April 5, 2007
Media Immersion Pod Spotlight: B@gus Cyber Cafe
Overview: CPR previously did a write-up on Japanese Media Immersion Pods. Here’s an in-depth look at one of them:
B@gus Cyber Cafe
12F Roi Building, Roppongi Japan
A short walk down Gaien-Higasi Dori in Roppongi will reveal to you a world of Discount shops, trendy night clubs and sushi bars. But at the Roi Building on the 12th floor there’s two things and two things only that will greet you - Media and Information.
Sporting shower rooms, Internet, free drinks (food was extra), 100+ seating (including dual/quad and ladies only seating) and a vast collection of any kind of media you could think of. One could theoretically live here for ever. The only thing standing in the way of maintaining your cyber-addiction is the fee and the money required to pay for said fee.
When I went in they were offering a day package, 980 Yen would net me a cube and all the coffee I would need for 3 hours. The clerk right off the bat asked “Smoking? Or non?” “Smoking” I replied, Ultra smoking. So I got my receipt and was shown my cube on the map. F-12 Dual seating. I quick made a pit stop at the coffee bar, grabbed a ashtray and I was on my way. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for, A library size collection of Manga (Every Akira, But no GITS), Magazines (TIME, Sass) and Porn (Playboy etc, etc.) greeted me as soon as I walked away from the counter. Deciding on the good ole’ fashion tubes of the Internet, me, my ashtray and coffee set off for my cube.
Cubes. Lots of cubes: Tucked away in a corner of the floor in a dark, quiet maze of cubes I found F-12. Kicking off my shoes at the door, I opened it up. Like a mini-living room, it has a TV, DVD player, PC (Running WinXP Home), Headphones and a PS2. Also each cube had a phone so you could order whatever you needed. Each cube had black leather cushioning and had seat formed cushions on top of that for back support. The only thing these cubes were missing were IVs and catheters. I turned on a lamp and began my session.
Internet? PC Gripes and tubes: I surfed some of my usual spots; cyberpunk review and googled some random stuff. My session was pretty fast, pages were would pop up fairly quickly. I wouldn’t expect it not to, seeing some people spend all night here and fast tubes is a must. I must of came in before basic maintenance because the pc was running sluggish when having to load anything (Didn’t really hinder my experience, plus I feel for their IT). My biggest whine is that they don’t offer OS’s other than Windows, and it would be a nice change if places would start to offer Linux and/or Mac, instead of just WinXP. I would gladly pay 100 extra Yen an hour for a little OS change. But like I said it’s personal not necessary.
Dark room: This place is quieter then any library I’ve ever been in. In the background you can hear clicking of keyboards, people shifting in their seats and the occasional clearing of the throat. but otherwise it was dead silent. I had a window cube so I could pop open the curtain and see the street below bustling with life. Not that the silence bothered me but it was a nice reminder that the world was still there. I can see why, staying the night you wouldn’t want to be bothered with the real world or be reminded of one while you were going on a media/coffee binge.The only light source was from lamps and the sunlight creeping in from the curtains.
Overall? As I exited the elevator and was greeted by the raining Roppongi afternoon I met up with my girlfriend. As the cool rain beat down on me, I pulled the hood up on my black hoody and walked across the street to meet up with her, clubs and bars starting to open up exclaiming that happy hour was now indeed in effect. “How did your thing go?” How did it go? What was my experience? On that twelfth floor there was a soft lonely feeling, a nagging at, you might not forget. No matter how lonely and cold it can be, soft LCD glow can carry you home. I smiled, pulled the hoody tighter. And thought of a quote. “Well….There’s no there, there.”
The photos that I took were a little blurry so I apologize.