Maid Train

8 Nov

Have you ever heard of Tokyo’s “Maid Cafes“?
These cafes, mostly located in the Otaku (geek) paradise of the 秋葉原 (Akihabara) section of Tokyo, are staffed by young women dressed in “French maid” outfits who greet the customers by saying 「お帰りなさいませご主人様」 (“Welcome home, master”).
They also draw cute pictures on the food with ketchup and play games with the customers.

Some people say that Japan’s bar-hostesses and cafe maids are both a kind of modern-day geisha.
Maybe it’s an “only-in Japan phenomenon”, but hostesses, cafe maids, and geisha all have in common that their purpose is to entertain customers (usually male) in certain eating and drinking establishments…but, contrary to a popular belief in Western countries, they have nothing to do with prostitution.

Well, the financially struggling Seibu Train Line that connects 埼玉県 (Saitama Prefecture) to 東京都 (Tokyo) has decided to try and take advantage of the popularity of maid cafes to attract more passengers to use their trains.

Beginning 2010 December 11, they will have a limited number of  「メイド・トレイン」 (“Maid Trains“).

These trains will be staffed by “maids” similar to the ones in maid cafes who will serve food and drinks and they will also make all of the train’s announcements.
Passengers will also have a chance to pay to have their photo taken with the maids (the same service is available at maid cafes).

Personally I have never been to a maid cafe. And I have no plans to ride the “maid train” either.
How about you? Have you ever visited one of Japan’s maid cafes? Or would you like to?
Would you ride the maid train?

14 Responses to “Maid Train”

  1. jaydeejapan November 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    I have no desire to go to a maid cafe or maid train. However, my mom and sister want to visit me in Japan next year, and I bet my sister would get a kick out of a maid cafe. She tends to be an adventurous person who’ll do anything. She likes video games, too, so she’ll probably want to go to Akihabara. And she’s 41.


    • tokyo5 November 16, 2010 at 12:03 am #

      Will it be their first visit to Japan?


      • jaydeejapan November 16, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

        My sister’s first time, but my mom’s second.


      • tokyo5 November 16, 2010 at 11:23 pm #

        What did your mother like best about Japan?


      • jaydeejapan November 19, 2010 at 12:50 am #

        She loved Asakusa. That was her favourite place.


      • tokyo5 November 19, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

        Asakusa is fun…especially when one of the many festivals is happening there.

        Did your mother see any festivals in Japan?


      • jaydeejapan November 21, 2010 at 12:20 am #

        No, she didn’t get to see any. We went to a few museums, parks, gardens, shrines, temples and major tourist places, though.


      • tokyo5 November 21, 2010 at 12:32 am #

        I bet she enjoyed it.

        But if their visit to Japan coincides with any festivals, you should take them, I think.
        Asakusa, in particular, has many great festivals.


      • jaydeejapan November 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

        I’ll have to keep that in mind. It’s likely they’ll come in the fall, though. Maybe around October.


      • tokyo5 November 23, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

        >Maybe around October.

        If they’re here on November 3rd, there’s an excellent festival in Asakusa called 「東京時代祭り」 (“Tokyo Era Festival”).


  2. Bryn November 9, 2010 at 6:56 pm #

    I think it’s a great idea, those girls are adorable, and Seibu is the line I use most often, so I’ll definitely have to check out the Maid Train.


    • tokyo5 November 9, 2010 at 11:21 pm #

      If you want to ride a “Maid Train”, you need to make a reservation.
      Not every train on the Seibu Line is a “Maid Train”.


  3. gigihawaii November 8, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

    I hate that sort of waitresses. They would make me very uncomfortable. Too cute, too phony-baloney! I would shun such an eating establishment.

    I dine at a lot of different restaurants, but generally prefer fine dining, served by well-dressed waiters who are friendly and courteous and knowledgeable about the courses they are serving.


    • tokyo5 November 9, 2010 at 12:02 am #

      As I mentioned above, I don’t have much interest in visiting a maid cafe or train either.
      But they don’t strike me as particularly “phoney”…those places are just for the experience and seem to attract many people.

      But to me, because America has a custom of tipping waitresses, they’re the ones who seem “phoney” and fake in an attempt to get a bigger tip.
      That was my impression on my last visit to America.

      >(I) generally prefer fine dining

      That’s the type of place that makes me uncomfortable. I enjoy places like 居酒屋 (izakaya “blue-collar” type restaurants).


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