This Tokyo Café Promises To Cure Your Writer's Block

Procrastination is the enemy of students, writers, and anyone else who has important deadlines to meet — but in one Tokyo café, leaving things until the last minute isn't an option.

According to Grape Japan, the Manuscript Writing Café, located in Tokyo's Koenji district, is only open to those who have a writing deadline to meet — and the coffee shop won't let customers leave until that deadline has been met. Upon arriving at the Manuscript Writing Café, each guest writes down that day's goal, the amount of time they have to reach it, and what level of pressure from staff they require. Per Reuters, choosing "normal" will yield hourly check-ins, while "hard" will prompt staff to stand behind the customer as they work.

The café charges 130 yen ($1.01) for the first 30 minutes, then 300 yen ($2.34) for every hour thereafter, reported Reuters. And according to an informational video published by the shop, that price includes free self-serve coffee and tea, charging ports at every seat, high-speed WiFi, and cooling laptop stands.

What makes the Manuscript Writing Café so effective?

The communal, high-pressure environment fostered at the Manuscript Writing Café helps to motivate guests, regardless of what they're working on. According to Grape Japan, the "manuscript writing" at the café can include anything from writing proposals, to pages of a book, to creating layouts and processing images — meaning it's a space that's not just useful for writers, but for anyone facing a tight deadline. 

52-year-old Takuya Kawai, who owns the café, is himself a writer, noted Reuters. As such, he knows that having an intense environment can be essential for getting things done. "The café went viral on social media and people are saying the rules are scary or that it feels like being watched from behind," explained Kawai. "But actually instead of monitoring, I'm here to support them."

So far, the premise of the café has proven to be successful. According to Reuters, everyone who has visited the café managed to reach their goal — even if it meant staying past the official closing time.