My afternoon at Monkey Net, a halfway house for otaku

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Yesterday afternoon, I found myself with two hours to kill and an itch to do something meaningful in Akihabara. I sat down at Mister Donuts with a French cruller and American coffee, reading the Cool Japan Akiba guide book that I had half-jokingly bought the day before at Nakano Broadway with Moot, the founder of 4chan. I tried checking my email on my iPod Touch but had no luck. There’s this crazy building on one of the side streets that I was dying to check out. It has, one on top of the other, a Gundam bar, a military-themed cafe, and a imouto maid cafe where they call you "big brother" and "big sister" instead of master and mistress. I walked over. Gundam bar and military cafe were closed, and I just couldn’t imagine walking into the imouto place by myself, so I left. I tried checking my email on my iPod Touch but had no luck.

Finally, I decided I was tired of walking around and checked myself into Monkey Net.

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Monkey Net is an Internet cafe, but it’s actually like a halfway house for otaku with time to kill. They have a library of manga with smoking and non-smoking seats to lounge in, showers, private booths for gaming, web-surfing, and business, and vending machines selling cigarettes and hot dogs in case you get hungry doing any of the above. The dude at the counter gave me this floor guide map, which showed me where the printer, the shojo comics, the free juice and coffee, and my booth—Booth #2—were. He also took my drivers license info, took note of my address and phone number, and made me sign up for a membership. 200 yen for the membership, 250 for a 30 minute session. I grabbed the cup, thanked the guy, and filled it with veggie juice before heading up to floor 5 to hole up in my little temporary home. 

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Once I was in my little cubicle room, I cozied up in the black leather CEO chair and logged into Facebook. The place was really quiet. I didn’t really run into anybody there, just saw backs of people shuffling down the stairs or hiding away in a manga aisle as I walked by. I only stayed for 30 minutes. I came to the conclusion that I do not like being in a little cubicle and pretending to be alone when I know the city is abuzz all around me. I’d rather sit in a crowded cafe with my laptop and just drown out the noises on my own volition.

2 thoughts on “My afternoon at Monkey Net, a halfway house for otaku

  1. @Rik – You know the Jetsetting internet/blog types, they all know each other. Think of the number of times Xeni mentions Sean Bonner in a day.
    And I love the cubicle net cafes. A lot of them have night packs where between 11pm and 6am, you can pay like 2000yen and get 6 hours of uninterrupted “privacy.” When I didn’t have a place to stay in Tokyo, I’d usually just find one of these and try to rest… and usually end up just on the net all night. XD