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coffee shops and family restaurants 2015/3/7 19:52
I noticed that coffee shops and family restaurants in Japan are mainly attended by students doing homework.
At least during the day.
Are they not meant as social venues where meeting friends casually like Western bars?
I don't drink and go to the pub then I like to meet my friends in Starbucks or family restaurants but the atmosphere is that of an after-school there.
Are there alternatives?
by guest (guest)  

Re: coffee shops and family restaurants 2015/3/7 23:41
Alternatives to family restaurants and starbucks? Well, just start looking around your area I guess. I'm not really sure what you're asking... if you're unhappy with the atmosphere in one place, try another. Just note, anything that is either considered "cool" (like starbucks) or has a drink bar (like many/most family restaurants), you're going to get the students. Try more expensive places, or places that don't have drink bars.
by scarreddragon rate this post as useful

Re: coffee shops and family restaurants 2015/3/8 07:04
School pupils gather at family restaurants due to the most family restaurants provide cheap drinking service just under 300 Yen(around 280 Yen) which you can drink them all without any time limitation. Therefore those pupils normally spend 2-3 hours there while drinking, chattering and doing homework.
And also, McDonald's provides 100 Yen Mac menu and Mr Donuts provides 100 Yen donuts(time limited), so there are many pupils also gather in those fast food shops.
Starbucks and KFC set their prices a bit more high, I suppose you don't see many of those pupils there.
by tokyo friend 48 rate this post as useful

Re: coffee shops and family restaurants 2015/3/8 22:07
You're probably going to the wrong branches at the wrong hours, because that doesn't happen so often to me. Perhaps there is a school nearby, or perhaps it's one of those terminal areas where kids from various schools tend to gather after school.

You can simply go to a bar or pub during the day. Pubs and bars that are open during the day are good places for non-drinkers to socialise. Many of those places are not dominated by kids, because of the atmosphere. Especially in the suburbs where residents tend to drive, a great number of customers at bars/pubs can be non-drinkers.

If you can tell us roughly what part of Japan you are in during the day, perhaps someone can post hints on where you can find places to enjoy your coffee.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: coffee shops and family restaurants 2015/3/11 15:40
Thanks Uco but in rural areas the few bars are dominated by kids in afternoons while pubs open at night only.

"Non-cool" places like supermarkets service areas tend to have a more barlike atmosphere with people all ages chatting over green tea and a snack.
Maybe I should hang out there...
by guest (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: coffee shops and family restaurants 2015/3/11 17:28
So you are in a rural place.

How about looking for a place that is inconvenient unless you have a car? Japanese high school kids can't drive, and in rural areas they mostly commute by bicycle, so even an area where you need buses can be good.

I also wonder if there are any cafe/bar owners who have moved there from the city and is running a more sophisticated place. Those kind of places may be harder to find, but are often tiny spaces with few regular customers that may suit you. The good thing about those places is that they tend to have websites or even a facebook/twitter, making it easier for you to search them.

Otherwise, how about a "Michi-no-Eki"? I've noticed that many of them can be quite cozy.

Nowadays, there's usually at least one person in each area who runs an informative website (in Japanese) about more sophisticated spots in town. But why not start by trying those "non-cool" places anyway, and you might be able to get more information there.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: coffee shops and family restaurants 2015/3/11 23:25
Thanks Uco
That can be a start.

Does bar culture exist at all in Japan?
I mean do people get there to socialize or for the sole purpose of consuming?

You know in Europe people play cards in bars, watch tv, chat.
Don't want to make a fool of myself if I ask the guest next table to join me for a game...
by guest (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: coffee shops and family restaurants 2015/3/12 13:22
Bar culture definately exists in Japan, and I'm often a part of it. But just like Europe, it totally depends on the person/bar to socialise or not.

And generally speaking, the trend is that card games aren't usually played there. Some bars have themes such as "sports bar"s where fans who don't know each other enjoy watching soccer on TV together, or "darts bar"s where strangers might join a game of darts. Many places might have karaoke which is often a great way to trigger conversation. And then there's the "go-kai-jo" where people engage in the traditional game of go.

But usually people at bars/cafes just engage in conversation. A good way to gesture that you're interested in chatting is to sit at the edge of the counter and start talking with the bartender. Then other customers will know you'll welcome conversation, or the bartender may introduce you to another customer who might have something in common with you.

By the way, if you're looking for communities rather than tea or snacks, you can get right to the topic by visiting your local city hall for more details. If there is language barrier, try your foreign registration counter or an international exchange lounge which you can find at least one in every prefecture.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: coffee shops and family restaurants 2015/3/12 14:19
I'm a bit confused...
Are you saying that it's not good manner to approach other guests directly...
Like PR is part of the bartender's work who will introduce you to regulars?
That's the equivalent of Europubs where bartenders must entertain customers over the counter to encourage them to consume...problem is I'm not a drinker.
Is it ok to have coffee over the counter?
Also consider that I don't speak Japanese yet.
by guest (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: coffee shops and family restaurants 2015/3/12 15:34
Are you saying that it's not good manner to approach other guests directly...

No, I'm not. I thought you asked if it's common to invite other customers to games, so I answered about what was common and what was not. Being common and expressing good manners are two different things. Just because it's not common, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. But I thought you were asking, because you believed that the common way might often work better.

And you asked about bars, so answered (although I wrote about cafes as well). And yes, it's perfectly alright to drink coffee at a bar counter.

I hope everything is clear. If not, don't hesitate to ask again.

By the way, I love to travel to countries I don't know the language of. I pick up phrases from phrase books or gesture or draw to communicate with local strangers. Once in a while people who speak English, or even Japanese, come up to me.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: coffee shops and family restaurants 2015/3/12 20:04
No problem Uco.
I will follow your advice.
The "common way" always works best.
Step by step...
Oukini!
by guest (guest) rate this post as useful

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