Saturday 3 October 2009

the Ogori Mystery Caf??


Long story short: "At this caf??, you get what the person before you ordered, the next person gets what you ordered."

Welcome to the Ogori Caf??!

As I sat down to enjoy my surprise Appletizer, loving this insane ideaand wondering what would happen if you tried it in America, a Japanesewoman approached the cafe. Since she could actually speak Japanese, shecould read the large sign at the front and, fortunately orunfortunately, got advance warning of what she was in for. Beforemaking a final decision on what to order, she quietly snuck up to me totry to ask me what Ihad ordered, knowing that it would be her unwavering refreshmentdestiny. The staff put a quick stop to her trickery, and I didn'tanswer.

Of course, regardless of what she ordered, she got the orange juice Iordered a few minutes earlier. But here's one of the moments that makethis experiment cool: she actually chose orange juice, just like I did. So she got what she wanted. Ogori Caf?? synchronicity!

Before we left, there was one last thing that had to be done:

Mike went up to the cafe, slapped down a couple thousand yen (~$25),and ordered a little bit of everything: some ice cream, some snacks,some candy, some drinks ??? a Japanese horn-of-mysterious-plentyintentionally set up as a shocking surprise for the next luckycustomer. (After his order, Mike received a single iced coffee.)

It was so worth it.

The Ogori Caf?? was an unforgettable travel moment, and an ideathat has stuck with me: It was a complete surprise in our day. Itencouraged communication between total strangers or, in this case,members of the Kashiwa community and a couple of weird guys fromOregon. It forced one to "let go," just for a brief moment, of thetotal control we're so used to exerting through commerce. It led you totaste something new, that you might not normally have ordered. It was adelight.

Then... as quickly as it appeared, the Ogori cafe was gone.