Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Just when you thought Japan couldn't get any more wackalicious, and just when I thought I had a full plate of things to do when I visit next:

Hibaritei: Japanese Salarymen Dress As Maids

This is the latest spin on the popular Japanese maid cafe where women dress in provocative and/or Lolita maid outfits and welcome customers as "masters" while serving tea and snacks.

Hibaritei features "maids" who are men. In Akihabara, it's common to see men dressed as maids or their favorite anime characters, but this trend has reached new heights with the launch of cross-dressing maid troupe Hibaritei. In a twist, the cross-dressing maids are all weekday salarymen who are straight, most having girlfriends. These men are not financially troubled in any way. Most work in IT companies and come to Akiba often because of work.

Despite having a rather unconventional all-male staff, Hibaritei does not fall short of the usual services one finds in a typical maid cafe. We can hear the usual "Welcome home, master!" greeting, omurice with ketchup writing, cheki service and even a customized gatchapon (capsule toys from vending machines) with original Hibaritei character badges drawn by their in-house illustrator. They also feature a lottery style gatchapon (300 yen) that allows you to win an original photo of the Hibaritei maids. No two are alike.

BTW, I've never seen anyone -- man or woman -- dressed like an anime character or a maid in Akihabara (Harajuku, sure), but maybe I'm not frequenting the right joints. I did see a man dressed as Sailor Moon at 3 am in Shinjuku's gay quarter, but I don't think he was plying tea and curry.

Oh Nihon, while you are still bizarrely homophobic and outrageously rigid in your gender roles, you still sometimes outdo my Bay neighbor, San Francisco, in wacky fabulosity. It's always the quiet ones, isn't it? I'm almost afraid to ask: What will you think of next?

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Blogger Trevor said...

Ah yes...one more spot on our to-visit list next time we're in Japan...



April 16, 2008 at 2:52:00 PM PDT  

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