Years after the initial boom of the smartphone game Pokemon GO, it has found a stable group of die-hard fans in Japan. However, the makers at Niantic probably didn’t expect this fan base to consist largely of upper-middle-aged men and women.
While on the one hand the demographic has kept the game successful, on the other it has presented problems, especially with the recently implemented “friend” feature. For older folks it’s sometimes difficult to undo those years of social conditioning that teach us it is not appropriate to approach strangers on the street and discuss imaginary creatures with them.
And while it is possible to make “friends” by sharing codes online, many features still involve face-to-face interaction. As a result, many trainers’ gameplay is left significantly crippled.
However, there is hope in the form of P-GO Izakaya Genkinokakera, a bar where trainers can congregate over drinks and trade, battle, and share gifts to their hearts’ content.
The unassuming bar was located about a three-minute walk from Edogawabashi Station on the Yurakucho Line in Tokyo. It opened in April of this year to cater to the large number of older Pokemon GO trainers. It’s such a good business idea that, it’s kind of surprising there aren’t more places like it around Japan.
▼ The top of the sign reads: “We love Pokemon GO! We love Japanese sake/alcohol!”
Upon entering, there wasn’t much Pokemon-themed decorations to be seen aside from a few stuffed toys lying around. However, there was excitement in the air as that evening there was a trainer battle tournament being held among the customers. It’s a great way to get people who don’t know each other to break the ice through Pokemon.
However, it seemed that this time everyone already knew everyone else. The owner told us that he is looking for ways to facilitate interaction between customers by matching up trainers in the future and hopefully build friendships.
P-GO Izakaya Genkinokakera has free Wi-Fi and is well equipped with chargers so players don’t have to worry about their phone situations. Even better, it is also located in the range of both a Pokestop and a gym, which means you never have to leave your table to keep things going.
Also, because this is an izakaya-style bar, there are also lots of great food items to choose from. In the end this is a regular bar and not a Pokemon Cafe though, so expect standard food and drinks, but also be prepared for subtle little surprises like hard-boiled Pokemon eggs.
P-GO Izakaya Genkinokakera is just getting started, but as it perfectly fills the need among older Pokemon GO players in Japan to make like-minded friends in a safe environment, it seems destined to be a success.
P-GO Izakaya Genkinokakera / P-GO居酒屋 げんきのかけら
Address: Tokyo-to, Bunkyo-ku, Sekiguchi 1-20-7
Hours: 6:30 p.m. – 11 p.m. (Tues-Fri), 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. (Sat/Sun)
Closed: Mondays and Public Holidays
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