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.
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.
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. ^_^;
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.