A fascinating trend in Japanese maid cafes, where waitresses not only serve lattes but also slap customers as part of their service, has recently sent social media abuzz.
These cafes slap: Maid cafes have long been a staple of Japanese otaku culture, where waitresses clad in frilly costumes pamper customers with a range of services, from pretending to be their wife to pressuring them to finish writing.
The recent buzz centers around a specific type of maid cafe known for its "tsundere" culture, which is based on the character archetype in anime and manga: initially abrasive, aloof or even confrontational, but revealing a softer, more affectionate side in certain situations.
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Diving into the tsundere experience: In tsundere cafes, waitresses engage in mild verbal abuse and, in some cases, physical interaction with customers. Popular establishments, such as the CCOCha in Osaka's Nihonbashi district, offer the tsundere experience via its "tsunderer" menu.
In addition to the typical banter associated with tsundere culture, customers can choose a range of services such as being scolded and slapped, to even more extreme acts like being kicked on all fours or having drinks poured over them.
Comedian Mayurika Sakamoto, who visited CCOCha, shared his experience in a 2021 interview with Monthly Entertainer:
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"Initially, they slam a coaster down in front of you, then proceed to scold you mercilessly in front of everyone, and finally, they give you a brief affectionate remark and serve you lemonade. They hit you on the head with a tray, slap you, kick your butt while crawling on all fours, and finally, they pour a drink on you."
I managed to endure being kicked on all fours, but asking for a drink to be poured on me was a bit too much since it would make my clothes all sticky... It was genuinely embarrassing. It's like, 'Did I really do this?' It went beyond tsundere and entered a stage somewhat reminiscent of S&M play. There were moments when I wondered, 'What am I doing?' So, the level that felt right for me was the slap."
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Tsundere levels: The pricing structure starts at 800 Japanese yen ($5.40) for a drink with a basic tsunderer, which may include playful banter or mild scolding. For those seeking the more extreme interactions, options like the Super Tsunderer or the Ultimate Tsunderer are available, with some customers paying up to 1,600 yen ($10.90) for a drink they may not even consume.
A hit concept: Tsundere has become a popular destination for those seeking an unconventional blend of entertainment and refreshments.
For patrons, the appeal lies in the thrill of unpredictability and the challenge of breaking through the stoic demeanor of the tsundere maids. Some describe the excitement of ordering a simple drink and eagerly anticipating whether the maid will engage in conversation or not. Others find joy in making the maids laugh, turning the experience into a dynamic interaction. For customers, the peculiar nature of these encounters add to the maid cafes’ charm.
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