The other day, I had a rare free day and had some studying I had to get done. Let me say now that I’m the kind of person that rarely spends money on myself; I don’t see the point in treating myself out to a nice meal or some activity if there’s no one else to enjoy it with, and I’m perfectly content with staying home. However, this day, I had brunch with a friend and it felt like a waste to go home immediately, so I decided to go to a cafe that I’d been interested in for a while.
This cafe, アール座読書館, translated to R Reading Hall, is basically a cafe where you can’t talk. Literally. In fact, one day I had gone along with a friend, but they suggested that we go upstairs to a different cafe (not sure if they’re run together, both cafes seemed to give off a similar vibe so possibly?) where we could actually have conversations. So, if you ever want to go here, make sure you’re alone!
It’s located in Koenji, just a few minutes from the station. It’s on the second floor so you have to go up stairs. When I went, it looked so dark that I thought it was closed, and was about to go home but Google told me that they should be open, so I decided to give them a call. When the man on the other line picked up, he was whispering so quietly (due to the silent atmosphere of the cafe) that I could barely hear him. I asked if they were open for business today, and he confirmed that they were, so I headed back.
When you go up the stairs and reach the door, you’re greeted with a sign to please keep your voices down.
The best part about this cafe is its interior. It really feels like you’ve entered a different world. You’re free to choose whichever seat you want to sit in, and every single one is unique and has a its own special qualities and atmosphere.
I took a seat right by the window, a bench right in front of a desk. They have a menu at each seat, so I ordered a caramel milk tea. There’s so many different kinds of tea available, and also some small snacks like cake (I think?) and cookies.
I spent a long time just studying and enjoying my tea, listening to the very quiet instrumental music playing throughout the cafe.
There’s a whole wall lined with different kinds of books that you’re free to get up and borrow. Most of them are in Japanese, but there are some interesting photo books as well! I also found a list that they made of their most recommended books, which I’m sure could be helpful to some.
I was there for about 2.5hr, and the whole time I was so incredibly peaceful and relaxed. I realized how important it is to really just have a me day, especially since I had been stressed with school and such. I was able to go somewhere new, discover a great cafe, and be in a really good mood and it didn’t even cost much.
Take care of yourselves, and treat yourself out once in a while!