Akihabara is a district in Tokyo that used to be the "electronics heaven". Some of this still remains, and you can find small shops selling electrical resistors by the gram etc. We stopped by a shop that sells programmable robots and small drones for normal people to buy and play with. I was tempted by a cheap flying drone that you can control with your smart phone.
|Glow stick in hand, moe moe sticker on face, and bunny ears on head|
Nowadays, Akihabara is still a place for nerds but for anime and manga nerds. There are lots and lots of shops selling anime and manga, and plastic figures of characters in them, and all kinds of similarly themed items.
There is also something called "Maid Cafes" in Akihabara (and now it has spread to many other places, but it started in Akihabara). These are cafes where young girls (you cannot work if you are over 25) wear what Japanese people imagine French Maid outfits look like. They also act very humble, and they use a very special style of Japanese and refer to you as "master" etc. They often also speak in "anime voices" (very high pitched).
|Menu displayed on the flyer we got outside the maid cafe|
This is something that is very Japanese and difficult to find outside Japan (I guess?), so we went to a Maid Cafe in Akihabara. There are lots of girls in maid outfits on the streets promoting the cafe they work at and I walked up to one random girl and asked if they had enough seats for a group of 9. She said: "No problem!". She also thought that my Japanese was great and that I looked so very handsome that she needed to stick cute stickers on my bag and on my face.
Some of the others came up to me to see what was going on, so the maid started sticking stickers on their faces too. We were waiting for some of he others to arrive from swan boating in a pond, but said we would be back soon. While we went to pick up the others, I was asked if it was OK to remove the stickers now because it was embarrassing. I suggested they keep the stickers, and I kept mine, haha.
We got a table for nine, and the whole staff started applauding when we came in (they applaud all customers, because they are so happy to see their masters again). We ordered some food, and while we were waiting they also gave us bunny ears and cat ears to wear to look extra cute. Some in our party thought that was embarrassing and did not put them on, while most thought it was a great idea.
|Rice wrapped in omelette, with a cat drawn in ketchup|
|A bear made from rice bathing in curry with a pork chop with the word "Master" in Japanese|
|Everyone doing "kurururu"-magic|
Every time food or drinks arrived, we were asked to do some "love magic" thing, where you form your hands into a heart shape and say "moe moe chuuu" and shoot love magic at the food to make it better. There were many other similar things going on too.
|Possibly a drawing of a dog|
|A more successful drawing|
Then the girl who had talked to us outside came in and she was going to draw the next things. She was asked to draw a dog. This seemed to be an unusual request, and she tried to draw a dog but ended up apologizing profusely since the result was not very cute. And not that much like a dog... She was then asked to draw a rabbit, which she did very well.
|Being taught the glow stick moves|
Later, she was going to do a song and dance routine on the small stage they had, and she asked if we wanted to buy glow sticks to wave around in some determined way. We bought a bunch and she taught us how to wave them and when to respond with what phrases to her singing and prompting, when to do other gestures, etc. Her performance was pretty entertaining, and we kept up as best we could. Some of the other tables also bought glow sticks.
|Polaroids with one of the maids|
We also all got souvenirs. You could chose either a key ring or a clear file folder. My former colleague suggested he should bring next years exams at the university in his new clear file. We also got to pose with one of the maids for Polaroid photos.
|Ice cream in bear shape|
|Ice cream in turtle shape|
|Free ice cream for people aged 12 years or less|