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San Japan Convention Continues French Themed Cafe

A Starbucks is a nice commodity to have around any town and a local coffee house can give a home away from home feel. At the San Japan convention, coffee and tea took a leap ahead of traditional service.

Dressed as French maids and butlers, the staff at the Maid Cafe sessions served their patrons, or attendees of the convention, as if they were masters of the house.

“ We had an idea of what the cafe was about but had no idea how into character the staff would be,” said Don Mickler, who went with his wife, Christine Mickler.

The cafe is a large dining room set up with large round tables from wall to wall leaving only space for an entertainment floor at the front and a small area in the back to brew tea, coffee and store cookies.

The cafe session began when the maids and butlers walk out to receive their masters (patrons who purchased tickets for the show) and sat them at different tables with an empty teacup and a few cookies.

Once the masters and mistresses are seated and their order for tea or coffee has been taken, the maid or butler is responsible with introducing strangers to one another and making sure they are all completely warm and happy.

“A big part of what we do is keeping tables happy and social,” said Torri, a maid at the cafe who has attended more than 30 conventions since she was 13.

Throughout the session, the maids, aside from keeping up good conversation, would also play games and put on shows. According to their talents, they would go to the center stage to perform.

“I have been dancing since I was 8 years old, so the dances I do require little practice and give each maid cafe session a sense of originality,” said Maddie (last name?), a senior at Huttie High School.

Maid cafes stem from a fascination that started in Japan where a French maid service portrayed in anime provides a similar service to being at home with a maid you personally employed.

A common trait for maids would be to act like the awkward teen girl that anime have been known to express. Today it is part of mainstream Japan and has worked it’s way through Europe, and more recently, into the United States.
One of the biggest problems the maid cafe faces is dealing with potential stalkers. Even though little, if any, has occurred at the San Japan convention, it is a real threat facing maid cafes worldwide.

“We do try to connect with our patrons personally, to be warm and welcoming, but there are lines that I do not let my staff or patrons cross,” said Sammy, director and head maid of the cafe.

“While I believe in giving the best service, the safety of my maids and butlers will always come first,” Sammy said.

Jaime Quesada may be reached at [email protected]

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San Japan Convention Continues French Themed Cafe