Latest Akihabara trend: sleeping cafes
Maid cafes were only the beginning
by Matt Schley
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Akihabara, Tokyo’s district for electronics and mecca for anime fans around the globe, continues to astound with its variety of hyper-niche cafes, restaurants and emporia catering to all walks of geek life.
Maid cafes? Old news. At Soine-ya, the latest establishment designed to substitute for a social life, otaku pay lofty sums to fall asleep next to women. Yes, next to.
20 minutes of shuteye at Soine-ya, which translates as “sleeping together shop,” cost 3,000 yen ($38), while actual physical contact can rack up an even higher bill: 10 minutes of hand-holding goes for 1,000 yen, as does three minutes of your sleeping partner lying on your arm. Hugs are where things get really nuts: prices range from 5 seconds at 1,000 yen ($13) to 60 for 10,000 yen ($127).
Opinions on the sleeping cafe have been mixed, with some opining Soine-ya is a harmless venture designed to help socially awkward men feel a human connection, some deeming it creepy and exploitative, and still others expressing bemusement.
Japanese news website getnews.jp has posted a video of their visit to the cafe. Nothing untoward happens, but we dare you to watch it and not feel a little strange.