Some exciting news coming out of the Launceston Miniature Anime Island Convention (MAICON) that they will be running a Maid Cafe. For those who don’t know what Maid Cafes are, they’re a cafe where the staff are dressed in maid costumes, mostly similar to what you’d see in some period drama set in the late 19th or early 20th century. The mode of address the staff take towards patrons is meant to be what sets these types of cafes apart – that they treat you like the master or mistress of a manor welcoming you home. There are of course a lot of variations and divergences within this – from hyper cute zaniness to the refined sophistication aspiring to a type of sanctuary from the information overload of a busy city street,
While I’ve only been to two maid cafe’s on previous trips to Akihabara – the ground zero of the Maid Cafe boom – I’ve already noticed three key challenges that these places have: that they’re juggling three spaces, all of which need to work in harmony.
1. the space of a general cafe/restuarant visit (they have to still have a decent menu and the trappings of a normal cafe)
2. the space of a theme based cafe/restaurant (obviously the cosplay the staff are doing, the type of fictional world they’re trying to create, and cultural references they’re drawing upon – e.g.: rustic French villa vs hyper-cute fictional ‘forest’ setting with maids in bunny ears)
3. the imaginary space within pop culture theme that the cafe is trying to generate (that is, that ‘magical’ moment where you join the mood and imagining going on in that place and lose yourself in it).
For more on this idea listen in to the chat I had with 936 ABC Hobart radio host Leon Compton where I was joined by Deanna Roach who is organising the Maid Cafe at Launceston https://soundcloud.com/936-abc-hobart/popculture
For a longer chat between Deanna and myself listen in to the on demand restream of my Pop Cosmopolitan radio show here:
We’re exploring the world of themed cafes, particularly the phenomenon of Maid Cafes which are increibly popular in areas such as Akihabara in Tokyo.
MAICON maid cafe info: http://www.aicon.org.au/maicon-maid-cafe-bookings/
AICON facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/AnimeIsland
Pop Cosmopolitan Radio Show (EDGE RADIO) http://www.edgeradio.org.au/program/pop-cosmopolitan/restream/
936 ABC Hobart Radio segment: Popular Culture with Dr Craig Norris: https://soundcloud.com/936-abc-hobart/popculture