It was only a matter of time before someone came up with a way of linking maid cafes and hostess bars with digital idols and adult virtual reality. Behold the VR hostess cafe. Yumenographia is not a physical space, but exists purely in a digital realm: it's waiting for your patronage whenever and wherever you put on a VR headset. It is staffed by hostesses/maids who are, of course, entirely "fake" -- in the sense that they are digital avatars. But, and this is a big "but," the hostesses are real in the sense that they are the avatars of genuine people, rather than characters. At some remote ...

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Every few weeks an article does the rounds of the world media -- typically a translated news wire piece or something rustled up by a foreign stringer according to overseas editors' demands. The narrative is predictable. Japan is full of sexless youth; Japan is full of sexual fetishes. Japanese anime is child porn; Akihabara is a den of immorality and vice. Of course, there are elements of truth in all of this but such nuanced, sympathetic approaches are not what gets traffic. So you see articles like this on Deutsche Welle by Julian Ryall, saying that "Japan's 'maid cafes' [are] a cover ...

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Tokyo Reporter had an intriguing (if worrying) article recently from the Japanese media about a maid cafe in Roppongi being raided for employing underage girls. Officers took Ryuji Shimizu, 41, the manager of Archangels Tokyo, into custody for allegedly employing a 16-year-old girl as a waitress after 10 p.m. — a violation of the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses. The girl, who was attired in a light kimono known as a yukata, received an hourly wage of 1,050 yen per hour. This reminds us of the recent girls' bar scandal in Osaka and it seems police are now cracking ...

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It's not looking good for Akihabara's maid cafes as customers drift away from paying exorbitant prices for cups of coffee where there are no "extras". According to a media report, maid cafes started in Akihabara in 2001 and then you get visit on for a drink for a mere ¥500. (These days it is more like double that or more!) Based on national database figures, there were a mere 132 maid cafes in Akiba at the end of 2011. Since the peak was 282 cafes, this means 150 -- over half -- have closed. In the decade the world economy has hardly done so well and Japan in particular is ...

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Do you like Akihabara maids? Who doesn't?! Even if otaku idol girls are not your thing, everyone can still see that an Akihabara maid cafe lady is a hottie that needs to be given the real customer attention she demands. Now you can... with just your hand. The Akiba Maid Onahole has been cloned from a genuine Akibahara maid. Now you can pump away inside a maid till your heart's content every day -- and without paying the silly table charges they slap on you in Akiba. We visited one maid cafe last year and were a bit disappointed, to be honest. They were employing ...

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Japan may well have recently officially entered recession again but that does not seem to impact Nipponbashi, Osaka's run-down area known for its electronics stores and sex industry (imagine Akihabara combined with Kabukicho). Osakans have always had very good heads for business and it seems, despite the nation's economic woes, that Nipponbashi establishments are defying the overall turn towards offering cheaper goods and services a la UNIQLO et al. Rather, they are cunningly ripping people off in the maid cafes and sex shops. As reported over on Tokyo Reporter, one maid cafe in ...

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Japan's parking lots are pretty cool, especially the tower ones that take cars up for storage in cool elevator machines. It seems it's a competitive business as the owners are now getting imaginative. So much so that Osaka's Nipponbashi has come up with a novel scheme to attract young male drivers. We've heard of maid cafes. Now we have a maid parking lot! Usually these tower parking lots feature a old gent or other member of staff to help guide your car in and onto the right place to be taken upstairs (you get out of the car of course). But the team greeting you at "Maid Parking ...

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We in Japan are no strangers to the irresistible allure of hot girls in maid outfits, with meido kissas continuing to grow in popularity year-in-year-out, countless manga and romance novels focusing on maid-and-master trysts and the almost-obligatory appearance of every AV idol ever in a maid-themed movie or ten. Perfectly straddling the border between endearing innocence and smouldering sexuality, I don't think I'm alone in thinking maids (quite rightly) occupy one of the top spots in most every guy's list of perfect fantasy girls. Apparently folks in the West aren't oblivious to the ...

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Adidas announced their new model "Originals" in true Akihabara style last week with maids. Katou Natsuki appeared first on stage in a blue maid outfit holding the new model in her hand and greeted all the otaku (geeks) in their very own language, "Sorry for making you wait master(s). Natsuki da nyan!" Nyan is the sound a cat makes. When maids take the stage, the otaku watch. When the maids add a meow at the end of their sentence, the otaku "stand" at attention. Natsuki, who has previously admitted to being a bit of a cosplayer, broke character after her grand entrance and admitted ...

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