The traditional “Café” has been an icon of culture, the place for artist, the place for daily life, the place for love. Ever since we’ve become nomads of 21st century with all our smart tools, the traditional “Café” has become the place for work and study. Now in Tokyo “Cafés” start to show a new face. What I call, “activity café”.
One example is in Shibuya Parco, the fashion building for teenager up to the 20’s. Located next to the beads and material shop you can find the café, “ beads labo + café”. In which people enjoy making their own beaded jewelry while drinking coffee. The café staff is on the one hand serving coffee but on the other teaching the art of bead making.
Another example is situated in Ginza, it is called “GINZARAKUGAKI café and bar by Pentel”. “RAKUGAKI” means “Scribble” in Japanese. Pentel is a stationary company popular for its markers and pens. They respect human beings expressing ability, and as we are grown up, we tend to loose the free mind to express ourselves with drawing and scribbling like child. They let people draw wherever they want in the café if wall, floor, door or table, using their pens and markers. Also all the food is related to the idea of “scribble”. We can enjoy scribbling on the dish using ketchup and sauce when we eat French fries!
In Roppongi, on the 52nd floor of the Roppongi Mori building, there is the “HOSHIZORA café” where you can enjoy thousands of stars watching the planetarium and the real stars that shine over Tokyo city through the window. They hold several seminars and events and in particular one seminar called “ light down campaign; lets’ enjoy stars with astronomer”. As the environment ministry proceeds using less than CO2 and makes people turn down lights at night, this event is to make use of this opportunity (dark Tokyo night!) and enjoy stars from top of building.
We can observe form these café movements that our needs are to gather together with a special reason , we also want to experience something familiar but yet new. With a traditional Café with a twist, somehow there is the margin to give and a feeling of freedom, even in Rakugaki Café, we can simply go and enjoy French fries and we enjoy a gin tonic in a simple way even under the planetarium. This margin might be the important keyword of today, free but some special trigger to make people gather.
For that reason, the traditional Café with a twist seems to play an important role.
From Tokyo by Kaori Ieyasu