Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pinky Cafe, Akihabara

What's a guy to do when friends come to visit? Show off Japanese culture, that's what. For various reasons, our tour started in Akiba, and due to the slowness of the morning, it was lunch time when we got there. Pinky Cafe had maids on the street soliciting business, and I figured it was as good as anything.

When we got there, it was dead empty, with only one maid and this attractive Christmas tree on the stage for company. I was scared and tried to leave, but Jake kept me in, and a few other customers and maids showed up later. Maybe the issue was that we went to the third floor; that's where they have the stage, but the room is quite small. And there were no performances that day, although they did a bit of foolishness from the stage - for example when a customer later ordered a 'rocket drink' (not me, NOT ME), they played countdown music, darkened the room and flashed some lights, and did a special chant that was far too long and Japanese for anyone to remember while hoisting the rocket-shaped drink shaker. In theory cute, in practice pretty sad.

Policies differ at maid cafes, I guess - here there's a strict no-touching rule (which I discovered when I tried to shake hands on the way out) and in fact there's also a no-photo rule. This photo captures the environment nicely - this guy came in with two freelance maids unaffiliated with the shop and hung out, buying them drinks. The one on the left (hidden behind the 'long black' maid) said at one point that she was 18, so it had at least the whiff of impropriety. Come to think of it, maybe she was just saying that to increase the improprietary aspects of the situation.

Akiba burger and smile fries. I don't even want to go into how bad this all was. It didn't even help that two maids came over and cast the Pinky Magic Spell on the food, chanting "Get tasty! Love, Love, Pinky!!!" while making heart marks at the food with their hands. We had to eat afterward.

I guess I would advise you to choose another maid cafe for your show-the-foreign-visitors experience. This place was pretty much depressing and unappetizing, in large part because it was trying so hard to be cheery.

Just so Jake wouldn't get the wrong idea about Japanese culture, we checked out some electronics stores, clothing stores, and a toy store that had this fun figurine for sale.


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