Cyberpunk Review » Media Immersion Pod Spotlight: B@gus Cyber Cafe

April 5, 2007

Media Immersion Pod Spotlight: B@gus Cyber Cafe

B@gus Cyber Cafe


Overview: CPR previously did a write-up on Japanese Media Immersion Pods. Here’s an in-depth look at one of them:

B@gus Cyber Cafe
12F Roi Building, Roppongi Japan

A short walk down Gaien-Higasi Dori in Roppongi will reveal to you a world of Discount shops, trendy night clubs and sushi bars. But at the Roi Building on the 12th floor there’s two things and two things only that will greet you - Media and Information.


B@gus Cyber Cafe


Sporting shower rooms, Internet, free drinks (food was extra), 100+ seating (including dual/quad and ladies only seating) and a vast collection of any kind of media you could think of. One could theoretically live here for ever. The only thing standing in the way of maintaining your cyber-addiction is the fee and the money required to pay for said fee.


B@gus Cyber Cafe


When I went in they were offering a day package, 980 Yen would net me a cube and all the coffee I would need for 3 hours. The clerk right off the bat asked “Smoking? Or non?” “Smoking” I replied, Ultra smoking. So I got my receipt and was shown my cube on the map. F-12 Dual seating. I quick made a pit stop at the coffee bar, grabbed a ashtray and I was on my way. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for, A library size collection of Manga (Every Akira, But no GITS), Magazines (TIME, Sass) and Porn (Playboy etc, etc.) greeted me as soon as I walked away from the counter. Deciding on the good ole’ fashion tubes of the Internet, me, my ashtray and coffee set off for my cube.


B@gus Cyber Cafe


Cubes. Lots of cubes: Tucked away in a corner of the floor in a dark, quiet maze of cubes I found F-12. Kicking off my shoes at the door, I opened it up. Like a mini-living room, it has a TV, DVD player, PC (Running WinXP Home), Headphones and a PS2. Also each cube had a phone so you could order whatever you needed. Each cube had black leather cushioning and had seat formed cushions on top of that for back support. The only thing these cubes were missing were IVs and catheters. I turned on a lamp and began my session.


B@gus Cyber Cafe


Internet? PC Gripes and tubes: I surfed some of my usual spots; cyberpunk review and googled some random stuff. My session was pretty fast, pages were would pop up fairly quickly. I wouldn’t expect it not to, seeing some people spend all night here and fast tubes is a must. I must of came in before basic maintenance because the pc was running sluggish when having to load anything (Didn’t really hinder my experience, plus I feel for their IT). My biggest whine is that they don’t offer OS’s other than Windows, and it would be a nice change if places would start to offer Linux and/or Mac, instead of just WinXP. I would gladly pay 100 extra Yen an hour for a little OS change. But like I said it’s personal not necessary.


B@gus Cyber Cafe


Dark room: This place is quieter then any library I’ve ever been in. In the background you can hear clicking of keyboards, people shifting in their seats and the occasional clearing of the throat. but otherwise it was dead silent. I had a window cube so I could pop open the curtain and see the street below bustling with life. Not that the silence bothered me but it was a nice reminder that the world was still there. I can see why, staying the night you wouldn’t want to be bothered with the real world or be reminded of one while you were going on a media/coffee binge.The only light source was from lamps and the sunlight creeping in from the curtains.


B@gus Cyber Cafe


Overall? As I exited the elevator and was greeted by the raining Roppongi afternoon I met up with my girlfriend. As the cool rain beat down on me, I pulled the hood up on my black hoody and walked across the street to meet up with her, clubs and bars starting to open up exclaiming that happy hour was now indeed in effect. “How did your thing go?” How did it go? What was my experience? On that twelfth floor there was a soft lonely feeling, a nagging at, you might not forget. No matter how lonely and cold it can be, soft LCD glow can carry you home. I smiled, pulled the hoody tighter. And thought of a quote. “Well….There’s no there, there.

The photos that I took were a little blurry so I apologize.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunked living by -design.


April 6, 2007

Vesper said:

Since 99.9% of my job = online…

I can imagine living there ;)

Very nice report with a cool ending :)

cyberbird said:

thanks, I’m glad you like it. :)
if anyone has questions about anything that wasn’t covered in the review please let ask away.

SFAM said:

Thanks so much for the write-up cyberbird. It seems like your experience was a largely personal and individual one. My guess is this is what is “supposed” to happen at these places. I would be interested in an anthropologist “participant observation” type view of these places, where you go around an either snap pictures or talk about others interacting or doing things. The previous article mentioned that people essentially make out in these little pods and that nobody bothers them. This in particular seems pretty strange to me, and points to the completely individual “nobody but you” mentality you point out above.

That all these people could go in a public place and be completely independent - meaning nobody talks or interacts with them, is fairly interesting. Does the reverse also happen? Meaning if you and another guy are both looking at the same set of mangas, is it OK to strike up a conversation? Are there separate communal talking rooms in B@gus, or is the whole place the like the library “no talk” zone you mention above?

Bradwerd said:

Fantastic! This is definitely going on the list of things I do when I go to Japan. One question though… Does the time you take selecting Manga and anime to watch cut into your booth time? because I could see myself spending a couple hours just browsing.

April 7, 2007

kefka321 said:

Good point Bradwerd, I would probably spend many hours just browsing their selection. Maybe they have brochures or something X)

April 8, 2007

cyberbird said:

(in reply to SFAM)
“If you and another guy are both looking at the same set of mangas, is it OK to strike up a conversation?”

The feeling I got, that it wasn’t acceptable to speak to someone about similar interests. But this is mostly due to the fact that Japan’s society is to keep to themselves. But this is also not to say this does not happen.
I find it quite the paradox that you go to a public place yet only to be alone.
To connect through disconnection?

“Does the time you take selecting Manga and anime to watch cut into your booth time?”
Yes, they hand you a receipt with the time, once that times comes you must go to the front desk to renew your cube.

Thanks everyone for the comments.

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