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Themed restaurants attract many curious customers

[ 2011-10-20 10:49]     字号 [] [] []  
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When Han Peng walked into the Astrid-Jmoy Maid Restaurant in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan province, he needed a moment to take in the scene.

The new themed, or "cosplay," restaurant had striking purple decor and waitresses in French maid outfits who greeted customers by calling them "master."

"I heard of this restaurant on the Internet and brought my girlfriend here," Han said.

Like a lot of other patrons, 19-year-old Han enjoyed the experience, at least at first, which explains why the Japanese-style restaurants are popping up in cities across the country.

The phenomenon of "cosplay" restaurants and pubs started in Tokyo in the late 1990s. ("Cosplay" is a word made from "costume" and "play.")

The restaurants then found their way to Shanghai and Beijing, and now are appearing in cities such as Kunming and Wuhan, in the central province of Hubei.

The restaurants themselves are part eatery and part role-playing game. They serve food, snacks and beverages, and the costumed waitresses treat the customers, who are mainly men, as if they are noblemen of days gone by.

Patrons go along with the game and pass the time playing card games and chatting.

"Some of those men like to enjoy the feeling of being respected and being served as a noble race," said Tian Chenghua, a professor of psychiatric research at Peking University's No 6 Hospital.

Tian said the restaurants were becoming more popular because increasingly affluent Chinese were trying new things and niche businesses were opening their doors.

Working in the "cosplay" restaurants is an experience in itself.

Mei Rui, 21, is one of the 15 "servants" at the Kunming restaurant. She was a fan of manga, or Japanese animation, and the job was an extension of that, she said.

"I feel like a child when I wear the costumes," she said.

Mei said the other waitresses were all around 20 years old and their generation grew up with famous Japanese comics and shows such as Doraemon and Sailor Moon.

Restaurant Manager Chen Ping said it was the first maid-themed restaurant in the city and a branch would open if its success continued.

Wuhan has had such a restaurant, the Menggong House, near Central China Normal University, for more than a year, but the shine, it seems, may be wearing off.

Yin Li, 35, said he used to frequent the restaurant often, but was not going anymore.

"The food is not special, while only the name of the restaurant and the maid costumes are fancy," he said.


1. What kind of themed restaurants are gaining popularity in China?

2. Where did they start?

3. What is "cosplay"?


1. "Cosplay" restaurants.

2. The phenomenon of "cosplay" restaurants and pubs started in Tokyo in the late 1990s.

3. A word made from "costume" and "play".

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Themed restaurants attract many curious customers

About the broadcaster:

Themed restaurants attract many curious customers

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.