Maybe you’ve heard of the “maid cafe” in Japan. They are most well known in Tokyo’s Akihabara, but there are many of them in Kansai as well. I visited e-maid in the Osaka in Namba area near Electric Town.
The cafe has wireless lan, a shelf full of comic books, and of course all of the staff are wearing cute maid outfits. They’ll even recharge any model of cell phone for you for free!
As tempting as it may be, photography of the maids themselves is strictly prohibited (that’s a no-no, but I should have snuck one). There are also a host of other rules for the cafe as well. I was able to get pictures of objects inside of the store though.
The menu is completely normal for the most part. One interesting item is the Otona no Okosama Set (大人のお子様セット）for 1200 yen. An Okosama Set is basically a “kids” meal. Most family restaurants in Japan offer this as a cheap option in small portions for families who bring their kids to restaurants. Otona in Japanese means adult. So, this is the kids meal for adults. How cute.
Here’s the Otona no Okosama Set.
The portion is huge! Yum.
In the maid cafe, the maids address the customers in extremely polite Japanese, saying things like お気をつけていってらしゃいませ (oki wo tsukette itterasyaimase), the polite form for something like, “take care on your way out”. 旦那様はおもどりになりました (danna sama ha omodorininarimashita) an extremely polite for of, “the master? has returned”, and they say this whenever a new male customer comes into the shop, even if it’s their first time. For me, all this sounds odd. For Japanese, I guess it adds to the “at your service” feeling of the cafe.
Check below for more on the “maid cafe thing”.
Tokyo Times on Maid Cafes
Japan Times article on Maid Cafes
Mainichi News article on same!
This post is way off-season.
Ebisu Matsuri in Osaka is every year from Jan 9-11. This festival is for Ebisu, one of the coolest gods in Japan. Ebisu is the god of business and prosperity, and the festival is held at Imamiya Ebisu shrine in Osaka. A close subway station is Ebisu-cho, which is also nearby Osaka’s version of Akihabara, Den-Den Town.
One of the most famous Osaka dialect phrases is “moukari makka?” 儲かりまっか？ Which means, “Are you making a lot of money?” Or, “How’s business?” Which is said to have been a regular common greeting in Osaka, as the city was so focused on trade. These days people rarely seriously greet each other that way, but due to that history, Ebisu Matsuri in Osaka is big time. One of the chants during Ebisu Matsuri is, “Syoubai hanjyo de Sasa mottekoi!” 商売繁盛で笹持ってこい！ Which means, maybe… Bring the Sasa to make business prosper! Please fix me if I got that wrong.
Sasa 笹 is basically “bamboo grass” according to a translation site. This is the food that pandas eat. I’m not sure exactly why it is used on Ebisu Matsuri, but it supposedly brings good luck. During the festival, people will get their own Sasa branch, they hand them out for free at the temple. Then, buy various charms to hang from it.
These charms were MOFO expensive. I think I dropped 5000 yen on lucky charms that are meant to help me earn more money this year. I only bought about three charms! So far they are not working well, as already my small investment in NZ dollars came back weak, and our companies performance was bad so my bonus was cut 10%. なんでやねん。 Come on Ebisu, where’s the love? Ebisu-san and Daikoku-san! They come together as a set.
When I was going to Czech I had a day stop over in South Korea, and we flew Korean Airlines.
Everyone knows, (at least in Japan, given their food centered nature…) that Korean Air is famous for the fact that you can eat Bibimbap as an in-flight meal for dinner.
Bibimbap is a difficult to spell, fun to pronounce Korean dish of minced meat, vegetables, rice, and ultra spicy red sauce. The fun thing about Korean Air, is that you get to assemble it yourself! A great chance during spots of turbulence!
1. Open up your pre-heated rice.
2. Dump your rice into the vegetables and meat, and squeeze on the ultra-spice-paste-in-a-tube.
3. MIX LIKE CRAZY.
We’ve covered Takoyaki on JapanNewbie before… But these are monster Takoyaki.
During Ebisu Matsuri in Osaka, which I’ll post about later… I ran across this vendor selling Takoyaki which must have been three times the normal size! Maybe four.
An entire mini octopus fits inside, rather than just a piece of leg. I didn’t try one of these… Even while eating regularly sized Takoyaki I often end up burning the inside of my mouth due to the super-heated insides…
Not quite ready to level up to these super Takoyaki yet.
Maybe next year…
Video: Octopus Eats Shark!
As you may have heard, in Japan every location has some famous food. One of the famous foods in Hokkaido, maybe especially Sapporo, is Gengis Khan (ジンギスカン）.
We asked around and found a famous Gengis Khan shop called “DARUMA”. So famous we had to wait outside in the freezing Hokkaido winter for over an hour!
Gengis Khan is basically like Yakiniku (Korean BBQ), however the grill is shaped like an upside down bowl. Also, while cooking the meat, you place fat right on the top of the bowl, so it melts down so the meat doesn’t stick.
I was told that this dish is called Gengis Khan because the grill is shapped like the helmet Gengis Khan probably wore. Could be?
Seriously though, along with the cold outside, the warm sake, the meat… This was really good stuff. If you go to Sapporo, find this shop!