Monday, March 15, 2010

Staying a night at the "Manga Kissa"...

In Japan , there are several options for those having a night out with friends and end up missing the last train and without the means to take a taxi or other transportation home.
One of the more famous are the "capsule hotels" which offers a small bed, washing and changing facilities. I have actually never stayed at one, but it doesn't seem that bad unless you have difficulties with confined spaces.

The second option is to take advantage of one of the "all night" offers at one of the many "Manga Kissa" or Manga coffee shops. Those place usually offer a comfortable seat, a large selection of manga comic books that you can borrow and read as you please, perhaps a computer or tv and a small space with a partition giving you at least a bare minimum of privacy. Also they usually offer free soft drinks. I would liken them to Internet cafes if it wasn't for the fact that Internet and tv are the secondary things and the extensive library of manga books is the main pull.

It’s been quite a few years since I frequented one of these places, back in the day when I had just moved here and did not yet have Internet access I went to those to do my mailing and Internet surfing, but in the last ~8 years I have not been to one.

Recently the Boy told me how he had missed the last train and ending up ditched by his friend a bit too far off to take a taxi home. Since it was just a matter of 5-6 hours, he made the decision to spend the night at Manga Kissa until the first train in the morning (they usually start up around six am).

However, the world of after-dark Manga Kissa showed to be a scary place after dark... The place he had picked had semi-private rooms with large partations and "saloon type" doors to your little booth and for some strange reason this place had a pretty extensive collection of hardcore porno manga (usually this is not the case) a section which was pretty heavily in use by a portion of the clientel. As the Boy was walking back from getting his soft drinks, passing by the booths, quite a few of the chairs he could see were shaking more than they should when you’re just supposedly reading a comic book. Also, strangely enough, the booths where shaking chairs could be seen seemed to be the same people who commuted to the porn corner...

Sleeping turned out to be much much harder than the Boy initially expected, despite a pretty comfortable chair and ability to dim the lights. Apparently a manga kissa at night is about as calm and serene as a mental asylum with people banging on the walls, the occasional howling and just when things seem to calm down, some sadistic bastard turns on the soft ice cream machine which operated on a noise level the same as heavy industrial equipment...

In order to turn this post into something a little educational, if finances are limited and you end up in the middle of Tokyo with a few hours to kill before the trains start moving and you don't want to spend the money on a capsule hotel or love hotel, then an all night pack usually doesn't cost more than around 2,000 yen. It's a pretty agreeable price as long as you don't expect to be able to sleep too well...

3 comments:

ハリソン said...

you knowマンベアピグ?
it's manbearpig!!

Taarne said...

Man-boo! :D I loved how prices for guys was about 150% of the girls' :D Still, I thought it was nuts that you could spend an hour on the pc, reading manga (if you were literate, that is..) AND had access to as much free drinks as you wanted.. For basically the same amount of money as you'd spend on one 0,5 liter soft drink in Finland. And this is somehow a good business, since there was quite a few of them around. O.o

Mr. Salaryman said...

Harrison - Wow, if that was a spam post, it must be one of the most pointless spam posts in the history of spam posting!

Taarne - Yeah, seriously, it's pretty good value for money actually and if they had comics that I liked (I think it's obvious that I'm a sucker for american comics) I can understand the appeal of the concept actually.

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