Futago is Tokyo’s newest yakiniku restaurant, having just opened in the city’s Shibuya neighborhood on May 25. Like at all restaurants, the staff wants customers to eat, drink, and be merry, but there’s one other thing Futago wants customers to do too: put down their phones.
Prior to opening, Futago conducted an online survey of 1,000 people, 100 men and women each in the under-20 age bracket plus 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. 65 percent of the respondents said they’ve felt awkward or uncomfortable as someone they’re eating with spends more time looking at their phone than engaged with their dining companions, and so Futago wanted to do something to help. They could have just implemented a no-smartphone-use-allowed policy on the premises, but that sort of heavy-handed approach can be divisive. So instead of forcing people to do so, they came up with a clever idea to make them want to put their phones down of their own free will.
Diagramed in the schematic above, Futago calls it the Smartphone-Fasting Glass, though “Smartphone-Abstinence Glass” would be the more accurate name. As you can see, it’s more or less shaped like a pint glass, but with a big notch in the base.
Obviously, if you set the Smartphone-fasting Glass down on the table, it’s going to tip over and spill your drink. So what you’re supposed to do inside is slide your smartphone underneath the glass instead in order to complete its structural foundation.
Arguably, you could stick something other than your phone down there to prop the glass up. But to dispel that temptation, Futago has created a special cocktail, the Smartphone-fasting Sour which rewards you with a dazzling blue hue if you turn your phone’s light on before placing it under the glass.
The intended aesthetic is to make your glass look like the sparkling sea, an effect that’s added to by the presence of gummi fish. The restaurant hasn’t said what kind of alcohol is used in the 858-yen cocktail, but in Japanese bar terminology “sour” usually refers to the presence of shochu, and the color brings to mind “blue Hawaii,” the conceptually elusive flavor that almost everyone in Japan has tried, but few can describe.
▼ Futago entrance
Of course, Futago realizes that with such a visually impressive presentation, dining-out foodies are naturally going to want to snap a picture to post on social media. Really, the Smartphone-fasting Glass/Sour is a compromise that aims to take at least one conversation-reducing smartphone out of the mix for your table, while also serving as a fun conversation piece for you and your friends as you pose with it and swap pics.
Futago / ふたご
Address: Shibuya-ku, Dogenzaka, 1-19-10
Open 5 p.m.-midnight (Monday-Saturday), 5 p.m.-11:30 p.m. (Sunday, holidays)
Insert images: PR Times
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