Since my friend doesn't have internet access at her house, when I want to use the internet I've been going to a nearby manga kissaten. Manga (comic book) kissaten (cafe) are really interesting - for a fee, you can read comic books and magazines for hours and hours, drink coffee or eat snacks, or use the internet. (The one I go to is about $3.80 per 90 minutes including coffee or tea.) It's kind of like a library, except is has a huuuge selection of Japanese comic books and of course you can talk and eat and drink while you read, which of course I'm not supposed to do at the library.
Because manga kissaten are open 24 hours a day and have food, internet, and amusements, some people use them as a place to rest for a while, or even to stay overnight. There are private booths and recliners where you can sleep, and some of them even have showers where you can keep yourself clean.
Do I wish there were manga kissaten in the U.S.? Well, yeah, I think they're neat. But one thing I would change is how much the manga kissaten feel so much like a "boy's space". There are sexy girl pictures all over the place (anime & manga posters, magazine covers, etc.) and it takes a lot of effort for me to not be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of breasts, mini-mini skirts, skinny legs, and supercute smiling faces.
I've been asked quite a bit while I've been here if I like Japan. I tell people I love Japan, but I also say that I find many aspects of Japanese society deeply disturbing - one example being the way men treat women here. They ask me what I mean by that and I just tell them Japan seems like an intensely patriarchal, misogynist society, same like the U.S., only different. People look puzzled when I say this but it's hard to explain what I mean in two minutes.
Here is a photo of a tree that I like. I've been wanting to ask someone what kind of tree this is but no one is ever around when I pass this tree on my way to town.
I'm so grateful for this time here in Japan. By offering so many layers of contrast and similarities, I feel like I am having a chance to look at my home back in the U.S. with fresh eyes.
Please take care.