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The cities in Japan can be challenging to live in. If you are not making a full-time salary, which typically involves long hours and high stress, then you are a temporary worker, which basically means you are on a short-term contract and making half as much as a “salary man.” With such low wages and rising rental costs, it’s tough to make rent.

That’s why temporary workers have come up with an unusual solution to the problem of finding affordable housing: They’re living in local Internet cafes. The 24-hour Internet cafes in Japan have private rooms where a customer can sit on a cushion on the floor, play games, and surf the net—or just enough space to curl up and sleep.

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Residents can even use other available facilities, including kitchens and bathrooms. Showers are taken at a local bathhouse (Onsen).

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Award-winning photojournalist Shiho Fukada created a short 10-minute documentary that delves into the lives of these “Net Cafe Refugees,” and it is nothing short of fascinating. Watch the trailer to hear their stories, and check out Japan’s Disposable Workers—the 3-part series the film is a part of.

Japan’s Disposable Workers: Net Cafe Refugees from MediaStorm on Vimeo.

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via faithistorment

Article source: http://www.visualnews.com/2015/03/net-cafe-refugees/

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Internet cafés are nothing new, but over the past decade in Japan these 24-hour stalls have been adjusting their services to cater to a new clientèle — temporary workers that make too little to afford an apartment. Director Shiho Fukada has created an insightful video about these “internet café refugees” or “cyber homeless,” which began cropping up in the late 1990s. However, it has been a growing issue in the new millennium.

Some temporary workers dream of gaining security at a full-time job, however, “what's waiting for them is long hours and high-stress work,” says Makoto Kawazoe, who is a part of the Young Contingent Workers Union.

It's estimated that around 5,400 people spend half their week in net cafés, according to a 2007 survey. However, this video seems to indicate that the trend is growing. Net cafés have even introduced showers, and other living necessities to accommodate this new working class that makes up 7.5 percent of the adult population.

CNN reporter Cameron Allan McKean experienced the internet cafés first-hand, writing:

“They are pragmatic alternatives to renting an apartment. For ¥1,500 [$12.50] a night, or ¥300 [$2.50] per hour, you can have a private compartment complete with access to the internet, games, DVDs, comics, and an endless supply of soft drinks.”

However, McKean later writes that he was “unprepared for three things: the noise, the heat, and the light. There is colored ambient lighting which you can't turn off. There is a constant symphony of coughing, snoring, and tapping keys. I wake up frequently.”

Many of the residents in Fukada's short documentary echo these same complaints. A restful night eludes most residents of these cafés. But for some they are a haven that brings hope for a better life. 

Tadayuki Sakai used to be a salaryman at a credit card company, but his work-life balance was severely off-kilter. He says he would put in as much as 120 to 200 hours of overtime every month. He didn't have time to go home, so he would nap at the office. Eventually, he became depressed, took a month off of work to recover, but when he returned, his boss and coworkers shunned him for being weak. There is a saying among salarymen, he says: “It's better to bend than to break.”

Sakai handed in his resignation after working for the company for 20 years. He said in the video:

“My heart was singing when I quit.”

Watch the entire documentary short at Vimeo.

Photo Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson / Flickr

The bleak and unforgiving existence of Japan's salarymen and part-time workers, who often live in Internet cafes to save on rent, is difficult to describe, but one filmmaker has done a great job of giving us a brief peek.

Net Cafe Refugees is a short 10-minute documentary that plunges the viewer into the world of 24-hour Internet-connected cubicles that serve as makeshift living spaces for many Japanese living on the edge of society.

See also: The Internet in Cuba: 5 Things You Need to Know

If you've ever wondered if some of those film depictions of futuristic, dystopian cities will ever come to fruition, you need look no further than the dark, broadband-connected caves shown in director Shiho Fukada's film.

internet cafe refugees

Image: Shiho Fukada via Vimeo screenshot

One part-time construction site worker is shown spending his time between monotonous work shifts and Internet cafe existence by chain smoking and staring listlessly at a computer screen surrounded by black walls draped with wires. Another man admits that he has lived in an Internet cafe for four months, after quitting his job as a computer systems manager at a credit card company.

But unlike some oddball trend stories that periodically emerge from Japan, tales of Internet cafe refugees are very real — as a five-year resident of Japan, I sampled some of the Internet cafe culture mentioned in the film and it's disturbingly accurate. Some of the Internet cafes are also called "manga kissa," because they specialize in serving as manga (comic books/graphic novels) reading spots (the name is short for manga "kissaten," which means cafe in Japanese).

I'll never forget the first time I used one, in the crowded confines of Shibuya in Tokyo. After receiving my authorization card, I walked to my designated cubicle and encountered a man casually padding past me dressed in a bathrobe and slippers with toiletries in hand, clearly on his way to wash up for the night.

Over the years, I had other occasions to use Internet cafes in other parts of the country, and I saw and heard it all — marathon sex sessions between young couples, Internet cafe regulars (read: residents) who were genuinely annoyed by the arrival of newcomers and even one man who appeared to be bringing a bag of groceries to his cubicle.

Thankfully, I never had to live in an Internet cafe, but any observant visitor to one can quickly surmise that a good number of people are living in these rent-by-the-hour Internet hubs.

Fukada's short film is one part of a series of three films that expose the darker side of Japan, which feature perspectives that defy the cheery, cute-obsessed culture popularized in the media. The other two films, Overworked to Suicide (about overworked white collar workers) and Dumping Ground (about the homeless elderly), are available to view online.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Article source: http://mashable.com/2015/03/14/japan-internet-cafe/

The bleak and unforgiving existence of Japan's salarymen and part-time workers, who often live in Internet cafes to save on rent, is difficult to describe, but one filmmaker has done a great job of giving us a brief peek.

Net Cafe Refugees is a short 10-minute documentary that plunges the viewer into the world of 24-hour Internet-connected cubicles that serve as makeshift living spaces for many Japanese living on the edge of society.

See also: The Internet in Cuba: 5 Things You Need to Know

If you've ever wondered if some of those film depictions of futuristic, dystopian cities will ever come to fruition, you need look no further than the dark, broadband-connected caves shown in director Shiho Fukada's film.

internet cafe refugees

Image: Shiho Fukada via Vimeo screenshot

One part-time construction site worker is shown spending his time between monotonous work shifts and Internet cafe existence by chain smoking and staring listlessly at a computer screen surrounded by black walls draped with wires. Another man admits that he has lived in an Internet cafe for four months, after quitting his job as a computer systems manager at a credit card company.

But unlike some oddball trend stories that periodically emerge from Japan, tales of Internet cafe refugees are very real — as a five-year resident of Japan, I sampled some of the Internet cafe culture mentioned in the film and it's disturbingly accurate. Some of the Internet cafes are also called "manga kissa," because they specialize in serving as manga (comic books/graphic novels) reading spots (the name is short for manga "kissaten," which means cafe in Japanese).

I'll never forget the first time I used one, in the crowded confines of Shibuya in Tokyo. After receiving my authorization card, I walked to my designated cubicle and encountered a man casually padding past me dressed in a bathrobe and slippers with toiletries in hand, clearly on his way to wash up for the night.

Over the years, I had other occasions to use Internet cafes in other parts of the country, and I saw and heard it all — marathon sex sessions between young couples, Internet cafe regulars (read: residents) who were genuinely annoyed by the arrival of newcomers and even one man who appeared to be bringing a bag of groceries to his cubicle.

Thankfully, I never had to live in an Internet cafe, but any observant visitor to one can quickly surmise that a good number of people are living in these rent-by-the-hour Internet hubs.

Fukada's short film is one part of a series of three films that expose the darker side of Japan, which feature perspectives that defy the cheery, cute-obsessed culture popularized in the media. The other two films, Overworked to Suicide (about overworked white collar workers) and Dumping Ground (about the homeless elderly), are available to view online.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

The bleak and unforgiving existence of Japan's salarymen and part-time workers, who often live in Internet cafes to save on rent, is difficult to describe, but one filmmaker has done a great job of giving us a brief peek.

Net Cafe Refugees is a short 10-minute documentary that plunges the viewer into the world of 24-hour Internet-connected cubicles that serve as makeshift living spaces for many Japanese living on the edge of society.

See also: The Internet in Cuba: 5 Things You Need to Know

If you've ever wondered if some of those film depictions of futuristic, dystopian cities will ever come to fruition, you need look no further than the dark, broadband-connected caves shown in director Shiho Fukada's film.

internet cafe refugees

Image: Shiho Fukada via Vimeo screenshot

One part-time construction site worker is shown spending his time between monotonous work shifts and Internet cafe existence by chain smoking and staring listlessly at a computer screen surrounded by black walls draped with wires. Another man admits that he has lived in an Internet cafe for four months, after quitting his job as a computer systems manager at a credit card company.

But unlike some oddball trend stories that periodically emerge from Japan, tales of Internet cafe refugees are very real — as a five-year resident of Japan, I sampled some of the Internet cafe culture mentioned in the film and it's disturbingly accurate. Some of the Internet cafes are also called "manga kissa," because they specialize in serving as manga (comic books/graphic novels) reading spots (the name is short for manga "kissaten," which means cafe in Japanese).

I'll never forget the first time I used one, in the crowded confines of Shibuya in Tokyo. After receiving my authorization card, I walked to my designated cubicle and encountered a man casually padding past me dressed in a bathrobe and slippers with toiletries in hand, clearly on his way to wash up for the night.

Over the years, I had other occasions to use Internet cafes in other parts of the country, and I saw and heard it all — marathon sex sessions between young couples, Internet cafe regulars (read: residents) who were genuinely annoyed by the arrival of newcomers and even one man who appeared to be bringing a bag of groceries to his cubicle.

Thankfully, I never had to live in an Internet cafe, but any observant visitor to one can quickly surmise that a good number of people are living in these rent-by-the-hour Internet hubs.

Fukada's short film is one part of a series of three films that expose the darker side of Japan, which feature perspectives that defy the cheery, cute-obsessed culture popularized in the media. The other two films, Overworked to Suicide (about overworked white collar workers) and Dumping Ground (about the homeless elderly), are available to view online.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

This short documentary is from a three-part series, "Japan's Disposable Workers."

Internet cafes have existed in Japan for over a decade, but in the mid 2000’s, customers began using these spaces as living quarters. Internet cafe refugees are mostly temporary employees; their salary too low to rent their own apartments.

The film was based on Shiho Fukada's work, and created by film production and interactive design studio MediaStorm, on behalf of The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting--a "non-profit journalism organization dedicated to supporting the independent international journalism that U.S. media organizations are increasingly less able to undertake."

More about the series here. [mediastorm.com]

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In his short film Net Cafe Refugees, documentarian Shiho Fukada details an escalating problem in Japan: temporary employment. Instead of filling occupational voids with part-time gigs, major Japanese businesses hire interim workers for abysmal rates. So bad, in fact, that those who take on temporary employment, hoping to one day move up the ladder, can't afford apartment living of any kind. Where do they turn? The local Internet cafes.

The types of people who wind up in this refugee situation stretches the spectrum. Fukada profiles two men, one young and ambitious, one aged, shattered by the intense Japanese working world, and suffering from severe depression. An interviewed member of a workers union explains that the Internet Cafe refugee problem has been boiling since the 1990s, caused by Japan's difficult unemployment programs and hostility towards those who exit the workforce—whatever the reason. If you thought your work situation was bad, wait until you see the situation running rampant through Japan.

Learn more about Fukada's expose, which includes two additional shorts focusing on Japan's current labor problems, at Mediastorm.

Article source: http://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/money/news/a33611/japanese-men-living-in-internet-cafes/

THE OWNERS of this former Findlay Internet cafe, the Talk-N-Win at 7525 Patriot Drive, have been indicted on multiple charges of running an illegal gambling house. Marvin Dabish, 38, Robert Dabish, 29, and Nadia Dabish, 59, all of Oregon, were each indicted on 41 counts. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

THE OWNERS of this former Findlay Internet cafe, the Talk-N-Win at 7525 Patriot Drive, have been indicted on multiple charges of running an illegal gambling house. Marvin Dabish, 38, Robert Dabish, 29, and Nadia Dabish, 59, all of Oregon, were each indicted on 41 counts. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

The owners of a former Findlay Internet cafe, the Talk-N-Win at 7525 Patriot Drive, have been indicted by a Defiance County grand jury on multiple charges of running an illegal gambling house at several locations, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office reported Friday.
Authorities said Marvin Dabish, 38, Robert Dabish, 29, and Nadia Dabish, 59, all of Oregon, were each indicted by a Defiance County grand jury on 41 counts, including:
• One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony.
• Five counts of possessing criminal tools, fifth-degree felonies.
• Fifteen counts of violating casino gaming laws, fifth-degree felonies.
• Fifteen counts of gambling, each a first-degree misdemeanor.
• Five counts of operating a gambling house, a first-degree misdemeanor.
The defendants also own Talk-N-Win Internet cafes in Defiance, Toledo, Oregon and Fremont, according to the attorney general’s office.
Patrons at the cafes would play slot machine terminals for a chance to win, and winnings were paid in cash, the attorney general’s office said.
Slot machines are illegal in Ohio, except at casinos.
The Findlay business, in a strip mall near Menard’s, was raided Dec. 18 by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, Findlay Police Department, the METRICH Enforcement Unit, and the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
According to Hancock County Sheriff Michael Heldman, 62 terminals and $23,000 were seized from the Findlay business, which is now closed.
According to the attorney general’s office, 475 terminals were seized at the five Talk-N-Win locations.
Ohio has been cracking down on Internet cafes for years.
Most recently, the Ohio Casino Control Commission has been focusing on locations around the state where operators claim they offer “skill games” but really have slot machines; or who pay out winnings in cash, which is illegal; or whose prizes are worth more than the state-mandated $10 limit.
Games of skill, unlike slot machines, purportedly allow users to have some control over the outcome by letting them manipulate the machine in some way. They are legal under Ohio law, with restrictions.

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THE OWNERS of this former Findlay Internet cafe, the Talk-N-Win at 7525 Patriot Drive, have been indicted on multiple charges of running an illegal gambling house. Marvin Dabish, 38, Robert Dabish, 29, and Nadia Dabish, 59, all of Oregon, were each indicted on 41 counts. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

THE OWNERS of this former Findlay Internet cafe, the Talk-N-Win at 7525 Patriot Drive, have been indicted on multiple charges of running an illegal gambling house. Marvin Dabish, 38, Robert Dabish, 29, and Nadia Dabish, 59, all of Oregon, were each indicted on 41 counts. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

The owners of a former Findlay Internet cafe, the Talk-N-Win at 7525 Patriot Drive, have been indicted by a Defiance County grand jury on multiple charges of running an illegal gambling house at several locations, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office reported Friday.
Authorities said Marvin Dabish, 38, Robert Dabish, 29, and Nadia Dabish, 59, all of Oregon, were each indicted by a Defiance County grand jury on 41 counts, including:
• One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony.
• Five counts of possessing criminal tools, fifth-degree felonies.
• Fifteen counts of violating casino gaming laws, fifth-degree felonies.
• Fifteen counts of gambling, each a first-degree misdemeanor.
• Five counts of operating a gambling house, a first-degree misdemeanor.
The defendants also own Talk-N-Win Internet cafes in Defiance, Toledo, Oregon and Fremont, according to the attorney general’s office.
Patrons at the cafes would play slot machine terminals for a chance to win, and winnings were paid in cash, the attorney general’s office said.
Slot machines are illegal in Ohio, except at casinos.
The Findlay business, in a strip mall near Menard’s, was raided Dec. 18 by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, Findlay Police Department, the METRICH Enforcement Unit, and the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
According to Hancock County Sheriff Michael Heldman, 62 terminals and $23,000 were seized from the Findlay business, which is now closed.
According to the attorney general’s office, 475 terminals were seized at the five Talk-N-Win locations.
Ohio has been cracking down on Internet cafes for years.
Most recently, the Ohio Casino Control Commission has been focusing on locations around the state where operators claim they offer “skill games” but really have slot machines; or who pay out winnings in cash, which is illegal; or whose prizes are worth more than the state-mandated $10 limit.
Games of skill, unlike slot machines, purportedly allow users to have some control over the outcome by letting them manipulate the machine in some way. They are legal under Ohio law, with restrictions.

Comments

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