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Using a cafe as a canvas

A child enjoys drawing on a replica of a famous painting. PHOTO BY THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN
A child enjoys drawing on a replica of a famous painting. PHOTO BY THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN

TOKYO, Japan — A leading stationery maker, Pentel Co., has opened a cafe and bar in Tokyo’s Ginza district where customers are allowed to doodle anywhere in the shop — on the walls, floor, tables and even replicas of world-famous paintings.

 

 

At a time when the stationery market has been shrinking due to a decline in the number of children, the cafe is meant to provide people, not just kids, with an opportunity to scribble. The hope is that adults will recall fun childhood memories through writing and drawing.

 

 

The cafe, Ginza Rakugaki Cafe & Bar, is a limited-time project that will be operate until Oct. 31.

 

 

This is the second temporary cafe that Pentel has set up. The first one operated in June and July 2014, attracting more than 6,000 visitors, some of whom said they enjoyed the “extraordinary” experience and the “unique disregard for convention.”

 

 

This year’s theme is “art museum,” and 10 kinds of the company’s products such as mechanical pencils, felt pens, and calligraphy pens are available at the shop. The cafe and bar allows customers to draw anything they want on plaster statues and replicas of famous paintings such as the “Mona Lisa” and “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” in addition to the walls and floor.

 

 

Items on the menu are all extremely colorful. French fries come with seven colors of sauce, and pastel-colored cocktails are among the beverage options.

 

 

“I hope this can be a place where both children and parents can experience how fun it is to express themselves freely,” Pentel President Masaru Wada said.

 

 

Yuna Sasayama, 3 and from Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, enjoyed dabbing paint all over a replica of Edouard Manet’s “The Fifer” with a brown calligraphy pen, while saying “Painting is really fun!”