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Our First Maid Cafe

February 3, 2017

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Uhhhh…whut?

Ok, I’ll stop acting confused now. Though I wasn’t acting when I was there. I was genuinely thrown off with my first experience at a maid cafe. It’s been a few weeks since we filmed this video, and I’m not as overwhelmed as I was before. And I think I’ve found a new appreciation for maid cafes that I couldn’t see at first.

Walking in there for me was bizarre. Everyone speaking higher pitched, people were dancing, music was blaring. It was all a sensory overload, and – though I’m playful an silly – this was just weird to me. Tacky. I couldn’t see what the appeal of a maid cafe was…until I started paying attention to other customers.

What I found interesting is how regular folks go there. A couple of older guys came in, separately, and both looked really tired at first. One was wiping his head and looking down on the ground a lot. But when the maid came by, I could see him changing. He laughed a bit. He smiled when they Moe Moe Kyuuuued over his food. And when at first I thought the whole concept was weird, when I saw these other customers I started to feel like maid cafes serve a purpose. I mean, if you’ve had a shit day at work, if your boss was being difficult all day, why not have dinner at a maid cafe? Everything is brighter there, happier there. Everyone working is upbeat and playful. And, when you’re there, and you’re shaking your wand over your curry, and you’re singing spells over your omurice, you can’t help but feel a little happier, you know? The maid cafe isn’t selling food as much as it’s selling chipperness, selling a chance to step away from a shitty day and to be around happy people. I can’t fault them for that. It makes a bit more sense to me now.

I think I really opened up once I started interacting with the maids more. When she gave me a wand I thought it was going to be awkward, but I played along and suspended disbelief, and I just had fun. And in letting myself do so I liked the maid cafe a lot more.

Would I go there again? Ahh, I don’t know. I wouldn’t actively seek it out. Martina and I do our best to make each other happy when the other feels down, but if we went to a maid cafe with friends, I’d totally play along. I won’t be as confuffled as before. I’ll grab my wand and sing my songs right away!

One thing to note: if you plan on going to a maid cafe, you’re most often not allowed to shoot video. We were invited there for a press event, for the Gudetama cafe opening. The people that were shown in the video were there for press as well. However, we stayed longer than the press event, and when regular customers started to come in, we were told not to film in their direction, which we honoured. We saw some really interesting things that I wish we could have filmed! I think we saw a regular customer there who had a stamp card, and I think he got enough stamps, so he was brought on stage and all of the maids sang a song around him as he sat in the middle. It was cute. Would have been great for a video, but I understand their desire for privacy.

You can check out the Maid Cafe’s website here for directions on how to get there if you want to visit!

Otherwise, that’s it for this week’s video. We couldn’t post another video this week because we were gone for three days over the weekend and one day this week to film with another master chef, and I think this is going to be the prettiest video we’ve ever done holy smokes it was awesome. I hope you all like it when it comes out in March! Till then, we’ve got some bloopers from this week’s video as well, if you feel like some extra laughs :D

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Our First Maid Cafe

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  1. I was waiting for this for so longgggggggggggggg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    TY!!!!Amazing Video!MOOOOREEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!
    *godzilla*

    3 months ago
  2. Simon’s expression in the beginning is just like mine whenever I walk into an IKEA. So.overwhelming.

    This video is super hilarious, loved it!

    3 months ago
  3. Gude tama tama, Gude tama tama, gude gude gude tama.

    Life needs more Gudetama. Gudetama is awesome.
    I gotta ask, did you take any Gudetama themed napkins or the placemat? I’m wondering because when I went to the Hello Kitty cafe in Taiwan, I took the napkin, the coaster, and the take away cake order form as souvenirs.

    3 months ago
  4. Even as an old guy like me, I love these videos that you do of some interesting and rather special places in Japan. The sushi Saito video was absolutely beautiful and of really top quality, and a great watch. Keep it up!

    However, I have to ask, will you be returning to the Eat Your Sushi studio videos? I would love to see both. The studio vids with the weekly challenges, etc., are great to listen to as I work, truly uplifting, interesting, and really ties together an EatYourSushi community. But I don’t mean to complain, you’re producing some great content, though I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants more! I demand more free stuff that takes a lot of effort and passion from you so that I can give nothing back!

    Not demanding, just asking, because both types of videos are great. Keep up the fantastic work that you do.

    Also, I’m making you characters in my book, just sayin.

    3 months ago
  5. Simon, your face, it was the same face you had when about to use the ultimate escape clause with your dates with all the members of Girls’ Generation – LMAO! There’s not much to say about this video, it was obviously a press event (even without you saying it) and kind of clickbaitish. Was Martina the only woman in there? I’m super glad that you guise are getting to film such once-in-a-lifetime experiences but I have to say that I really enjoyed your every day videos much more. You once said that you didn’t like doing all the tourist-y stuff and just experiencing the everyday more obscure stuff but now all of your videos seem like the opposite. Are you being prevented from filming in more mundane locations? Like, what’s it like to go into a super giant department store in Tokyo? Grocery shopping? Farmers’ market? Convenience store? Have you been able to buy furniture there? IKEA? Anyways, looking forward to more videos, they’ve been few and far between as of late.

    3 months ago
    • Hmm. Well, as for shooting videos about mundane locations, I’m not sure if people like those videos, you know? We tried including clips of everyday stuff in our Eatyoursushi episodes, but we’re not doing those episodes anymore. I don’t know. I think we’re interested in showing things that we can get a story out of, a bizarre experience, or something that stands out for us. Us being excited and exciteable is needed for us to shoot a video. I’m not sure how excited we get with everyday stuff nowadays. Though maybe we can figure out a way to make it more exciting for us. Not sure yet. But it’s worth considering :)

      3 months ago
      • My comment above or below wasn’t meant to complain AT ALL about those types of videos, but just to let you know that I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the studio ESP with clips of everyday life. I have taken your ideal of “find joy and happiness in everyday things and experiences” to heart, even if it involves going to unusual places you stumble across, etc. my point is, you are appreciate even if the videos aren’t the “artistic” type, and we love seeing a peek into happy lives exploring a new (for us) world. Thanks for the good times.

        3 months ago
      • It’s hard for me to understand what you’re going through and what you actually want to do with your videos going forward since I’m not you, not there, and you’ve been much more private about your feelings on these things in the last few years. So, please forgive me if I misinterpret what little information I have at hand and for offering my unsolicited opinion. I understand, you’re kind of caught between several opposing forces. On the one hand, being considered “press” (especially in Japan) has opened so many doors for you, great super fantastic doors of awesome and of course you have to walk through them, even if you’re in a group of other people. But then you become “Reporters/Promoters: Simon and Martina” and lose a little bit of your editorial control and super candid-ness. It would have been much more enjoyable to watch the video to know up front that this was a press event than to realize it on my own and be disappointed that this wasn’t something you decided to do as a fun thing on your own (because it seems out of character, even for Martina who is both kawaii and hard edge metallic). This video makes is especially obvious that sometimes, you just have to suck it up and find the fun in it for the job, the views, and the moneyz. C’mon, you guise have to eat too, right? But you know, being part of the press means that you’re sharing your clicks with many other groups “reporting/promoting” on the same thing, most in more traditional ways, which is why it makes it a bit of a niche for you guise to be “the quirky foreign ones” coming at the subject from a different angle. And your videos are by and large, pretty fantastic, so I think it’s great. It’s probably just me that’s not in your target demographic so much any more if you’re so mainstream. On the other hand, you made super great videos about every day life, both in S.Korea and Japan. I loved the vignettes in your Eat Your Sushi episodes, they were great. What’s more, your artsy video clips were always super interesting as well. I did find that the “reporter/anchorman style” of tying everything together was kind of lame, but I’ve personally not liked that format (other than in a KMM skit style) so maybe that’s just me. Also, the videos were much longer than before and required more of a time commitment, followed a format so that I could easily skip parts that bored me, and well, there are only so many times I can watch you make faces at yucky food (the games got highly repetitive – like a Japanese variety show). I’m sure that Youtube has put you through focus groups or crunched your stats for you and maybe you didn’t get a great response on the EYS videos, but I’m 100% certain that it wasn’t the everyday videoclips that were the problem. You might want to ask Nasties to take a survey, to get a more accurate read from your own long-time audience, which let’s face it, while cool and normal people, not so much mainstream. As you get older, your needs and desires are going to evolve. What interests you or what you find fun, is going to change, it’s inevitable. Also, as you become more world travelers, it’s going to take more to grab your interest and you’re realizing that some of the tourist-y stuff is famous for a reason……and now so many more people/youtubers are trying to break into the “everyday experience” market that you kind of created that there is a bit of a glut. I wouldn’t let that scare you off though, you guys made your mark when no one else was making or watching these types of videos. The unique-ness was part of it, but your happy, optimistic, and fun approach that is built into your personalities is what made it great and can’t be imitated. I guess I thought that you really enjoyed making the films that went with EYS, if not for anyone else, then for yourselves and family at least. If you did, I think you should continue. But then there is privacy. Maybe before moving to Japan you’d been soured on having so much of your lives and yourselves out there in the public domain and decided to keep it more to yourselves. That’s too bad, but understandable, I guess. So, I’m not sure what I’m saying here any more……..I like the big-time videos AND the everyday vignettes equally. I hope that you keep making videos that you enjoy making that can keep you in food and stuffz but I hope that you stay true to your own desires and not what others are pressuring you to do. You would still have a life, and a fun one, if you got off the YouTube train entirely and went…..somewhere? Canada? Netherlands? BoraBora? Wherever, you have to believe that. Don’t sell your soul short term to plan your retirement (hyperbole), it will only feel empty if you do.

        3 months ago
        • Hah! I can’t reply to your comment so I have to reply to mine to reply to yours? While I can kind of see you guise going to a Maid Cafe for the lulz, I guess that it seems a little out of character for a) Martina as a strong self-respecting (straight) woman and b)Simon as a happily married man to go to what is really half a step away from a strip club. Cute or no. Sure hostess clubs in Japan all have varying levels of distance between the hostesses and the customer and some are quite platonic, but when I see something like “400Y extra for PREMIUM photo or PREMIUM maid” (can’t remember which), that says to me that this club is catering to a certain clientele and that they likely ain’t there for the food. I mean, this is why the waitress/maid explained the menu in such great detail – because she figured Martina would only be there as a food critic (which isn’t that far from the truth), which is when I realized that it was a press event. In terms of editorial content, I was speaking in more general terms (though it’s a nice surprise to see that you didn’t have to get approved by youtube for this video) because I didn’t get the impression that you felt free to make negative comments here, whether for personal or professional reasons. I know that you’re both very accepting and kind in pretty much all you do, but given your reactions at the beginning of the edited video, it seemed a bit of a stretch that you had NOTHING negative to say. And only a quick sentence on the food. I also felt like Martina had her smile on extra hard to compensate for you Simon. And well, it wasn’t just me. I had just started the video when my husband joined me for breaky and he took one look at Simon’s face on the screen and wordlessly took out his imaginary cellphone, and tap tap swipe, looked me straight in the eye and deadpannedly said, “Diarrhea.” I really appreciate that you took the time to reply to me and I’m not pining away for the old glorious days, honestly. I guess that I just thought that “finding the fun in the everyday” was sort of your signature and potentially what makes you so loveable to your audiences and it’s somewhat harder to convey in the monumental-type videos you are doing lately. That’s all. I think that your kindness, care, and down-to-earth-candidness is part of what makes you attractive as “reviewers” to some of these top tier chefs/restaurants, moreso than your editing (though that is truely impressive as well). If you start to be too standoff-ish from the audience, I feel that it’s detracting from how honest your opinions are since your mainstream audience doesn’t get the same context that your longtime viewers do. Short, homey, everyday vignette-type videos (of any format) help to bring your audience closer, so I hope you don’t stop doing them entirely. Also, it helps tide over your viewers since these longer videos take so long to edit and there’s otherwise no content from you, sometimes for weeks. I’m not the type to write a long letter of protest as I’m leaving, that’s too cliche for me – LOL! My life is too busy to bother writing at all unless I care about it XD Looking forward to whatever comes next. (two thumbs up, ne! ;) )

          3 months ago
        • Ah, that’s true. We don’t post as much anymore, so people don’t know as much as they used to. For press events, like this one, we get invited to a lot. We don’t do them all. We don’t do many of them, in fact. If it’s not interesting to us, we won’t do it. We weren’t paid by the maid cafe either. We were just told that we can shoot there if we want, and we thought “hell yeah we’ll shoot there!” But I didn’t expect to be so weirded out by it.

          I’m not really all too sure how it’s out of character for us. We did the Sailor Moon Cafe and Cat Cafe and even Hello Kitty Cafes, so I’d kind of suggest that this is in character for us, no? Also, this video had no editorial oversight. They didn’t see a cut of it before we published it, either our company or the maid cafe, nor did they give us any speaking points to talk about. We just went in there, hoped for a fun experience, filmed all we could, and then looked at the footage and made what we could out of it.

          When it comes to us moving on to doing different things, I think that’s just how we feel about being creative in general. We’ve done many different formats: How to guides to living in Korea. Music Mondays. Playlists. End of the year awards. WTFs. TL;DRs. WANKs. Eat Your Sushi. And we did a bunch of episodes for all of those formats, until we felt, hey, it’s time for us creatively to try something new, both so that our audience doesn’t get bored of it, and so that we don’t get bored of it either.

          I’ve seen sooooo many lifestyle videos, and there is, as you’ve said, a bit of a glut. We’re inspired to try doing them in different ways, or just doing something new altogether. We’re super excited about the high end food places we can shoot, not only because it’s good food, but because nobody in the world can shoot them, you know? We just finished shooting with a chef that turned down Chef’s Table. That’s amazing! I feel like we can show something new, something the world hasn’t seen before, rather than just a “here I am going to a market” kind of deal. And while market videos can be fun, my eyes widen at the possibility of doing something different.

          And still we’re talking about trying new things. Yesterday we spent an hour talking about a new segment we can try out. And the segments we do now will go one day, and we’ll move on to other formats, and we’ll keep pushing ourselves to try different formats and topics and approaches. I hope you can still stay along with us for the ride :D

          3 months ago
      • Oh, but I’ve been waiting for exactly those kinds of videos! When I first started watching you guys, it was because of all of your really educational “How-to’s” in Korea! Things like how to use a Korean washing machine, or how to use the subways and get from point A to B, that kind of stuff. I even learned how to order Korean take-out/delivery from your videos (and that was a lifesaver)! I’d be really interested in the Japanese equivalent of all of those things.

        3 months ago
  6. This really reminds me of Kaicho wa Maid-sama :D Question: When regular customers came into the cafe what was your feeling regarding the female to male customer ratio like where there more guys or girls visiting the maid cafe? :)

    3 months ago
  7. If I open a maid cafe in Montreal do you think I will get rich? LOL They should do one base on Kaichou wa maid-sama manga. I want me an Usui >_< (It's Japan…. maybe there's one already…)

    3 months ago