Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, May 14, 2021

If Tokyo’s customary barrage of audio-visual sensory assault isn’t enough for you, “media immersion pods” allow you to consume massive amounts of media for hours on end — alone or in pairs:

According to Mr. Isshow, Japan’s “petit iede,” or little runaways, come for downtime, free lattes and smoothies, and, at some branches, showers. They use the places as trial separations from home — staying a few hours, overnight or a few days, long enough to scare their parents. (A “night pack” allows use of the pod from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. for about $10; some places sell toothbrushes and underwear too.) Periodically the management will remind a customer that the cafe is not a hotel, but above all Bagus respects people’s privacy.

On a recent afternoon, at around 5:30, I visited the Gran Cyber Café in the Shinjuku neighborhood for the first time, to read e-mail and visit a news site or two. Checking in, I was assigned to pod 16-A.

I loved 16-A the instant I saw it. I closed the door, slipped into a low-slung leatherette seat and surveyed the all-you-can-eat tech feast, which includes VHS and DVD players, satellite and regular television on a Toshiba set, PlayStation 2, Lineage II and a Compaq computer loaded with software, all the relevant downloads and hyperspeedy Internet. In the nearby library were thousands of comic books, magazines and novels. On the desk was a menu of oddball snacks, like boiled egg curry and hot sandwich tuna.

The atmosphere is airless and hot, with a permanent cloud of cigarette smoke. Over all the effect is of a low-wattage, low-oxygen casino.

Dude. I’d better never visit Tokyo. Being a hopeless media-overload junkie (example: I’m currently typing this, checking out other websites, watching a hockey game on TV, glancing at both the New York Times and Daily News, and browsing through the iTunes Music Store), I’d probably just touch down at the airport and then make a beeline toward the nearest Bagus Gran Cyber Café.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/14/2006 09:11:59 PM
Category: Media, Tech, Society | Permalink |

Trackback this entry: Right-click and copy link
1 Feedback »
  1. ummm…
    how about just going out and talking to someone?

    Comment by Vladimir Orlt — 05/14/2006 @ 10:51:58 PM

RSS feed for feedback on this post.

Leave a comment

PLEASE NOTE: Various types of comment moderation may be triggered once you hit the "Say It!" button below. Common causes for this are the inclusion of several hyperlinks and/or spam words in the comment field. Please do not hit the "Say It!" button more than once. If you feel your comment is being blocked without cause, feel free to email me about it.