What would you do during a zombie apocalypse?
You have probably been asked that question at least once in your life. Most likely at a college frat party. No? Maybe it’s just me who surrounds herself with friends who possess some kind of weird morbid fascination about post-apocalyptic scenarios.
Anyway, to answer one of the most popular ask.fm slash
party questions: let’s run to a Japanese Internet cafe
during a zombie apocalypse!
Yes, you read that right—a Japanese Internet cafe.
You see, I never really saw the need to go to an Internet cafe. Like ever.
Growing up in the 90’s meant that I was born just right at the time when computers were becoming a regular occurrence in every average household. We had a computer at home even before I was old enough to tell that it was more than just a machine used for playing my preschool Sesame Street games. Okay, yes.
I may have had a Detective Barbie
game somewhere in there too, but let’s keep that a secret between us. I have some street cred to keep.
So, I grew up thinking that Internet cafes were only for people who did not own a PC or a laptop at home.
One of the things that really surprised me when I first moved to Japan was how popular Internet cafes were. No matter where I went—be it city or countryside--they were on every corner! I simply did not get it. After all, Japan is known for its high-tech prowess and for having one of the fastest Internet connections in the world
. I often wondered, why would people waste money for something you can already do in the comfort of your own home? (Plus, would you really like your history of viewing cat videos recorded on a public computer?)
Cat videos -- the ultimate cure for a bad day -- Photo from Flickr cc by angela n.
Then came the day when I suddenly found myself alone in Shinjuku at 5 a.m. with nothing to do. My hotel check-in wasn’t until 3 p.m. and my friend wasn’t arriving until 2 p.m. My bus dropped us off at the West Shinjuku area and while I was on the way to a nearby McDonald’s for a much needed Egg McMuffin, the flashing banner that read “Net Cafe” caught my eye.
With my thirst for satisfying personal curiosities, I found myself entering one of the Gran Cyber Cafe Bagus
stores in West Shinjuku. After all, I did hear that these Internet cafes offered reclining chairs where people can rest comfortably
and affordable fees ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 yen for a 5-hour package (which is also why Internet cafes are a popular lodging alternative for travelers and even homeless people
). After a five-hour bus ride from Nagoya, the idea of anything “reclining” was just enough to lure me into this place.
Internet cafe, or "netto cafe" in Nakano, Tokyo -- Photo by Julie Fader
As soon as the elevator doors opened, I was welcomed by an unlikely sight. Holy… duck, I felt like I found the entrance to Narnia. I was very much surprised at how luxurious the reception area was. The staff were very polite and had a similar tone to that of people working in the hotel industry—definitely not the kind of thing I was expecting from an Internet cafe.
From then on, I was converted into a firm believer of Japanese Internet cafes.
But going back to the point… why would I take refuge in an Internet cafe during a zombie apocalypse? Hear me out. Here are my five reasons why a Japanese Internet cafe would make the perfect doomsday bunker:
1. Survival through comfortable sleeping
Sleep is one of the most basic human needs--key for survival. With or without zombies involved. Fortunately, these Internet cafes are equipped with different kinds of seats depending on your preference!
Are you the type who requires the amazing cushioning of a reclining chair like me? They usually come with an ottoman too, so you can fully recline your chair and create a makeshift bed. Or wait! Maybe you’re the type who likes to sprawl yourself on a flat surface? Internet cafes have areas called “flat seats”, which are essentially just elevated platforms with a soft mattress on top where you can sit or lie down freely. And if your muscles are sore from walking around all day, don’t worry either! You can choose a private booth with a massage chair.
To top it all, guests can also request a blanket and a pair of slippers to fully get into relaxation mode!
2. Starving? Replenish your strength with these!
Of course, we can’t possibly talk about surviving the zombie apocalypse without mentioning food. We have to replenish our strength! Lucky us, they’ve thought this through! During your stay, you will have access to an all-you-can-drink vending (not really vending, 'cause it’s free) machine. All you have to do is press a button!
But the best part is: they’ve got all-you-can-eat ice cream… with syrup. SYRUP. Some places even offer rainbow sprinkles to top off your ice cream and some regularly change flavors to keep it exciting!
Most Internet cafes also come equipped with a “hot food” vending machine, which sells a variety of fried foods: fries, fried chicken, fried rice… you name it! Unless you’re looking for a five-star meal, you would never really need to step out of the cafe and risk a zombie attack just to grab a bite.
3. Let’s talk hygiene!
The world ending is no reason to stop showering! -- Photo from Flickr cc by Frank Hamm
When I imagine myself in a post-apocalyptic scenario, I’d like to think that I would still have an ounce of dignity left to at least clean myself once in a while. (No offense, Clarke
.) Luckily, most internet cafes have shower rooms you can use for around 500 yen per 20 minutes!
For 500 yen you would probably be expecting some shabby looking booths a la prison shower, but no! The shower rooms are usually very well maintained by the staff and equipped with your basic shower needs (towel, shampoo, shower gel, toothbrush, etc.). In the Ikebukuro branch
of the Gran Cyber Cafe chain, their shower room comes with a lounge-like space. Here, you can relax as you dry your hair, press your pants or break into an after shower dance. Look at all that space!
Gran Bagus' Ikebukuro branch has one bitchin' shower "room." (Lovin' that I'm doing this for work.)
A video posted by Margaux Flores (@constantbrainlag) on Jun 20, 2016 at 5:53am PDT
They also sell other amenities, like skin care products, shaving cream, etc. in case you need extra supplies.
4. Time to play!
Billiard, darts, video game, manga... pick your favorite pastime! -- Photo from Flickr cc by Jerónimo Pérez
Of course, even without a zombie apocalypse occurring, an Internet cafe is essentially a place where one can spend downtime and blow off some steam! If popular zombie fiction were an accurate depiction, I suppose I better prepare myself for what to do during my downtime, too.
You will find a plethora of fun things to do at a Japanese Internet cafe! Online gaming is pretty much a given, but did you know that you can also do the following:
Read Manga (Japanese Comics)
Internet cafes are also called “manga kissaten (comic cafe)” amongst the Japanese. Why? Because they usually house volumes of manga for you to read. Unfortunately, the collections are only available in Japanese. But hey, the comics make for a great, fun learning tool to perfect your nihongo!
If you’re more of a console player rather than a PC gamer like I am, you will be glad to know that they also offer free PS2 or PS3 rentals. What a perfect opportunity to load up a first person shooter game and practice your zombie fighting skills.
If you’re with friends, your group can rent out a “theater room” featuring a high-definition television set (some even in 4K) and a comfortable couch for you and the gang to enjoy your movies. Wouldn’t that be perfect for a Game of Thrones marathon?
Some branches of the more popular chains are equipped with separate facilities to play darts or billiards for a small fee!
If you’re up for some serious singing, I would recommend the Hachioji branch of the Kaikatsu Club
chain! They offer a private room equipped with a karaoke machine, a PC, a condenser microphone, headphones and a webcam to make you feel like a professional recording star!
Now that we’re entering the virtual reality era, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone that Internet cafes here have started offering “VR Theaters”. For a small fee, you can try some VR videos or games! The Gran Cyber Cafe chain is currently offering a special Attack on the Titans VR video for 600 yen!
5. Finally, Just because you’re faced with zombies doesn’t mean you should look like one
A little makeup can do wonders and Internet cafes got it all ready for you -- Photo from Flickr cc by Tuomas Kuosmanen
In connection to reason No. 3, just because you’re faced with an apocalypse doesn't mean your face should look like it! Am I right, ladies… and some gentlemen? But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Japanese Internet cafes offer complete makeup sets that you can borrow for free! Yes, they do! They want to make sure you step out looking fresh and well-made… with perfect hair to boot, which is why you can also borrow a straightening iron or a curling iron depending on your style!
The Wrap Up
So, that pretty much sums up my case on why I would want to spend a hypothetical zombie apocalypse in a Japanese Internet cafe. But, honestly, these cafes are worth visiting with or without imminent danger and destruction! So, what are you waiting for?
Wanna try one out? Take your pick from these amazing Internet Cafes!