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Net Cafe Refugees

August 29th, 2007

Well, this is interesting. Hadn’t heard of this before. Apparently, there is a growing number of people who are homeless, but still making just enough money to get by–but not enough to get an apartment, apparently, or at least they prefer not to have one. So instead, they spend their nights at Internet cafes, which provide shower facilities and even sell clean underwear. Honest–unless this is a huge hoax that someone put over on the news services. Supposedly, the Japanese government has found 5,400 people who do this, regularly.

The story I found claims that the “refugees” spend ¥3000 for a 5-hour stay (with a meal provided) and get a shower for ¥200 extra. However, I find that pricing to be suspect; 30 days in a month, ¥3000 yen/day, that’s ¥90,000 per month. While an Internet cafe might be nice, one can rent an apartment for much cheaper than that, if you’re willing to settle for less-than-luxurious conditions.

Either the prices most of these people pay are much cheaper (and I’m guessing that you can find much better than ¥3000 for 5 hours if you look hard enough–I found a cafe that was ¥400/hour for a two-person booth, and I am sure that many drop their prices for the late night customers), or the people in question simply prefer things to be taken care of for them, not to mention having a nice space provided–some of the Internet cafes offer good surroundings.

It is also a good alternative to a hotel. I remember staying in a capsule hotel once, and it was horrible; it was essentially a watering hole for drunk businessmen who were either snoring loudly, watching TV loudly, or were congregating in the corridors and chatting all night. Nor was it really that cheap; an Internet cafe would be cheaper, and likely a lot less noisy.

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  1. Tim Kane
    August 29th, 2007 at 10:36 | #1

    Do they stay awake all night, or are there places there for people to sleep?

  2. jjrs
    August 30th, 2007 at 19:40 | #2

    Cybac offers 12 houes for 1900 yen, and at night they have cubicles with matted floors in darkly lit rooms. I stayed in one and tons of young people were there.

  3. Andy
    September 2nd, 2007 at 11:06 | #3

    Very good find. Sounds like the kind of place I’d go to save a few bucks on my next trip. Do they have storages where you can check in your luggages? That would be perfect.

    If you think about it, all you really need for a cheap trip is internet access, a bed, and shower.

    Is it clean tho?

  4. jjrs
    September 2nd, 2007 at 22:55 | #4

    Sure, as clean as anything in this country…which is to say very. Usually really quiet too.

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