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Floaties included in drinks for free
Price: 300 yen
(Drink bar in a karaoke room, to be exact .)
I wanted to sit and drink a bunch of coffee and work on scheduling for a while between a couple lessons. In Kurumeria mall, there's a restaurant I've been to before, for their all you can eat lunch. I remember seeing signs that they had a drink bar only option for an hour or so, for 250 or 300 yen, and that sounded good. The Ark had really good teas (similar to Bamiyan) in addition to the usual soft drinks and cheap coffee machine drinks you'd find in any family restaurant drink bar.
When I asked about drink bar only, the staff didn't know about that, so it must have been a seasonal thing. He mentioned the karaoke side includes drink bar for 300 an hour, and I figured, sure, I can sit in the booth for an hour and get my work done. No really nice tea, but I wanted coffee anyway.
I remembered hearing about a teacher who was renting out karaoke booths by the hour to teach freelance English lessons, so it was a good chance to sort of check that out as an option. Sure, karaoke rooms could be used for plenty of things other than singing karaoke. They're really slow during the day, so it's nice and quiet and can be a good meeting place with more privacy than a restaurant.
After paying for an hour, I received a little basket with a tiny clipboard and receipt showing the time I arrived and a remote control for the air conditioner. I was asked if I wanted the mic, but I declined as I had no intentions of singing.
Pros of working in a karaoke booth are: Privacy. I can space out and talk to myself, as well as spread out my materials on the the table. Cost. For the price of a drink bar in a cheap family restaurant, I also get my own little room. Quiet. Other than the cranked up ads playing on a monitor in another room, the heater, and the ventilation fan, with the door closed it's quite quiet compared with a noisy cafe. Free lozenges?
Cons of working in this specific karaoke booth were: Not the best service. Staff were not around for the most part, as there was almost no one else on the karaoke side. Not the best quality. Other than seeing a bug on the drink machines and finding what looked like a dead cricket floating in my drink... gross, the coffee (why I went there in the first place) machine was out of order (see photo), but staff was nice enough to bring me a cafe latte from the restaurant. Too bad it tasted really bad. (Worse than Joyfull.) The space. Sort of busy patterns everywhere and not the best working environment – very low table doesn't work well as a desk. Time limit. It's probably better to do this in a family restaurant when it's not busy so I don't feel the need to get things done within a time limit.
I thought The Ark restaurant was good when I went, but now I'm sort of scared to go back there, based on the buggy quality of the karaoke side drink bar.