You Can’t Leave Until You Finish Your Task! “Video Editing Cafe” On-site Report
Keywords about the “Video Editing Cafe” have been trending on Twitter — for example, “You can’t leave until you finish your video,” or “There’s this unbelievable new cafe …” The truth behind these rumors is a video streaming studio, located at Koenji Sankakuchitai, a cafe available only to video editors, open at irregular hours .
When entering the cafe, announce to the proprietor that “Today, I will be editing this video!” and enter your information in the provided sheet. Apparently, the way this cafe works is that you won’t be allowed to leave until you make good on that declaration. Just hearing that is super intimidating …!
So what kind of establishment is this? Aren’t there people who cheat and try to sneak out? Our writer, Chikako Tsuruta, actually went into the “Video Editing Cafe,” and spoke to the proprietor, Takuya Kawai.
– Takuya Kawai
Representative of the video streaming studio “Himanainu Studio,” with locations in Roppongi, Otemachi, and Koenji. In addition to operating his studios, he also works as a studio consultant traveling nationwide, and as a video streaming director. In November of 2021, he opened the Koenji Sankakuchitai (used as a photography studio at the time) as a video streaming cafe.
I Wanted To Try My Hand at Operating “A Place Run by a Hard-headed Old Man!”
When I heard that customers “couldn’t leave until they finish their work,” I imagined it might be a scary place … But it’s actually a very comfortable cafe.
It’s not scary at all (laughing)!
I’ll make you some coffee.
(I can get coffee too!?
You’re so kind …!)
Basically, the “Koenji Sankakuchitai” is a video editing studio. It was formerly a restaurant with all of the furnishings still remaining, so I left the genuine atmosphere of the Italian bar intact, and made it available to a wide category of customers as a studio.
However, during weekday afternoons, I would end up with these unavoidable blocks of “unused time” that would become available. As the owner of a business, you want to make efficient use of that time, right? So, I tried to think of something interesting, and that’s how I came up with the “Video Editing Cafe.”That’s it.
So it started as a way to make efficient use of the studio’s unused time.
I had a restaurant license as well, so at first I was thinking of serving food and drinks, and I had no professional rivals in that arena, but since it was primarily counter seating, and considering the pandemic, it would have been difficult to attract customers. I also thought about opening it up as a coworking space as well, but there were already plenty of such spaces in the Koenji area available at dirt cheap rates.
I was thinking about how I could utilize the unique features of this place, and create something that had value that couldn’t be found anywhere else, and that’s when I came up with the idea that “it would be cool if I could operate it as a place run by a stubborn, hard-headed old man.”
A hard-headed old man …?
Places run by hard-headed old men are sort of intimidating at first, but once you’re hooked, it becomes comfortable, don’t you think? I wanted to recreate that kind of atmosphere. If it could become a place where creators could stream their content, it would make things fun for me as well, and it would give significance to having it operate out of here.
Once I decided on a direction, I thought up a bunch of different names, like Creators’ Lab, or Videographer Lounge, but instead of trying to be cool, I just named it “Video Editing Cafe” — something simple and easy to understand.
And then, I added the rule that “you can’t leave until you finish your video.” I was imagining a kind of cafe where video editors would gather under the pressure of “I’ve got to finish my work by tomorrow!” I guess that masochistic aspect must have gotten the Twittersphere hooked (laughs).
Praise Them When They Finish! Increase Satisfaction Through a “Task-completion Format.”
Instead of making it a cafe that was open to everybody, where anybody could just wander in, I targeted a limited customer base of “video editors who were under the pressure of deadlines.”
Since all you need is a notebook computer, these days you can edit video in all kinds of places. But lately, cafes won’t have electrical outlets available, or their Wi-Fi may be slow, or it might start to feel uncomfortable if you’ve stayed for longer than 2 hours, et cetera … You might be willing to work hard, but it’s hard to concentrate in a public place.
So I thought, what kind of place could be comfortable for “video editors?” I looked into what needs they would have, and built the most optimal environment for them.
Furthermore, when you enter, you have to fill out this sheet, and you have to write down your task — what you plan to finish, in how many hours. By doing this, every once in a while, I can drop by, check on them and ask, “So, how is it coming along?”
Some of my customers will raise their hand and report, “Kawai-san, I’ve finished today’s task!” And when that happens, I’ll announce, “〇〇-san has completed his task! Everyone, give him a round of applause!” And I make sure to praise them on their accomplishments.
Even though they may each differ in the content of their work, all of my customers will have the common goal of editing their videos, so they share a unified understanding of how hard it is to do what they do. So they have their brothers-in-arms, and a hard-headed old man who is looking after them, so there is this environment that encourages them to do their best.
It’s such a cozy, homey atmosphere!
How long do most customers stay?
Many of them announce “I’ll finish my task in 2 hours!” But the fact is that most of them end up using about 4 hours. Of course, some never finish their tasks, but the important thing is to declare it, and do your best to complete your task.
If they pay ¥150 for every 30 minutes (tax included, only cashless payments accepted), then they can have all the coffee they want, and bringing in your own food and drink is allowed.
There is a convenience store right out front, but once they start editing, most of them enter the zone, and apparently they get so intense, they think “I don’t even want to waste time crossing the intersection!” Lately, more and more of them have been asking, “Kawai-san, could you sell me those drinks you have in the refrigerator (laughs)?”
Wow, that’s intense … (laughs)
Do many of your customers use the cafe for work?
Whether it’s individuals or businesses, we get all kinds of video creators from all categories.
When you hear the words “video editing,” most people might imagine corporate work, but lately, there has been an increase in individuals who have been hired to edit videos.
There are people who do everything on their own, from editing to streaming, like YouTubers, and then there are other types of YouTubers, who hire freelance creators to edit their videos, and then there are other types, who say, “I’ve got 20videos to edit this month …”
Before, video editing jobs mainly involved companies hiring companies, but nowadays anybody can make a video.
There are more and more jobs now where companies hire individuals, or individuals hire other individuals. And of course, there are also people who come in to edit their college project, or just for fun.
Questions for 3 Customers! How Is It at the Video Editing Cafe?
Currently, maximum capacity is set at 5 persons, in order to allow for the appropriate amount of space in between seats. Today, we were able to talk to 3 customers.
Our first customer is Makoto Imae, who came to edit some videos he filmed for fun.
I know the proprietor, Kawai-san, but when I heard that he was opening a video editing cafe, I came here.
Today, I came because I’ve built up a stock of time-lapse videos that I had been filming for fun, and I wanted to organize them. It’s difficult to concentrate at home, but when I come here, it’s a good environment, and I’m able to focus on working, so it’s comfortable for me.
I took a look at some of the videos he was editing, and there was some wonderful footage of Karuizawa and Odaiba. Since these are just hobby videos, I end up procrastinating, but it was fun working on them, looking back on those memories.
Our second customer is Chizue Geshi, a photographer and live streaming engineer, who has experience using Koenji Sankakuchitai, and after it started trending on Twitter, thought, “I’d like to go to the Video Editing Cafe,” and was looking for an opportunity to visit.
When sitting at the counter, the view of the outside is really nice.
You can immediately get to work, and maybe it’s a good thing to come here to edit, to start working on it the day you’ve shot your footage, before your emotions begin to wane, with the goal of like, “for now, I’ll get it organized up to around this point.”
Usually, I’m pretty lazy (laughs), but because I write down my objective into the goals sheet when I enter the cafe, it gets me feeling like I can get my work finished more quickly than usual. The best situation is when I can finish my work early, and I’m able to go home after double-checking my videos!
There is a big display monitor at the Video Editing Cafe, so it’s recommended that you check your videos on that. It’s nice to be able to check your videos together after completing them.
Our third customer is Seiya Nishidate, who works as an event accelerator. Apparently, he was invited to join by Geshi-san, and ever since has become hooked on the Video Editing Cafe.
Thanks to the workation boom, you can now work anywhere in the country, wherever you like, but there could be problems with locations not being quite ideal … such as the Wi-Fi being slow, or not having enough electrical cables, etc.
At this Video Editing Cafe, you have an environment that is optimized for video editing, and that is wonderful.
And everyone here is a video editor. It’s fun just talking to the proprietor, Kawai-san, and since all sorts of people gather here, I think that it can be a very stimulating place for people who are just starting out in this field.
Nishidate-san also travels across the country, providing support for video streaming projects. He informed me that due to the pandemic, the needs for video have definitely increased.
I Want To Connect People in Building a Community That Brings Users Together.
Hearing the voices of people who have used this service, I came away feeling that everyone was incredibly satisfied with their experiences, and that it wasn’t a scary place at all (laughs)!
It’s not scary at all! But because it was trending on Twitter, maybe people were being cautious (laughs).
In the future, I’d like to continue building this community — while treating with care this connection with video editors — like sharing tips, or creating a video editing school, etc.
It’s rather difficult with the coronavirus, but when things settle down, I’d like to try creating a “Video Editing Bar.” If it could become a place where like-minded people gather to exchange information and ideas, it would be fun for me as well, and would help expand the community.
Personally, I would love to have a “Writers’ Cafe!”
Actually, at the moment, I’ve been working on a “Manuscript Writing Cafe,” and talks have been progressing. I’ve been thinking about making more of these types of task-formatted coworking studios.
So, of course, I’ve been considering a writers’ cafe, but I’m also thinking of horizontal expansion, so it could be a photographers’ cafe, a music-making cafe, or a designers’ cafe.
I would ask people who belonged to those communities to be the proprietors, and I think it would be fun if I could build gathering places for creators in all sorts of locations, all over the country.
Interest in the future of the “Video Editing Cafe.” Instead of being scared, I was gently enveloped by Kawai-san’s kindness, and was filled with warm feelings.
The cafe operates on irregular business hours, so for the latest information, please refer to Kawai-san’s Twitter account for confirmation (interview took place in February, 2022).
Video Editing Cafe
Address: 2-Chome-1-24 Koenji-Kita, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
Interviewed February, 2022
Text by: Chikako Tsuruta
Edited by: Note, Ltd.