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Updated: 2006-02-15 09:06

  "Maid in Japan" cafes treat geeks like lords


The maids serve not aristocrats but a string of pop-culture-mad customers at a "Maid Cafe" in Tokyo's Akihabara district.

"Welcome, Master," says the maid as she bows deeply, hands clasped in front of astarchedpinaforeworn over a pink dress.

This maid serves not aristocrats but a string of pop-culture-mad customers at a "Maid Cafe" in Tokyo'sAkihabaradistrict, long known as aMeccafor electronicsbuffsbut now also the center of the capital's "nerdculture."

"When they address you as 'Master', the feeling you get is like a high," says Koji Abei, a 20-year-old student having coffee with a friend at the Royal Milk Cafe.

"I've never felt that way before."

Maid cafes dot Akihabara, which has become a second home for Tokyo's "otaku" -- roughly translated as "geeks." They're known for their devotion to comics and computer games and can easily be identified by their standard outfit of track suit, knapsack and spectacles.

In the cafes, girls dressed infrilly frocksinspired by comic-book heroines waithand and footon customers, mostly male, who might have once been obsessed with naughty schoolgirls and nurses.

At one cafe, maids get down on their knees to stir the cream and sugar into the customer's coffee.

At Royal Milk, diners can follow up a meal with a range of grooming services, including ear cleanings.

Maids at some of the more attentive shops even offer to spoon-feed customers at their table.

Maid cafes have mushroomed since they first emerged about four years ago, evolving from cafes where waiting staff emulated characters from a popular series of role-playing video games, often dressed in schoolgirl-inspired uniforms.

Akihabara now boasts around 30 maid cafes that cater not just to male geeks but also to couples, tourists and the merely curious.






"女仆咖啡屋"散布于秋叶原一带,成为东京"御宅族(otaku)",的第二家园,otaku大致可以翻译成"偏执狂"。 "御宅族"以迷恋漫画和电子游戏而著称,他们的标准行头是竞赛服、旅行背包和墨镜,所以极易辨认。










starched:stiff, formal(古板的) 

pinafore:a sleeveless garment similar to an apron, worn especially by small girls as a dress or an overdress(围裙)


Mecca:the holiest city of Islam and a pilgrimage site for all devout believers of the faith;fig. a place that is regarded as the center of an activity or interest(迈加圣地,笃信伊斯兰教的教徒朝拜的地方;现比喻众人渴望去的地方)

buff:one that is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a subjectfan(迷)


nerd:comically objectionable(滑稽令人生厌的)

frilly frock:(蕾丝边的裙装工作服)

hand and foot:with concerted, never-ending effort(齐心协力的,不懈的)



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