Photo: @takuyakawai
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Tokyo’s Manuscript Writing Cafe only allows writers on a deadline, and won’t let them leave until finished

11 Comments
By grape Japan

Many of Japan's themed cafes are centered around some fun activities to keep you busy, such as playing with micro pigs in an "Alice in Wonderland" setting, or admiring a recreated "Cowboy Bebop" world.

A cafe located in the Koenji district of Tokyo that's been causing a buzz online has a different way of keep you busy. It's called the The Manuscript Writing Cafe, and is designed to operate as a safe haven and base for writers who need to get in their work up against a deadline.

But it's not just a theme of the cafe--those are the actual rules!

Proprietor Takuya Kawai (@TakuyaKawai) shared a photo of the cafe and its number one rule--that in order to use the cafe, you need to be a writer trying to clear a deadline.

"The Manuscript Writing Cafe only allows in people who have a writing deadline to face! It's in order to maintain a level of focus and tense atmosphere at the cafe! Thank you for your understanding."

Screen-Shot-2022-04-12-at-15.32.53.png

The cafe, which you can see pictures of at the official home page, charges by time used (with a minimum of thirty minutes, and then by the hour with an order of coffee--although they do not accept cash) is equipped for writing with USB ports, Wi-Fi, and computer stands. The cafe also allows customers to bring in food and drink and even have it delivered, but they also have some fairly strict rules about writing such as:

  1. Upon entering the store, write down at the reception desk how many words and by what time you are going to write your manuscript.

  2. The manager asks you every hour how your manuscript is coming along.

  3. You are not allowed to leave the store until you have finished writing your manuscript or writing project.

Apparently, customers can choose different "courses" in terms of how rigorously staff check in on your progress. For instance, an "S" course sees them hurry you along pretty aggressively, and "M" course has them do it a more mildly.

The "manuscript writing" at the store includes "translation work," "proposal writing," "layout work," "image processing," etc., indicating that the store caters to a wide range of people.

With those rules however, in the store, you can probably feel the tension and impatience of those around you, while you yourself fight the pressure to get the job done...

Many on Twitter were amused (and understandably intimidated) by the store's adherence to a tense atmosphere and writing rules, leaving comments:

"I laughed at "maintaining tension in the store." In a way, it's fascinating."

"That is way too much pressure!"

"If it were me, I would no longer be able to leave the store and would end up having to live there."

"A café that you cannot enter unless you meet certain conditions."

Those looking for a little added motivating in their writing may want to look into a visit to the Manuscript Writing Cafe and keep an eye on the monthly pop-up dates (it runs on set dates on a bi-weekly basis).

Read more stories from grape Japan.

-- Visiting parents, man finds out their restroom has turned into Silent Hill

-- Woman’s Japanese countryside life with dogs has people thinking she’s living out Ghibli movies

-- City girl shows country-living power and impresses with bubble tea made from scratch!

© grape Japan

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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shogun36Today  08:17 am JST

Sounds like a lot of work to even enter the joint.

BYOF and only a niche group allowed in?

The thing won’t last 3 months.

You'd think so but it's been there years.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A serious writer/editor/translator would have a home office. Sitting in a cafe with a laptop smacks of amateurism.

Hmm ... not necessarily. A serious writer/editor can have a home office and still frequent cafes for a change of pace and scenery. For example, Bong Joon-Ho (who wrote and directed "Parasite") has a reputation of doing a lot of his writing in coffee shops.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I also work better when i am not at home. Cafe does sound nice. When i am at home, i get so easily distracted with stuff and my body tend to seek relaxation. We humans usually work better under pressure.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A serious writer/editor/translator would have a home office. Sitting in a cafe with a laptop smacks of amateurism.

J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books at a cafe in Edinburgh. Are you implying that she's an amateur author?

As for this manuscript writing cafe, honestly, I think it's a bit too much. For me at least. It's like legalized hostage taking. The stress and anxiety of not being able to leave would result in me not getting any work done.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

A serious writer/editor/translator would have a home office. Sitting in a cafe with a laptop smacks of amateurism.

who are you lol

1 ( +3 / -2 )

For instance, an "S" course sees them hurry you along pretty aggressively, and "M" course has them do it a more mildly.

Looks to me more like a thinly disguised attempt to operate an S&M cafe. (Most of which are located in the Gotanda and Meguro areas.)

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

JeffLeeToday  10:32 am JST

A serious writer/editor/translator would have a home office. Sitting in a cafe with a laptop smacks of amateurism.

Not at all. Sometimes a change of scene is perfect for a fresh perspective. As some others have said, plenty of successful writers have written their works in cafes.

I like their policy of no masks necessary (マスクの着用義務はありません). Some commonsense for a change.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books at a cafe in Edinburgh. Are you implying that she's an amateur author?

She was at the time. A struggling single mother who couldn't afford a proper space. These days she has a dedicated space in her own garden, which she calls her favourite place in the world.

 Bong Joon-Ho (who wrote and directed "Parasite") has a reputation of doing a lot of his writing in coffee shops.

I wonder if the cafe staff badgers him every hour to pick up the pace.

who are you lol

Someone who has made a good living by writing for many years now.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Japanese can't get anything done unless they are being told what to do

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Sounds like a lot of work to even enter the joint.

BYOF and only a niche group allowed in?

The thing won’t last 3 months.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

A serious writer/editor/translator would have a home office. Sitting in a cafe with a laptop smacks of amateurism.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

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