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14 May

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Lost in Translation

May 14, 2006 | By |

ALL cities takes a toll, and at times all city dwellers have to take their leave. When life in Istanbul gets too stressful, people can head to the baths. In Rio there’s the beach. In Tokyo, though, the antidote to urban overload is more of the same. In the world’s most media-saturated city, people take a break by checking themselves into media immersion pods: warrens cluttered with computers, TV’s, video games and every other entertainment of the electronic age.
The Bagus Gran Cyber Cafés are Tokyo’s grand temples of infomania. Situated well above retail level, on the odd floor number where in Manhattan you might find tarot readers or nail salons, these establishments contain row after row of anonymous cubicles. At first glance the spread looks officelike, but be warned: these places are drug dens for Internet addicts.
… “You go to these places not to present yourself, but to lose yourself. Lose your name, your position, your pride.”

In a great NYT article, Virginia Heffernan tells us a little about Japanese über-entertainment cubes. This is crazy, and she made it straight to my personal a-list.

New York Times > Arts > Virginia Heffernan > In Tokyo, the New Trend Is ‘Media Immersion Pods’