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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Maileaf: Legitimate Successor of Maid Cafes

More than 10 years have passed since the first maid cafe was born in Akihabara... Maid cafe enthusiasts around me says that a maid cafe is no longer a craze but has reached a realm of culture.... If you see various maid cafes from cultural standpoint, you see unique or sometime unexpected lineage between them. Yes, maid cafes are not randomly generated entities, but rather evolving into new forms as new cafes open. I believe Maileaf, which is a young maid cafe that has been open only for an year or so, can be entitled as a legitimate successor of maid cafes.

Maileaf is located in Osu, close to Nagoya which is a capital of Aichi prefecture. Yes, it is not in Akihabara, or even in Tokyo. Akihabara is where the fist maid cafe was born. Ikebukuro is also famous for maid and butler cafes. Some of you might know Nippon-bashi in Osaka, which is another famous otaku district in west. Why Osu? Well, Osu is actually another relatively large otaku district in Japan. Located in between Tokyo and Osaka, it is building up its unique otaku culture. It is recently gaining popularity by international cosplay summit which takes place in summer. Also, Osu has played an important role in a history of maid cafes. According to what I heard from other maid cafe enthusiasts, “Okaerinasaimase Goshujin-sama”, or “Welcome back, my master.” which is the most popular and widely used greeting in maid cafes, was first used in M's Melody, the oldest maid cafe in Osu.

So, why do I call Maileaf as a legitimate successor of maid cafes? Well, this cafe has ALL. It is basically a classical style maid cafe, green but long skirt maid outfit with calm interiors. Wide variety of tea selections and excellent sweets. Excellent for classical maid lovers who enjoy calm environment. Well, then those of you who smokes and enjoys alcohol shall not go here? No. There is a smoking area upstairs where there is a bar counter and there is a maid working inside the counter. Yes, this cafe has both characteristics of classical maid cafes and moe-style maid cafes. You can enjoy tea and sweets like in classical maid cafes, but also enjoy alcohol and have chat and take pictures with maids like moe-style maid cafes. Usually, it is difficult to combine both characteristics into one cafe, but this cafe has succeeded to combine them under excellent balance.

How was it possible? As far as I know, one of the “keepers” (4 head maids are called “house keepers”) who was also a founding member of this cafe, was a HARDCORE MAID CAFE ENTHUSIAST. Worked as a maid herself, she has gone to not only Osu maid cafes, but also to the maid cafes in Nipponbashi and Akihabara. With her counterparts, she wanted to combine good parts of different maid cafes into this new maid cafe. So far, I should say they have COMPLETELY SUCCEEDED. Maileaf is now the most evolved maid cafe that has combined blood of various maid cafes in three otaku districts in Japan.

If you are over in Japan and passing by Nagoya, I highly recommend you to stop by Osu and visit Maileaf and other maid cafes. It is a definitely new frontier for maid might encounter another new evolution of maid cafe culture.


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