Lesson Transcript

Peter: 上様、たいへんでござる。西洋から野蛮人が来たのでござります。
Peter: というか、日本語をわからぬのでごじゃろ。
Peter: 違います、上様。Japanesepod101を聞いていると言いましたよ。
Peter: だいじょうぶじゃ。われわれは、ちょんまげで死ぬまで戦うぞ。
Natsuko: こんにちは、Natsukoです。
Naomi: Naomiです。
Peter: Peter here. Natsuko san, Naomi Sensei, we – the things we do for the listeners, we just got back from where, Natsuko san?

Lesson focus

Natsuko: メイドカフェ。
Peter: The Maid Café and how do we explain this experience in words?
Natsuko: うーん、難しいな。 It was like an amusement park.
Naomi: I agree.
Peter: What kind of amusement parks do you usually go to?
Natsuko: Well the – yeah there are maids there but it was like some kind of an attraction at Disneyland.
Peter: Yeah well I think in certain aspects, you are right because it’s kind of like a show.
Natsuko: Oh yes.
Peter: It’s definitely not the food that draws in the customers.
Naomi: あまり食べ物は…
Natsuko: うん…普通かな。
Peter: Yeah just nothing special and not for the prices they were asking. So why don’t we start from the beginning? Natsuko san, where was this maid café located?
Natsuko: Near our company in Akasaka.
Peter: So this maid café phenomena, can we say?
Natsuko: Yeah I think so.
Peter: Or this maid café fad started in Akihabara. So that’s kind of like the center downtown maid café central.
Natsuko: Uhoo.
Peter: So we are in Akasaka quite far away and not known for its maid café. So this isn’t like the flagship maid café.
Natsuko: うん。
Naomi: そうですね。 I think there is only one maid café in Akasaka.
Natsuko: Yeah at least I don’t know any other.
Peter: And it’s right behind the building we work in and we pass them every day on the way to the studio and back which again after today, I can’t take that route any more but…
Natsuko: Why not?
Naomi: Hello Peter.
Peter: Yes I think yeah.
Naomi: こんにちは、Peterさん。
Natsuko: No, no, no ご主人様。
Naomi: あ、そうだ、ごめんなさい。こんにちは、ご主人様。
Natsuko: Wow!
Peter: Naomi Sensei, I think you could actually work there. That was quite nice. So let’s just – I think we are getting a bit off track here but I think Natsuko san got us on the right track when she brought up the word.
Natsuko: Yeah ご主人様 that means master.
Peter: And this is how the maids refer to you.
Natsuko: Yes instead of お客様 or any other names.
Peter: Yeah so it’s quite interesting and they speak to you in extremely polite Japanese 敬語.
Natsuko: You know, I think most restaurants and bars in Japan, the staff of the store will refer to you very politely. They use the polite Japanese like that as well but the only difference is that they call you ご主人様 or お嬢様
Peter: At the maid café.
Natsuko: Uhoo..
Peter: And – but I guess you know, one of the thing too is that even though they do use the same language throughout, in the maid café, I think it’s their job to be extra nice to the people coming there…
Natsuko: Oh yeah.
Peter: So you kind of interact with them more so you feel like you are speaking it more and you are actually getting some practice hearing it and listening to it.
Naomi: そうね。
Natsuko: Ah!
Naomi: 日本語の練習には一番いい場所かもしれないですね。
Natsuko: Maybe.
Peter: I – yeah Naomi Sensei said that maid cafe maybe one of the best places to practice your Japanese or at least like business Japanese.
Natsuko: Oh yes, very polite Japanese.
Peter: So why don’t we tell everybody about what happened? What time do we get there Natsuko san?
Natsuko: At lunch time.
Peter: So about 12:05 and right before we got there, a herd of Japanese male men were…
Natsuko: Male men?
Naomi: Real man!
Peter: Yes.
Natsuko: Are there any female men? I am sorry, I am sorry I know.
Peter: Excellent point, yes.
Natsuko: ごめん、ごめん。
Peter: So a herd of Japanese males headed down the stairs. So they beat us there and it was group of about 8 and there was about 6 of us and so together, I mean that made it 14 people. It is like a lunch time rush.
Natsuko: Uhoo yeah they look very busy today.
Peter: Really busy like 予想外 busy like more than I thought it would be.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: So we sat down. Natsuko and I sat at the counter bar and Naomi, Kishimoto san, John and Brian, they got a table and we ordered our food and again, it was just – I couldn’t get over the way they kept referring to us as master and in case, they were calling you
Natsuko: お嬢様
Peter: And Naomi Sensei
Naomi: お嬢様
Peter: Which is?
Naomi: お嬢様 sounds pretty sassy to me.
Peter: And this is how women are referred to in the maid café.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Now Natsuko and I were sitting at the counter bar as I said and what we found most interesting is when other customers left
Natsuko: Oh yeah.
Peter: What was that?
Natsuko: ご主人様、いってらっしゃいませ。 That’s the greeting you say when someone in the house goes to see someone leaving the house because someone who is leaving is the member of the family. They are expected to come back.
Peter: So it’s almost like the customers leaving are expected to come back. It’s their -
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: Like a piece of their home.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: Which kind of was fascinating.
Naomi: Yeah when we came into the restaurant, the maid said, お帰りなさいませ、ご主人様 and お帰りなさいませ、お嬢様。お帰りなさいませ means welcome back.
Natsuko: Although it was our first time.
Naomi: Yeah.
Peter: With this, you know, I think one of the things the maid café tries to do is make you feel very at home and welcomed.
Natsuko: Yeah but I think that’s the part of the game. The whole thing was like you know a game pretending to be at home where maids are waiting for you.
Peter: I think that kind of sums up the whole experience.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: Now Natsuko san, what did you get?
Natsuko: To eat?
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: なんだっけ?恋するえびちゃん。
Peter: 恋しちゃった
Natsuko: あ、恋しちゃった Wow!
Naomi: すごい。
Natsuko: You have good memory.
Naomi:Good memory, yeah.
Natsuko: 恋しちゃったえびちゃん
Peter: And what did you have to drink?
Natsuko: お嬢様の初恋
Peter: So I think part of the game we are talking about here is that if you heard this, if you said, oh what do you have to eat for lunch today and you said
Natsuko: 恋しちゃったえびちゃんと、お嬢様の初恋
Peter: A shrimp that fell in love and the princess’s first love. So they are the secret kind of names for the dishes.
Natsuko: Yeah it’s like name of a cocktail…
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: At some special bar.
Peter: And I think that’s also part of the game too.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: These little you know code names for the dishes and what was it when it came out?
Natsuko: It was this shrimp pilaf and ice tea. It was heart shaped. That was cute.
Peter: And they had love written on the side.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: In ketchup.
Natsuko: Uhoo. So the whole thing is made very sweet and nice and pretty.
Peter: Yep and on the counter, there were all these little stuffed animals.
Natsuko: Yeah and talking all.
Peter: Naomi Sensei, what did you have?
Naomi: I had ぴよぴよプレートand 小悪魔の涙
Peter: Okay.
Natsuko: Wow!
Peter: I can’t even translate this. Natsuko san,
Natsuko: ぴよぴよプレート、ぴよぴよ is the sound the chicks make.
Naomi: Yeah.
Peter: And プレート is the plate.
Natsuko: Yeah dish plate.
Peter: So I am guessing something was chicken here.
Natsuko: And 小悪魔の涙
Peter: 小悪魔?
Natsuko: Tears of little devil?
Naomi: Yeah.
Peter: And that was
Naomi: Fried chicken and iced coffee.
Peter: I had the – I guess the most normal dish 手作りカレー. So just homemade curry.
Naomi: メードの手作りカレー、ですよね。
Natsuko: Oh yeah.
Peter: That’s it.
Natsuko: That’s the point.
Peter: That’s the point. Yeah, I think the dish in itself was just as Natsuko san said 普通 but just average but there was something that happened that made me blush 赤くなりました and Natsuko san is actually the first one to experience this. So,
Natsuko: Oh yes, really.
Peter: What happened Natsuko san?
Natsuko: They bring you the dish and the maid will feed you for the first bite.
Naomi: They said あーん、してもいいですか?
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: And what is this あーん?
Naomi: When you say あーん you have to open your mouth, right.
Peter: So kind of like the English ah…open up, ah.
Naomi: してもいいですか?
Peter: And may I ah, may I ah or may I feed you?
Natsuko: Yeah.
Naomi: はい。
Peter: First bite. So Natsuko san was the first one to experience this.
Natsuko: Yeah and the maid actually said, it makes her nervous to serve a woman because it’s quite unusual.
Peter: Umm we were there for about an hour. There are about 15 other customers and they were all guys. So…
Natsuko: No wonder.
Peter: So yeah, Natsuko san probably and she has been doing this for probably years.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: Is the first female…
Natsuko: Well maybe not the first but they said that it’s very unusual.
Peter: And when it came my turn, I have to admit that I was pretty embarrassed like she even blew on the food to cool it down.
Natsuko: Yeah. That was sweet.
Peter: I actually thought I hope she doesn’t have a cold. かぜひいてないように。
Natsuko: Wow, how realistic!
Peter: And Naomi Sensei was also fed. Yeah I think – And that’s again, I think she is used to feeding guys.
Naomi: Yeah. So she didn’t know how to treat us.
Peter: Well luckily for you and I think Sachiko actually knows the place. They now have a butler café.
Natsuko: An 秋葉原?
Peter: I am not sure exactly where but…
Naomi: Ah the ones you went was in Shibuya.
Natsuko: Wow!
Naomi: I wasn’t with her.
Peter: You were?
Naomi: No I wasn’t.
Natsuko: That’s too bad.
Naomi: They call female customers as princess.
Peter: That sounds – I am not going to imagine about that. Sorry I don’t – I guess I just have it in me like oh that sounds…
Natsuko: It must be very embarrassing.
Naomi: I bet!
Peter: Well, we finished up and umm if you go there in lunch time, they don’t charge you anything for the seats. So you can go and there is no table charge but after 2 o’ clock throughout the night, they do charge you for the tables. All in all, I would say that it was an interesting experience.
Natsuko: It was, definitely.
Naomi: Yeah.
Peter: Definitely. What was the highlight for you Natsuko san?
Natsuko: Well to be honest, I was quite impressed with the girls because they were so professional.
Peter: Yeah they were.
Natsuko: And they sounded very natural like referring to you as ご主人様 or お嬢様. They didn’t even hesitate to do that.
Peter: They turned it on and off, so quick.
Natsuko: Yeah and they were very polite and they – I think they were very good at serving and talking to someone.
Peter: Definitely very, very good at conversation.
Natsuko: Very good. Yeah, so very high level in terms of hospitality.
Peter: Naomi Sensei, how about you?
Naomi: Umm this is not a highlight but I was surprised that we can’t take pictures in a maid café.
Natsuko: Oh yeah. That’s the important thing.
Naomi: Yeah especially the digital camera, no.
Peter: Yeah so if you want a souvenir, you are not going to get it from the maid café. They did have for sale for ¥1200 a Polaroid type picture that you can take with your favorite maid.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: And you can buy that picture for ¥1200 but yeah, we wanted to get a picture for everyone to see but we couldn’t get it.
Natsuko: Umm that’s not allowed.
Peter: So for me, I think yeah not a highlight but I am glad I went. I don’t think I would go again unless I knew that it was downtime and I could go there and really practice my Japanese. Really, really practice my Japanese because they didn’t use a lot of Japanese that even like – even at really nice places like if you go to a regular restaurant like a family restaurant, you know, they will be polite but not as polite as this place. It was almost like…
Natsuko: Yeah maybe.
Peter: A way to hear very elegant Japanese rather cheap.
Natsuko: Ah that’s interesting. Yeah maybe you are right.
Peter: Yeah and I was also fascinated by the – like you said Natsuko san, the way they refer to everyone as master and princess and the way they were able to turn it on at the switch because once we started talking to one of the maids there for a while, Natsuko san and I were lucky. We got to sit at the bar. So she had to come and get the water for everyone. The long we spoke, the more casual the Japanese got. I think she even said やっぱ one time in there, which is short for やっぱり
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: That probably if it was one of her better clientele, maybe she wouldn’t have used that word. So there is some linguistic value to seeing the way they speak.
Naomi: そうですね。
Natsuko: I agree, yeah.
Peter: Natsuko san, million dollar question. Will you be going back?
Natsuko: Umm well when I want to go for lunch, I want to eat something very delicious for a price – for a certain price. So in that terms, hmm…
Peter: Which is equivalent to No..There was an inflated price for being fed one bite.
Natsuko: And I am not the type of person who enjoying being fed. So those who enjoy that kind of experience, it’s you know highly recommended but maybe not for me.
Peter: Naomi Sensei?
Naomi: えーっと、もうちょっと安かったらね。
Natsuko: うん、そうそうそう。
Peter: If it was a little cheaper…
Naomi: 行くかもしれないですけど。自分でお金を払う時は行かないです。
Peter: When I pay with my own money, well….
Naomi: Let me think about it. Peterさんは?
Peter: Yeah I don’t think so. I think it was a interesting experience to see how the whole thing worked and see how – I thought it was just an interesting side of Japan and you know, just to see what all the fuss is about because right now, this is one of the most talked about things in Japan and it was interesting. I think the guys before us, the party of eight before us, they didn’t even get lunch. They just got something to drink.
Natsuko: Oh really!
Peter: Yeah. So I think they just wanted to see what it was all about too.
Natsuko: Oh yeah.
Peter: So I think after a while, this would kind of fade out. It’s kind of just a fad right now but it’s one that I am kind of glad I got the witness.
Natsuko: Right. I agree.
Naomi: そうですね。


Peter: おたく paradise. Okay so that’s going to do for today.
Natsuko: それじゃ、また今度。
Naomi: さよなら。


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