The hotel’s California-style cafe serves writers


It could be heaven or it could be the other place… No dark desert highway, no mission bell — but they’ll show you the (writing) way.

Imagine walking into a coolly lit café in the afternoon; your laptop bag over the shoulder. Your only hope is to enjoy an iced coffee and finish a report before the next morning’s deadline. So you sip your coffee, tap out a few paragraphs on your computer, insert a chart to back up your claims, and pack it for the day after a few hours of hard work.

If you hurry, you can go home for dinner. When you get to the door they kindly ask your name and if you have finished your report.


You respond with your name and say you haven’t finished it yet, but you’ve done a good part and plan to finish the rest at home. Except they tell you you can’t leave yet. You still have work to do.

If you need help finalizing your plans, a cafe in Japan is serious about helping you.

You can come in, but you can’t leave…until you’re done

The Manuscript Writing Cafe in the Koenji district of Tokyo, Japan has a strict set of rules in place to help its unique customers enjoy a virtually stress-free environment. According to the Manuscript Writing Cafe website, here’s the list from top to bottom.

Rule #1: This one grabs you as soon as you walk through the door. You must be a deadline writer to use the cafe amenities.

Rule #2: You must sign your writing goals. For example, if you need to finish a 2,000-word article, you write it on a slip assigned to you.

Rule #3: The manager will courteously check on you every hour to update your progress. *You can choose how nice the manager is during these time checks. Since the manager has no vested interest in your delay beyond your patronage, they are willing to be as nice or rough as you want.

Rule #4: You will have unlimited access to hot water for regular or Japanese tea and unlimited filter coffee.

Rule #5: You have to pay rent. Your place in the cafe, with nine indoor seats and an outdoor area for smokers, will cost you while you write. You will pay 130 Japanese yen ($1.01) for the first 30 minutes. After that, you will pay 300 JPY ($2.34) and if you happen to need the cafe after normal business hours, your rest will increase by 500 JPY. This works out to US$3.89 per hour.

Rule #6: Writers can bring food and drink or even have meals delivered.

Rule #7: This rule makes coffee attractive and popular: you have to finish what you start before you can leave. These rules ensure that the cafe and recording studio are used by serious writers who have work to do.

Owner Takuya Kawai, 52, wants people to be able to focus and hopes the strict rules will help with that effort.

Kawai, a writer himself, supports the cafe’s strict rules.

“Coffee has gone viral on social media, and people are saying periods are scary or it feels like you’re being watched from behind,” he said. “But, in fact, instead of monitoring, I’m here to support them… As a result, what they thought would take a day was done in three hours, or tasks that usually take three hours were done in only one.”

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea

While the café’s unique take on supporting remote workers may seem overwhelming, Kawai and her staff seek to provide a mindful workspace for writers facing tight deadlines, ensuring a safe and quiet place to finish. their work. They say it’s rare that someone needs to stay beyond the cafe’s regular opening hours.

Of the few who stay beyond the cafe’s official closing time, they have all managed to complete their task before the approaching deadlines. And while not everyone finishes their work before leaving the cafe, the general consensus is that they set realistic goals and strive to achieve them.

So far, Kawai’s little Manuscript Writing Cafe is doing very well in the post-pandemic era, especially given its newfound viral status on social media.

And while not everyone prescribes a working environment such as that offered by The Manuscript Writing Cafe, its distinctive approach to helping writers facing a deadline has certainly generated a cult following, even before it went viral.

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