Rodney McGary | Machida, Japan | Spring 2015
You may have read the title and thought, “What the heck?!” Well, that’s one of the many convenient things about life in Japan, you can camp out in a net café overnight if you miss your last train or bus home. As for me, the idea of doing this circulated in my mind before arriving, but I never intended to stay out and miss my last train. Instead, I wanted to go out at night with the express purpose of staying in one of these net cafés. Anyway, one night I went out to an International Mixer-type Meetup way out in Yurigaoka. Little side note, if networking is one of your goals while studying abroad or you want to make friends with people who aren’t students I highly encourage you to create a Meetup account because there are countless Meetup groups in Tokyo that suit any and all interests. With that being said, I had such a good time talking to different people, practicing Japanese, drinking, etc, that I left later than I should have. Luckily the trains were still running when I left the Yurigaoka. Upon arriving at Machida station, I made the foolish assumption that buses would still be running at 1AM (insert face palm here).
Another important thing to note is that most buses and trains shut down around midnight or earlier in Japan, which a city-born kid like myself found a wee-bit inconvenient, but it is what it is. Fortunately, there are 24-hour Internet/Manga cafés everywhere, including Machida. I made my way to the nearest one, Café B@gus. When checking-in, you’ll be asked to choose from a few rooming options, which included room/booth with: leather chair, leather reclining chair, flat sleeping surface, and leather reclining massage chair. I opted for the massage chair because I really was in need of a massage and it wasn’t too expensive. As for pricing, it varies according to the kind of surface you get and the duration of your stay, which ranged from 3 hours to 24 hours (I think). For the reclining massage chair for a little over 5 hours it only ran me about 13USD. After checking in, I was given a key to my space and told I can enjoy all the free ice cream, soft drinks, and manga as I pleased for the allotted time.
My spot was upstairs in a section with 7 cubicles complete with chairs, desk, and computers (with door), which made it look like a proper office (but instead of working you sleep and relax). After throwing my things down and removing my shoes, I went downstairs to the hot food vending machine that offered: thick fries, hot dogs, fried chicken, yakisoba, takoyaki, fried rice, and onigiri for just 300 yen. After selecting yakisoba, I got myself some ice cream from the machine while I waited 110 seconds for the machine to heat my food then dispense it. For something that dropped from a vending machine, the yakisoba was actually pretty good (and piping hot). Since I didn’t have much time to waste, as I just wanted a little sleep, I wolfed down my food and along with some strawberry coffee from a different machine upstairs. After finishing my food, a few minutes were spent fiddling with the controls on the chair to get a position for optimal massage comfort. It felt great and all, but trying to sleep in one position with your back firmly pressing against a large massage ball in the spine of the chair isn’t an ideal way to get a good night’s rest. I managed to find a position that wasn’t too bad and rested until I heard someone’s mobile alarm clock go off. The person who set the alarm was completely oblivious to the annoying “beep-beep” which continued even as I was leaving with cubicle four minutes later. On the way out, all that was left to do is turn in the key, then I was on my merry way home. However, the buses on Sunday morning start running a little after 7, so I rode the train from Machida to Fuchninobe (just two stops), footed it home, changed into my jammies, and got a proper (day’s) sleep.