Maid girl : It's probably the most unusual job in Japan!
If you walk around Akihabara, the district famous for its electronics and japanimation, you'll probably meet pretty girls dressed like maids!
These girls are called Maid girls, and they work in what we call "Maid Coffees". They give away tracts and try to attract customers into their shops. Beware, you might be susceptible to their charms !
When you get in a Maid Coffee, girls warmly welcome you with an "okaerinasaiiiiiii!!", which means "Welcome home"! Maid Girls will make you as comfortable as if you were at home. They will also call you "Master" (御主人様, goshujin-sama) or "Mistress" (お嬢様, ojōsama) for girls. GNOOOOOOW !!!!!
Girls wear a pretty maid uniform : skirt with lace, a white apron, tights, ribbons or cats ears attached in their hair…
Maid girls are Kawaii (cute) and talk with a light voice, almost childish.
What do strangers think about this phenomenon? How do we perceive these girls?
For many strangers and a lot of men, a Maid Girl represents a fantasm. Come on, stop denying it! I, Hentai-man, can say I really love them!! Everytime I go to Akihabara, I feel so irresistibly attracted!!! I love the way they talk, their behaviour, and their cute little faces.
There are few Maid Coffee with different concepts. But don't think about prostitution! In general... Girls are here to entertain you or other things like talking, playing video games...
The services are varied.
Oh dear! Let's keep serious…
Hello Japan wanted to focus seriously on this job, and tried to understand how they work and one must admit it's not always easy.
For this interview, my friend Rastapopoulos (russian mafioso) managed to contact somebody who did this job a long time ago. She kindly accepted to answer some questions.
1) How old were you when you started doing this job? Is there a minimum age or a limit of age to apply for it?
I was 19. The minimum and maximum ages will depend on the Maid Coffee where you apply. In my maid Coffee they accepted girls aged between 16-17 and 29 years old.
2) How long have you been doing this job?
Less than 1 year.
3) Why did you do this job?
My friend told me my appearance and my voice seemed to be coming from an "anime" (japanese cartoon) : "You look like a maid from a maid coffee!"… So I tried to apply for it, but without taking it too seriously. It was like a game to me. But I didn't expect that they would hire me the same day! At this time, the movie "Densha no otoko" was very famous. And Akihabara was being prosperous, so I thought it could be a nice experience to see how things work in society.
Finally, I accepted this experience.
4) How to apply for this job?
Most of the time, you can apply by the internet. You can fill in the form or you can directly call the coffee shop.
5) What are the basic criteria required to apply for this job?
You shall not to be against cosplay. Cosplay is the compression for Costume and Player. People dress into anime character. You must have a correct behaviour and be polite, because Maid girls have the image of polite persons. Then it will depend on the type of maid coffee you'll ask for a job. Sometimes, they will be wanting comedian skills.
6) Do they ask for skills in particular?
It depends on which coffee shop you'll go to.
For example, in Maid Coffee specialized in "idol", good style and cuteness are just what they want.
An "idol" is an artist. She can be singer, actress, TV show animatrice and also model. Most of the idols begin their career very young, under 15 years old!
In Seiyû Maid Coffees, most of the girls have a particular voice like an anime voice. A Seiyû is a voice actors for TV series, animes and video games. Lots of seiyû also become singers. Lots of Maid girls also wanna become Seiyû.
7) Do they look for particular physical characteristics for this job? For example : would somebody with a less advantageous physique be a problem? (too chubby or too skinny, not pretty enough?) Can a Gaijin (foreigner) apply for this job?
To be pretty isn't necessarily needed, but people having overweight problems might not be fitting the uniforms. I think that foreign girls could do this job, on the condition that they can speak japanese at least a little, because they need to be talkative to have their work done and get money.
8) Is there any interview? If so, can you describe it?
Yes, there is an interview like in any other job.
9) What are the different posts in this kind of job?
There is no hierarchy but there is a popularity ranking, depending on the Maid Coffee.
10) What type of contract do they propose? How many hours can maid girls do on the minimum?
There are part-time contracts only. Your schedule depends on you and the maid coffee conditions. The aim is to give priority to studies since most of the girls are in high schools or at university.
I used to work 3 or 4 days a week, at least 4 hours a day and until 8 hours per day.
11) What's the hourly wage? And the monthly salary?
I started with 900 yens/hour. By improving my performance thanks to my regular practice, I raised my salary to 1200 yens. Besides, there are some other Maid coffees where you could earn 850, 950, or 1000 yens. It varied a lot. It was about 100 000 yens per month.
12) Do you think one can live in Japan only with this job?
At the time when "Densha no otoko" was a big success and Akihabara was being popular. I think we could live only with this job. Some girls did.
But since the murders that happened a few years ago in this district, Akihabara changed a lot, many Maid coffees closed down the same day, and it's not successful any longer, over there. I don't think it's still possible to live doing this.
Before that, Akihabara was a peaceful place, many Maid coffees presented real concepts, but I heard that some houses of ill repute claim to be a "Maid Coffee". A maid giving her body probably earns more money than a normal maid girl.
13) Did you have a nickname? Can you choose your own nickname? Can you keep your name?
Yes, I had. You can choose it by yourself. Some girls were helped by coworkers to find a nickname. You also can keep your name. The pronunciation was the same but sometimes they changed the kanji.
14) What did you do exactly when you worked?
We served drinks and food. We took pictures with customers with the polaroid. We played games and talked. I often used to listen to them complaining and I chatted with them.
15) How is a typical day of work? What is the schedule?
Around 12pm (lunch time) there aren't many customers. So you can go out in order to distribute tracts. When customers come, we go back in the coffee shop. We take care of them. It depends on what they order. Some of them want to play while others just want us to listen to them.
I remember these times when I listened to customers complaining about their uneasiness a whole day.
When I had classes, I started working around 2 or 3pm right after I left school. On weekends, I worked from 12pm to 6pm and sometimes until 7pm.
16) We know japanese people work hard. Do you remember your longest day of work?
My longest day of work was when I had to work 8 hours. There was a lack of workers in the shop so I had to work longer. After 9 hours of hard work, I expected to go back home but my boss prevented me from doing so. He wanted me to listen to him and he complained for more than an hour!! I was so tired...
17) Are there break times?
Yes, there are.
18) Did your employer offer a meal or a beverage during the day?
Of course. We could take a rest, have drinks and food.
19) What types of customers come in a Maid Coffee? Among customers are there many girls?
There are various customers : lots of otakus. They are persons who spend most of their time at home and almost not having any social life. They are obsessed with hobbies like mangos, animus or video games. Many japanese hate otakus because they make a negative image of Japan.
But there are also salarymen, people who like maids, people who are curious, tourists from other cities and foreigners…
There weren't a lot of girls.
20) Did you already have problems because of this job? Pervert customers?
Did this job cause you trouble in your private life?
Yes, I had problems. One person became my fan and waited for me outside the coffee shop. He was spying me and I received a mail when I was in the train. It was written : "You're also cute in your everyday clothes." I looked around me and I saw him in the next wagon. It happened twice or 3 times. I didn't know how long I was able to do that. Now I'm afraid of coming back home at night!
21) Have you already seen dissatisfied customers leaving your coffee shop?
It happened sometimes.
22) How were the worst customers you have ever seen?
I met impolite people. Some people thought it was a house of ill repute and were almost sexually harassing girls.
23) What's your best memory with this job? And the worst?
I met people you can't meet easily in normal times. They provided me good pieces of advice. I took into account speeches from experienced people. It really helped myself in life.
For example I met a train driver, a retired monk, a famous painter…
I don't really have any bad memory.
24) I am a new customer. Can you explain to me what is a Maid coffee?
A maid coffee is a place for relaxation, where you can talk with adorable Maid girls. There you can discover the meaning of "Moe". Otakus use this word to express a strong feeling of affection for something or somebody.
25) What are the approximate prizes?
It depends on the concept, the type of shop and the menus they propose. Drinks and food prizes remain the same. You can choose many options like playing games or taking photos with Maids, but it's more expensive.
Some Maid Coffee propose massages or ears cleanings. The prizes will go up and down depending on how much time you spend for that. So it depends where you go.
The more Maids are active, the higher the prizes will be.
26) What can we drink and eat?
It depends on the shops. Coffee, fruit juices… You can eat sandwiches and "omurice" and desserts. Maid Coffees always go with Omurice! Maids can draw on the Omurice (オムライス)with ketchup. Omurice is the compression of Omelette and Rice. It's an omelette with fried rice inside. It's decorated with ketchup.
There are Maid Coffee specialized in japanese tradition in which there are japanese cakes and tea, aswell as lots of typical japanese candies.
Some Maid Coffee even propose the "english tea time" ambiance. In those shops the quality of the sweets are better than in classic shops. They also have various kinds of tea.
27) Can I drink alcohol in a Maid Coffee?
Generally they don't serve alcohol because it's supposed to be a coffee shop. There are special Maid coffees opened at night, and in these places you can drink alcohol. It's more appropriate if you'd like to drink some alcohol.
28) Can I take photos with my camera? Can I make a movie, just a little ? (pleaaaase)
Usually you can't. But if you take an option (more expensive), maybe they can allow you. But most of the girls who work are high school students or under-aged. So they probably want to preserve their identity.
29) I am a regular customer. Can I have special attentions? Fidelity card?
It depends on the shops. Most of the time, there is a fidelity card, services and reductions. Everywhere you go, they will take care of you.
30) According to you, why do people come in this kind of places?
Some people are curious, other want to spend some time there. For others it's like a short dream.
Some people are too shy or can't manage to have a girlfriend in the real world: they make their dream come true by talking to the cute maids. Others just want to relax.
Actually we're living in a society where stress accumulates. Maid girls are there to take care of you. They call you "Master" and listen to you.
Thanks to all these attentions, they manage to make you feel at ease.
31) Have you known any collegue who had close relationships with customers outside the work place?
I never had this experience but maybe was it the case for one of my coworker...
32) Do you think this job has a bad image?
YES. Personally, I don't think it gave me a bad image. But people can under evaluate this job.
Some people make compliments but others look down on you with discrimination saying it's crazy that a girl is allowed to do such a job.
In Japan, cosplay is not related with Halloween or other special events that make people picture it badly.
33) We often hear girls talking with a light and lovely voice (like a child). Is it on purpose? What if you have a natural strong voice? Is it a problem?
Yes, it's done on purpose. But in Japan we don't consider it as a childish voice. We say it's an anime voice.
Lots of maids are otaku who love manga and anime. Some maids play the role of a character living in a world very close to anime.
But some maids just want to feel pretty and cute for customers.
Some girls can perform a really good anime voice. You can think they are seiyû.
Having a natural strong voice is not a problem. Some girls talk with their normal voices.
But if a girl's voice isn't nice to hear, it can be true brakes for her career because the client will go towards other girls.
34) After many years… What do you think about people used to go in Maid coffees?
Before working in a maid coffee, I thought it was only for strange otaku, but now I stopped thinking so, I see it differently. I don't think it's strange anymore.
35) Do you regret having worked in a maid coffee?
36) Would you give advice to other girls to try this job?
You can learn many things about humans and how society works. We are told we are cute several times a day, and that enables us to become pretty effortlessly, so I would tell the ones who want to discover their femininity to try and do it, but on the other hand, for the ones who aren't open-minded and motivated, it's impossible.
37) Is it true that yakuzas (japanese mafia) are related to this kind of places?
Yes, it is. The houses of ill repute are the ones concerned.
38) Are there such places for girls to go? With men as waiters?
Yes there are! There are english style Maid Coffees, with the famous "tea time" concept. Plenty of girls love it there.
There are many other things than Maid coffees. Butlers Coffees & bars where the maids are dressed like men are very popular. They escort girls or offer other services. You can have a good time. These shops exist in Akihabara and Ikebukuro.
Also, there are Shitsuji Coffees where guys wear butlers' uniforms.
An other type is the Gaikokujin Shitsuji kissa Butlers Coffee with nice foreigners. They treat girls as princesses, and sometimes even carry them as such!!
39) What about your uniform? Did your boss lend you it?
My boss lended us the uniforms at the beginning. But later, some customers offered me uniforms! I had 5 uniforms in total.
40) Can we publish photos of you and what was you nickname when you worked as Maid girl?
No, I can't. Sorry. I prefer to keep my identity as secret...
What happens in a Maid Coffee, stays in Maid coffee… For instance, a friend told me he had to stand up in front of everybody and then to make a ridiculous dance while singing, in order to obtain his drink!!!
Translation by my Sweet Surya =(^ v ^)=