Nestled in East Asia's fashion capital, The Terminal is Harajuku's only creative 'third place,' an informal gathering spot for local artists, designers and thinkers. Ruled by a philosophy of “work+study+eat+drink+play," this unique space has cultivated a strange, yet self-motivated culture of Tokyo dilettantes.
Stocked with iMacs, DJ mixing stations and a bar, this three-story building includes all the necessities to relax and to be productive. Adding to its legitimacy is The Terminal's board of trustees which, instead of out-of-touch businessmen, includes architects, stylists, musicians and fashion designers -- ostensibly the type of people who would patronize this Internet cafe.
Like karaoke rooms, izakaya bars and other 'third places,' The Terminal doesn't offer activities impossible to organize at home. Alternatively, the rub lies in the supportive atmosphere, the helpful regulars and close proximity. And this model of three places has not only improved community cohesion in Japan, it has successfully saved some municipal regions from cultural collapse! Maybe the same idea could thrive elsewhere?