomo Neko Maid Cafe from other pop-up-events?

At Tomo Neko, we pride ourselves most in our uniqueness and creativity. Traditional maid cafes are generally light meals being served by cute girls. For Tomo Neko we’ve decided to add a fun twist to this by incorporating other elements of otaku and geek culture such as gaming, comedy, musical performances, and a few other surprises. We’ve really gone all out and expect customers will enjoy this unique experience – even if they’re already a cafe veteran.

When it comes to the maids and butlers, we’re also trying something a little different. Each one will be acting as a specific character with a unique personality, with outfits to match their individuality.

Kato is busy setting up the Sorry! board.


What made you want to get involved in a maid cafe? Was it difficult work putting this all together?

All of our staff members were just a group of friends first. Many of us recent college graduates. We all met as part of a local anime/manga fan group. At its start, the maid cafe idea was simply something to do for fun. Then the Japan disasters struck. That was when we realized that we could use our once informal event to help out. We got serious.

This is the first charity event we’ve ever organized! Which includes its own excitement and challenges. Many factors that appeared “easy” at first, very often proved themselves more complex and detailed over time. After completing one task, we’d discover 10 new ones yet to do. I don’t think any of us have slept much since March. ^_^;

All delays are to be blamed on Maid Saiyaka*

What would you like as an outcome for the maid cafe?
First, we want everyone to have fun and enjoy the atmosphere we’ll be creating. If customers feel as though they’ve been transported to a different world, one more elegant, charming, and exciting than our typical lives, then we’ll have succeeded.

Second, we would love the event to be a total success as a fundraiser so we can support Japan in their time of need as much as possible. And if we can raise awareness and aid for Japan while simultaneously introducing folk to some of their culture, all the better.

A portion of the proceeds are going to a Japan earthquake and tsunami relief fund…
Our charity of choice is the Yoshiki Foundation. More about them can be found here.

How do you think the damages Japan has faced has affected the Otaku community? How do you feel it’s affected you?

The otaku community has of course been deeply affected by this. There’s no way it couldn’t have been. For many of us, the fandom has changed our lives is such a positive way. I know it has for me. Through that, we have formed a connection to the country and its people. To hear that the place of origin that has given us such joy through their creations is now in a time of need:

Now is the time for us to give back.

As a maid, what are you favorite activities to engage in with your patrons?
What a tough question! There’ll be so many thing to do that day, from board games, to sharing the home-made cupcakes I’ll personally be baking.
If I had to choose… I’d say it’d be introducing the talent that I booked. You’re all in for a treat. From our; LA J-pop group the Ajuku Girls , anime con winning comedians
the mesmerizing sword wielding Geta Dance, originally created by Miyuki – there’s some amazing things to see. I can’t wait to show you.

Sugar cubes or honey?
Honey, of course. ^_~*

Special thanks to Maid Rachael for allowing me to pester her with questions. If anyone is interested in the Tomo Neko Maid Cafe, check out their website. If you are in the Southern California area over the weekend the event is being held on Sunday May 1st in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles at the Miyako Hotel.

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru 02 thoughts

Is this a fun show? Sure.

Is this show exciting? Not really.

Is it a slice of life (an overabused term)? I guess so.

So…What’s this show about?

In a small Japanese town city, there lives a girl with plenty of energy, nearly always on the happyside (almost tripping) and manages to come up with silly ideas that makes the audience smile. You know one of these silly girls. She works at a recently converted maid cafe. The owner, an old lady(?) who has watched her growing up, decided to convert it into a maid cafe because “oh, it’s popular”.

In today’s episode, Hotori battles a world that turns itself against her. Her home life is loud and annoying, her ideas get turn down at work and all the old guys in town are hoping to see her boobs get bigger. Is there anything more slice-of-lifery than that?

Not hardly. Althought the reviews across the anisphere are less than enthusiastic, I personally think it’s a tiny little bit refreshing change from the usual stuff. I do have to admit, it’s a little bland.

You know the disease that movie critics get because they watched so many movies that they’re never impressed with anything, even if the anything means Star Wars, Titanic and even Citizen Kane? NO, of course I’m not comparing this particular show with these movies. I’m just saying, as I’m getting back to the basics of living without the extravagance, I’ve become more appreciative for small shows like these or shows that sticks to the basics of a genre.

Oh and, the shots up Hotori’s ass gets a little bit distracting for a non-service show. But what the heck. The silly and energic girl next door will probably cheer enough people up in this shitty year. And that’s a perfectly good charming point.

Ladies VS Butlers 4 – FUNdamental Otaku Goodness

You know, it’s been such a long time to see pure fan service goodness without elements such as twisted plots, lame attempts for innovation, flashing pictures showing scenes at awkward angles (no I’m not talking about Eva) or any orchestral music reaching way too high (not even up a skirt) in attempts to achieve a sense of “better service show with a heart”. Maybe there were some other shows like such in the past few seasons, but few do everything so well and so successfully as this one.

Continue reading Ladies VS Butlers 4 – FUNdamental Otaku Goodness

Queen’s Blade S2 07 – silly mixed with poignant

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If your best friend is simply way too naive, so much so that it may cost his or her life, what would you do?
Yeah, it’s true. Maybe you should let it go. Let him or her suffer the consequences. After all, it’s not your life.
But it’s life or death. It is really life or death. You plead and you beg, but her weakness remains. With such a heavy load – a mission to save the entire country – on her shoulders, it’s simply unforgivable.

Shizuka gives up her life and let Tomoe kill her in battle. In older days, sometimes, only the death of one’s closest friend or family member can help one understand the seriousness of it.

The first time I heard Shizuka’s monologue, it was so painful, so painful. It really sounded like Nabame (the seiyuu behind Shizuka) was saying it from her heart. Knowing the fact that there is yuri love going on with Nabame and Ma-chan (Tomoe’s seiyuu), it makes everything so much more poignant.

Yeah, I know. It’s just a show. But for some people, it may be just as painful to see. Maybe there are people out there who asked and begged their best friends to stop dating that person; to stop getting wasted every night; to stop doing whatever the activities or to simply shape up, and fall into utter despair when the best friends do it again and again and again, and just can’t stop…

Moving away from serious stuff. Nanael and Airi have become pure comedic reliefs. Airi really, really likes her shota – hey, she’s found someone to keep her company and to make her feel good, that twin-tailed tsundere ghoul. All the more power to her. It’s so funny and somehow so touching to watch Airi and Lana interact. It’s just awesome to see tsunderes breakdown and turn from tsun to dere. Blushing, going naked from moment to moment dere. Superb.

There is a real human side to every one of these sometimes helplessly naked female warriors. But in a fierce fight, clothing do get torn off. Ah, I digress. It’s surprising how the amount of motivations and characteristics each warrior has.

All the naked boobs are just icing on the cake now. I can’t believe how much substance the writers behind this show pumped into it!

Yeah, I know. It’s just Queen’s Blade and it can’t be taken seriously. Then don’t read any further and thanks for reading this far.

Continue reading Queen’s Blade S2 07 – silly mixed with poignant

Meidonomics

Pat Galbraith has an interesting article about how maid cafes are a bulwark of stability in these troubled economic times.

He dryly notes, “Maids in the original sense are not sex workers, though this is perhaps not always the case at the 200-plus cafes around the country.”

This I find interesting. Though it may be a one-sided perception, there has long been a sense of exotic sexuality tentatively attached to cosplay in the West. It’s not new; as far back as Richard Feynman’s 1985 autobiography, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! one finds a well-educated Westerner at a nice Japanese inn uncertain as to whether or not the kimono-clad attendant is going to provide sexual favors. How much more confusing, then, would one find it at what is often translated into English as a “fetish cafe”?

It’s not hard to think of the supply of willing maids in familiar terms: just as waitresses in Los Angeles are often aspiring actresses, Galbraith writes of the maids, “most do it because they enjoy it, but a lucky few can become cosplay idols.”  Given that this fits the mindset so well, is it any surprise that Los Angeles has its own maid cafe?

For the Japanese otaku, perhaps personal interaction is at the heart of it. In an increasingly isolated society, people are starved for personal interaction. Japan, with its workaholic culture leading to deaths of karoshi, can only feel this problem more acutely.  Twitter, Facebook, and all social media – including, yes, blogs – aim to provide people with regular interaction. This would seem to be confimed: Galbraith reports that many customers are regulars.

Is it really very different from going to Starbucks because you chat with the barista, or going to the local pub where the bartender knows what you like? The more people hold up these behaviors as examples of how otaku differ from normal society, the more apparent it is that they see differences primarily because they want to see them.