Only In Japan

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Cosplay Yakiniku??

Have you ever heard of the "Morning Musume"? They aren't as popular as they used to be, but they still have a cult following: the Musume are Japan's answer to the Spice Girls, a group of supercute 15 year-old girls singing some canned lyrics and dancing to some canned tunes. Their lyrics make the Backstreet Boys sound like Jane Austen. But who cares! They're supercute.

How would you like girls dressed as Morning Musume to wait on you at a barbecued meat restaurant?

Not too much? So how about Budweiser girls? Nurses in sexy outfits? Flight attendants? Anime heroins? High School girls? French maids?

Welcome to the world of Cosplay Yakiniku Tabehodai, a very popular style of restaurants here in Japan. The principle is simple: it's a rather inexpensive all-you-can-eat grilled meat restaurant, staffed by girls dressed as something cute, funny or exotic. It might sound childish, kinky or simply surreal (Nurse! Some more sirloin please!), but for Japanese people it makes sense: food, drinks and cute/sexy girls have always been considered a perfect combination for a merry evening with friends or colleagues. And don't think Cosplay Restaurants are only for men either: Japanese girls have a very broad definition of what is "cute" or "fun", and if a Cosplay Restaurant is known for its lively atmosphere, they will just flock there without second thoughts.

And you know what? I think Japanese people have a point there. If it's fun, just go for it!

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