By Ann Tashi Slater
The New Yorker, December 26, 2022
By Kenji Miyazawa
Translation by Wikisource, April 20, 2021
Tokyo's Manuscript Writing Café admits only procrastinating writers facing a deadline. Customers can order coffee with either occasional polite check-ins from the staff or someone to stand over them as they work. Click on the title link to read Ann Tashi Slater's article describing how some customers use the café. Part of the owner's inspiration for the Manuscript Writing Café was a 1924 short story about another eating establishment which provided a different type of orders to its customers. Click on the title link to read the story.
When you've read both articles, consider the questions below.
- Café. How do these meaning differ from the types of "order" provided in the Wildcat House Restaurant in the story "The Restaurant With Many Orders"?
- Do the customers in each reading react negatively or positively to receiving orders?
- Why do the two gentlemen in the Wildcat House Restaurant respond to increasingly odd orders by repeatedly saying, "Really important people must come here."
- Are you a procrastinator? Would a person monitoring your writing progress and giving orders be a motivator? Why or why not?
- Did you ever use a tutor to cram for a test? If yes, did the tutor or the deadline of meeting with a tutor help you stay on deadline?
- In what ways could you argue that the Manuscript Writing Café would be ineffective, inequitable, or otherwise not useful to students?
- What would improve the Café's ability to help students finish their work?
Ideas for Writing
- What tasks might you typically procrastinate? Do you ever procrastinate writing assignments? What causes you to procrastinate--no time, difficult assignments, or other reasons?
- Imagine what type of Café could help you get started on a task. It could be modeled on the Manuscript Café or it could provide other services to help with problems that prevent you from doing schoolwork, such as tutors or workers to help you with job or family responsibilities, for example.
Slater, Anne Tashi. "Coffee With a Side of Deadline Hectoring." The New Yorker, 26 Dec. 2022, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/01/02/coffee-with-a-side-of-deadline-hectoring. Accessed 2 Jan. 2023.
Wikisource contributors. "Translation:The Restaurant With Many Orders." Wikisource, 30 Apr. 2021, The Restaurant With Many Orders - Wikisource, the free online library [en.wikisource.org]. Accessed 2 Jan. 2023.