For most of their patrons, a visit to one of Japan’s maid cafes comes after a tough day at the office, or maybe as a special reward at the end of a busy week. But if enjoying the cafes’ light fare and frilly costumes can come as a pick-me-up after some hard work, can’t it also provide the energy boost to kick-start your workday?
That’s the theory behind a new, limited-time maid cafe that’s opening up in Tokyo, where customers can bolster their spirits with a maid-made breakfast before heading out to tackle the day’s challenges.
The Early Morning Maid Cafe is set to open in Akihabara, the center of Japan’s maid culture scene, as a joint project between talent agency A-Vanzi, the Japan Overwork Association, and U.S.-based men’s business fashion accessory rental company FreshNeck. Since many maid cafe waitresses are looking to use their stints in food service as a springboard into the larger entertainment world, it’s not too hard to see why A-Vanzi is part of the project, but how did the other two organizations become involved?
Japanese companies are notorious for applying institutionalized soft pressure to coerce employees into regularly working overtime, much of which the workers aren’t compensated for. The Japan Overwork Association is a workers’ advocacy group that’s trying to change this corporate culture, and as part of its overall mission to improve job satisfaction, is hoping a little bit of maid-based morning fun will put the cafe’s diners in good enough spirits that they’ll be able to turn in a productive day at work that supersedes the need to stay late at the office.
▼ Zangyo is the Japanese word for “overtime work.”
Unlike the snack and sweets-filled menus at normal maid cafes, The Early Morning Maid Cafe’s bill of fare is all about breakfast. 800 yen (US $6.80) gets you an order of “moe toast,” a drink, and 30 minutes of seat time to soak up the atmosphere and scenery, which will include A-Vanzi talent Kokona Yutsugi and Mizuki Honjo, among other maids.
▼ Yutsugi (left) and Honjo (right)
If you’re looking for a more fortifying breakfast, there’s also a selection of 200-yen side orders consisting of bacon, eggs, wieners, potato salad, tuna, and even ice cream. Ordering two sides gets you a special commemorative card, and customers who add three to their base meal will receive a Polaroid-style instant photo of one of the maids. Ordering a refill of your drink also lets you extend your stay in the cafe.
So how does FreshNeck tie into all this? Well, among other items, the company rents brand-name neckties. Since the Early Morning Maid Cafe will only be operating for one day, Wednesday, February 18, the diners will ostensibly be heading to the office after breakfast, and before they do, the maids will provide the heartwarming service of straightening their neckties for them. In the event that you don’t have a tie, or simply don’t own one that you think is spiffy enough for the occasion, FreshNeck will have a selection on hand that customers can use.
Like we said, though, February 18 is your sole chance for this special meal, which will only be served from 7:30 to 10 a.m. So set your alarm, because even though it can be hard to drag yourself out of bed on a cold winter morning, the Early Morning Maid Cafe is a lot more affordable than employing a staff of 100 maids to deliver your breakfast to you.
Early Morning Maid Cafe / 早朝メイドカフェ
(ordinarily Cafe Triomphe / カフェトリオンプ)
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda 5-6-4, Metro Building 1st floor