Somehow, “customers who have sex in the booths” doesn’t top this industry veteran’s list.

Even though smartphones have become commonplace in Japan, you’ll still find plenty of Internet cafes across Tokyo and other cities. That’s because in Japan, net cafes aren’t just a place to use the Internet. With complimentary soft drinks, free-to-watch movies, extensive manga collections, and overnight rates cheaper than a taxi or hotel, Japanese net cafes are also a place to relax, catch up on your comic backlog, or snooze until morning after missing the last train of the night.

But while all their amenities make net cafes pretty great from a customer’s standpoint, the experience isn’t always so pleasant for the staff. Japanese net cafes generally give customers individual booths with walls high enough for a pretty decent amount of privacy, which some people use to do pretty indecent things.

We sat down with former net cafe employee T-san (not his real name, of course) who let us know about the five types of customers he hates the most, and in the process get a closer look at the disgusting underbelly of the industry than we’d bargained for.

5. Messy customers

Just about any net cafe in Japan has self-service drink stations where you can help yourself to as much soda, tea, juice, or soup as you like, and if the establishment doesn’t sell food of its own, you’re usually allowed to carry in meals. That doesn’t mean you should treat the net cafe staff like busboys, though.

“Some people just leave the booth a total mess,” T-san says. “They don’t throw away their food containers or put their cups back in the dirty dish collection area. They take dozens of manga volumes into the booth and don’t put them back on the shelves. And if it’s a booth in the smoking section, there’re ashes everywhere. There are a lot of people with no class in the smoking sections of net cafes.”

4. Smelly customers

Since many people use net cafes as a hotel substitute and stay all night, it’s not uncommon for net cafes to have shower facilities. T-san wishes more people would use them.

At any time, a certain number of people in a net cafe will have terrible body odor. Even after they leave, the booth they were in smells bad, and we can’t let other customers use it until the odor dissipates, which can take a while. One time, one of my female coworkers was cleaning one of those booths, and the smell was so bad it made her vomit…Another time, the manager even told a customer that unless he used the shower before going into his booth, we wouldn’t admit him.”

3. Tissue-loving customers

Anytime you provide people with privacy and Internet access, some of them are going to look at porn. T-san doesn’t judge them for that, but he’s less understanding about what happens after the adult film appreciation.

“Used tissues are a major problem. If you want to bust a nut, that’s fine…well, honestly, I don’t know if you’re legally allowed to do that in a net cafe booth or not. But anyway, take care of your tissues when you’re done!

To clarify, T-san isn’t talking about putting the used tissues into the small trash can that each booth is equipped with. “You can totally notice the weird smell coming out of the trash can,” he groans, while requesting that people take their paper spooge sponges home with them. Sadly, some people can’t even be bothered to put their used tissues in the booth’s trash can, which means the employees have to pick up the used tissues themselves. “A lot of them are…disturbingly warm.”

2. Each-other-loving customers

In addition to single-person booths, larger net cafes often have two-person “pair seat” booths, in case you and your sweetheart have come to the net cafe together. But remember what we said about net cafes being used as hotel substitutes?

“At one net cafe I worked at, there were a lot of couples who’d have sex in pair seat booths. The doors on the booth don’t lock, but they still went for it. Like with the used tissues I talked about, we’d find used contraceptives in the in-booth trash can. Sometimes there’d even be blood on the seat cushions.”

1. Toilet-improvising customers

“The worst, though,” T-san says, “are the customers who pee in the trash can.”

Yes, even though net cafes have bathrooms, some customers can’t be bothered to leave their booths and walk to the toilet when nature calls.

You’d be cleaning the booth, and you’d think, ‘Oh, he poured his drink into the trash can,’ but actually…I don’t know why some people do that, but I’ve found pee in the trash can multiple times. And of course, the employee still has to empty out the can.”

So remember, though their names might be similar, it’s not OK to just use the trash can when you really should go to the can. Especially since having a booth with enough privacy to take a piss means that no one is going to steal your seat while you’re in the bathroom anyway.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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