Jul 8, 2018
This isn't something we really have back home. If you go to a buffet restaurant, it can be set up that way with the meal or for an additional price, but there is usually an expectation to leave after eating.
In Japan, you could sit in a family restaurant all day if you feel like it, and no one will really bother you. You might see a businessman reading the paper and students 'studying' (chatting, mostly).
I don't know why, but the idea of sitting in a family restaurant and binging on coffee and tea for a few hours is so perfect for thinking time. I can't sit still and focus for long if I try this at home. If the restaurant is noisy or smoky, this doesn't work out for me.
The fact that the quality of the coffee is mediocre doesn't matter. The soft drinks are mostly irrelevant. The tea is great but I usually stick with black coffee and the occasional fancy coffee if they have them, but in moderation - to avoid drinking milk mostly.
I like to bring something to write with, a notebook, and a sketchbook. I'll go when I have two or three hours between lessons and space out, plan out some ideas or lessons, and schedule in some tasks.
If I go to a Joyfull in the morning, I can get breakfast and drink bar for around 500 yen. For lunch it's a little more for most meals since they've changed the menu. Of course there's the option for just drink bar (around 300 yen), drink bar with soup bar, or a simple set of rice, soup, salad, and drink bar. The food isn't why I go. Most of it is just decent. I love beverages. Beverages with calories work too if I'm hungry.
I like the super fancy drink bars at restaurants like Baby Face Planets. There are lots of herbal and flavored teas, vegetable juice, fresh iced teas, and fancy juice in addition to the usual coffee machines. It's more expensive, but if you get the drink bar with guava, mango, and pineapple juice included, it's so yummy! It's not watered down or fake stuff and it's a big glass of juice. The problem with that is that it's hard to have more than two glasses of it without becoming full.
I think ideally, I'd do this almost every week or once a month at least. In reality, it happens 3-4 times a year. Usually I wander around a supermarket, go to a convenience store, or bring a lunch to a park when I have a long lunch break. It's almost in the same price range to get to sit down and have something to drink vs. buying lunch at a convenience store. I kind of hate standing outside of a convenience store and eating. Sometimes I forget and it takes a rainy or hot day to remind me to find a place to sit and take a break. Going to a cafe for one drink is usually the same price as drink bar too, so if you need a lot of caffeine, it's cheaper.