Internet cafés have been around in Japan for over a decade, but they changed from simple facilities to modern centers, equipped with tiny private booths for guests, showers and laundry service. They’re reasonably priced, so people just started living there. Usually one night costs around $25, but there are discount packages for customers who pay monthly rents.
Shiho Fukada made this short documentary called “Japan’s Disposal Workers: Net Cafe Refugees“, where she interviewed some residents of those alternative accommodations. Most of them have normal jobs, but can’t afford real apartments – or even don’t want to. Some even lost all hope for Japan and would prefer to move to a foreign country.
One month at the Internet café costs around $750. That’s still cheaper than renting an apartment, because you don’t have to pay for utilities. It’s clean and offers unlimited free drinks, blankets, and cushions. ”We need a place like an internet café,” says one resident named Fumiya. “Without it, there would be many more people who have jobs but no homes.”
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