Anyone who’s done any writing has probably had writer’s block. Throughout the years, people have tried various ways of overcoming it. Maya Angelou advocated a “just write” method to overcome the block, while Neil Gamon suggests sleeping on it and ignoring it for some time. But at a cafe in Tokyo, they’re trying something different.
The “Manuscript Writing Cafe” in the Koenjikita district in Shinjuku, Tokyo has ten special seats reserved for writers, journalists, editors, or manga artists looking to buckle down with an unlimited supply of coffee and tea. But there’s a catch: you’re not allowed to leave until you finish your work.
To be admitted into the cafe, you have to commit to a writing goal and someone at the cafe will nag you to get it done. The 10-seat cafe has high-speed wifi, docking ports, and tall chairs that discourage slouching and push clients to work. It offers unlimited coffee or tea at a cost equivalent to $1 for the first 30 min, and then $2.2 for an hour. The proprietor, Takuya Kawai says almost everyone has finished their work — although some have had to stay until after closing time.
Customers have to write their names, goals, and the time they plan to finish. They can also opt for a “mild” session, in which they will simply be asked how they got on at the end of the session. The more “severe” sessions will have someone constantly looking over the clients’ shoulder, every half an hour or so.
But Kawai says he’s not there to stress people or annoy them.
“Instead of monitoring them, I’m here to support them,” he told The Guardian. “As a result, what they thought would take a day was actually completed in three hours, or tasks that usually take three hours were done in one.”
To further motivate people, however, customers’ name who don’t finish their work are listed on a special board.
After the cafe was shut down during the COVID-19 lockdown, it was a way to reinvent itself. Some customers said it’s a good way to get rid of all distractions and makes for a nice working environment. So, would you try it out?
Andrei's background is in geophysics, and he's been fascinated by it ever since he was a child. Feeling that there is a gap between scientists and the general audience, he started ZME Science -- and the results are what you see today.