One of the least pleasant words in the Japanese language is bottakuri, which means a ripoff. When the word bottakuri precedes such words as bar, kyabakura, casino club, massage parlor, etc., it indicates places where unwary patrons get taken for a ride.
And now, reports Shukan Jitsuwa (Dec. 31), the maid café can be added to the list of such disreputable establishments in, of all places, Nipponbashi — Osaka’s equivalent of Tokyo’s famous Akihabara Electric Town.
Nipponbashi is no longer the friendly, innocent place it once was — if it ever was.
“Like Tokyo’s Akihabara, this place is a Mecca for otaku (geeks) from Kansai and beyond,” the operator of a maid café tells the weekly from within the electronics wholesale district.
Along a street nicknamed “Ota-dori” (geek street) interspersed with computer shops, girls in maid costumes stand out on the sidewalks soliciting customers. These places had best be avoided.
“They will tack on 15 percent for tax and service charges plus a flat 500 yen table charge,” a thirtyish salaryman who got ripped off relates. “Compared to just 500 yen for the customer’s own drink, treating the girl will set you back 2,000 yen for a small size and 3,000 yen for a large.”
On top of this, the shop might add an additional 4,000 yen to the tab for the privilege of chatting with the waitress for half an hour, or 1,500 for a five-minute shoulder rub.
“The charges pile up in a way that can put a cabaret club to shame,” the abovementioned salaryman sighs.
Ironically, the article reports, the sluts at the shop are surly and don’t even provide cheerful and attentive service.
And since most of the customers are wimps, they quickly give in when the girls request a drink; and before they know it they wind up getting hit with a whopping bill. For the hour and a half he spent on the premises, the salaryman was charged 25,000 yen — five to eight times what a customer would ordinarily be charged at a conventional maid café.
“I’ve heard of places where customers were charged 100,000 yen,” the above-mentioned café operator warns. “If you go to Nipponbashi you should check things out beforehand and stick with well known or established shops.
“I hear about the sneaky places from customers or the girls who work there. If you’re cocky and think you can find a good place off the beaten track, you’re almost certain to get taken,” he says. “These bottakuri shops take advantage of the hubbub to pull the wool over customers’ eyes.” (K.S.)
Source: “Osaka Nipponbashi no oko bottakuri meido kafe no akutoku teguchi,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Dec. 31, page 46)