This Tokyo cafe serves as an antidote to writer’s block

Tokyo’s famous themed cafes usually feature animals – cats, pigs, hedgehogs. The mood is one of fun and play. Quite unlike the latest addition which is all about work.

At a busy intersection in the city’s Koenji district is Tokyo’s newest pop-up cafe, called the Manuscript Writing Café, and it caters to people who not only have a writing project but also, and most importantly, a deadline.

The atmosphere is serious. A handful of customers sit at workstations glued to their computers, watched by Takuya Kawai, owner and chief of police.

A fee of around $2.50 an hour gets you fast Wi-Fi, air-cooled computer stands, and Kawai itself. “I try not to get high,” he told correspondent Liz Palmer. “I don’t want to put too much pressure on them, but I check their progress every 30 minutes.”

At the Manuscript Writing Café in Tokyo, the customers are writers, who can’t leave if they haven’t reached their work goals for the day.

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Hiro Sekiguchi came to write a lecture scheduled for tomorrow. On his sign-up, he asks to be checked (or you could say gently nagged) every half hour until he’s finished.

Writers are procrastinators. Faced with a blank page (or more likely a blank screen these days), they’ll find a million ways to avoid getting down to business. Well, not here.

The man hovering nearby is Manuscript Writing Café owner Takuya Kawai, who makes sure this writer meets his deadline.

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Kawai makes sure of this with Mr. Takahara, who runs to finish a manga.

“Your goal was 24 pages, how are you? it is asked.

“Don’t worry,” Takahara replied. “I’m on the right track.”

Hard at work!

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With the constant roar of traffic in a nondescript suburb, this place isn’t what you’d call charming except for movie memorabilia and a wall of old tech in the bathroom.

But what really matters here is doing it.

Part of the secret, says Hiro Sekiguchi, is the lack of distraction. “I’m comfortable working here,” he said. Not to mention focused.

Greater Tokyo is the most populous metropolitan area in the world, so a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle to focus and create is invaluable.

At twenty to four in the afternoon, Mr. Oguchi finished his project.

“Congratulations!” said Palmer. “How many hours did it take?” »

“A year and a half,” he replied.

“Why did you write better and concentrate better here? »

“I had a tight deadline,” Oguchi replied. “And of course, I was paying for it!”

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Edited by Randy Schmidt.