Getting work done at home, with a four year old and a one year old, is a Herculean task. They are a lot cuter and more fun than a blank page or a stack of homework to grade. In New York, I retreat to the Writer’s Room. In Japan, I resort to going to a mangakissa, a cross between a cafe, library, and office space. This is a little break from my self-help cheerleading to show you a slice of life you may not know about.
Unlike in New York, buses here come right on time. Most of the time, you enter from the back and pay when you get out and pay in the front. If you don’t have change a cool old school looking machine changes bills and coins and gives you the assorted change. After getting off at the train station, I walk to the Bivi building which also houses a game center, movie theatre, assorted restaurants and shops and a Lawsons, where I stop to get snacks.
Choose Your Seat
Upon entering the Aprecio mangakissa, I am greeted by a concierge, who displays all the
seating options and time plan:. smoking or non-smoking?, open area or semi-private booth? Japanese, Western, or massage chair? Do you want a buddy/couple chair or do you want to be solo? I usually go for a private booth Western chair. I used to go for the Japanese sit on the floor experience but my back had a different opinion. I also usually request slippers. (Oh, yeah!) A three-hour package usually costs 1000 yen which today equals $12.78. Today I am opting for a six-hour plan for $16.
Once I enter, I set down my non-valuables at my booth after firing up the computer and monitor. While everything is loading, I grab my drinks from
the Drink Bar. Choices include but are not limited to; Coke, Calpis, Japanese sodas, green and other teas, cappuccino and other coffees dispense by a space age machine. There is also a soft cream machine but I usually stay away from that.
Choose Your Pleasure
Once you are situated, you have several options with what to do with yourself:
- Surf the internet.
- Watch Cinema Channel, which includes an astounding amount of choices: Japanese and Korean dorama, old and current anime, Yakuza and Yanki drama, several Pachinko and Mahjong channels, Korean and American concerts (hmmm, Kenny G or Santana?), darts, billiards, pro-wrestling, Shogi, comedy, or グラビヤ、Gurabia involves watching
scantily clad women pose seductively with crappy music as a background. There is also an adult channel. I avoid the last two channels. I’ve heard that they cause blindness and hair to grow on your palms. 😉
- You can read. Bring your own or read from the thousand of manga, magazines, and newspapers
available on the shelves. I am usually overwhelmed but since I was writing this today I took a quick run into the shelves and found Battle Royale, the manga version of the book that was also turned into a movie.
- Sleep. Sit back, recline, and let the day melt away. You can also spend the night.
- Eat and drink. . For an extra fee you can have ramen, pasta, fried chicken, takoyaki, beer, etc. (Who needs anything else?)
For the most part, when I go to the mangakissa I go to work. I’m taking an online course to help me prepare for next year. I usually fire up my Youtube playlists and alternate between studying (course work, flashcards, random good stuff from Silverspoon) and just relaxing. The added plus is that when you watched Youtube in Japan all the ads and filler are in Japanese.
Jeez, I sound so serious. Well, gotta go. Need to dive into this toasty katsu sandwich and see if The Lost Canvas is any good. If you have a chance, visit a Japanese manga cafe. If you’ve been to one, share your mangakissa tips and rituals.
How wild – thanks for explaining how that works – I had no idea such a thing existed. I don't know if an American version would work or not. For us, we're only just getting into telecommuting. I don't think we've reached the point of needing an individual office outside the home again. I rather think that those who telecommute need more of an in-person social option, something to replace the water cooler.
It's mostly for people to hang out but some Japanese people sometimes leave their office to get work done at these cafes. Space is at a premium here in Japan, so a manga cafe is a way to get away from the family, the office, etc without being bothered. It's great for me because I'm trying to immerse myself in Japanese at the same time that I'm trying to get some writing and lesson planning accomplished. Good hearing from you, Gaelyn!
john turningpin said:
I often used them as cheap alternatives to motel rooms; a lot of them have "night packs" good for 8-10 hours after a certain point in the p.m. If I was ever out traveling or whatever and needed budget lodgings, I'd ID an internet cafe, sign up for membership if need be, stock up on chuhai, then recline in that big old chair for the rest of the night. The good ones have shower/towel facilities and morning snacks as well. Sold. 🙂
I've never done an overnight/ Thanks for the comment and your site looks like fun.