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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Royal/T Café: Beyond the Realm of Otaku

Looks like a maid cafe is not unique to Japan any longer.  Along with growing attention to Japanese pop culture, maid cafes are emerging around the world.  Royal/T Café is one of them.  It is located in Los Angels.  Yes, United States of America, my friends :-)

Last month when I was in LA for business, I visited there for the first time.  It was my very first experience visiting a maid cafe outside Japan.  How was it?  Well.......  it was nothing like any maid cafes that I have seen in Japan.  Indeed, I am not sure if I should call this place maid cafe, or pop culture cafe.

The bright interior with a tall bare wood roofing provides fresh atmosphere to the cafe.  Walls are decorated with modern art pieces, and there is a small shop area where they sell cool fashion & pop culture items.  There is a DJ booth where actual DJ was playing club music as BGM.  Customers were all couples or families: I think I was the only one who was there alone.  Yes, waitresses were all dressed in maid costumes and there were Japanese style foods and drinks on the menu, but I did not feel any sense of "otaku" that I feel in many maid cafes. :-p

I think Royal/T has evolved maid cafe out from realm of otaku, and took it to the completely different level where anybody can visit and enjoy.  I think it is an interesting case to study when we talk about evolution of the maid cafes.  While I don't think this will be the final form of the maid cafes, it will surely be one of the future forms.

Royal/T Café

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