Source: YouTube

Shangrila: Japan’s First Plus-Size Maid Cafe

Themed cafes are very popular in Japan with new, novel takes on this concept cropping up and finding success in the larger cities. Maid cafes are an entertaining experience rather than a quiet place for a light meal.

Maid cafes are a popular staple, particularly around Akihabara, but the Marshmallow Maid Cafe Shangrila is Japan’s first plus-size maid cafe. Stu explains that “marshmallow” is a term used to refer to plus-sized women in Japan, usually meant to be endearing.

In the accompanying video, Stu explains that the rationale for the cafe is not meant to objectify or degrade the maids that work at Shangrila – it’s quite the opposite. “Unfortunately, we live in a world where plus-sized women are often discriminated against and, as a result, lack self-confidence.” He reports that the women felt empowered and displayed confidence working at Shangrila.

The women of Shangrila are playful and have a way of bringing out the playful side in even the shiest of customers. You may even be invited to dress up and become an “idol” with them!

Cafes like Shangrila are often small and have seating charges. There are also drink minimums. Aside from the entertaining waitstaff, you can enjoy pizza, desserts, and snacks, but they may create an adorable message with ketchup for you if you order a rice omelet. The drink menu includes original cocktails in addition to beer, soft drinks and coffee.

Different varieties of maid cafes have a way of bringing positivity and exposure to marginalized groups. In addition to plus-sized maids, you can enjoy the company of cross-dressing maids at other maid cafes in the area. Joso (men dressed as maids) and danso (women dressed as butlers) are also increasing in popularity.

Though maid cafes may seem superficial at first glance, they offer opportunities to relax with and learn about people (or creatures in the case of owl cafes) that are all too often misunderstood. For more information about Shangrila, please refer to their website (Japanese language only).

By - grape Japan editorial staff.