Mr. Yamamoto awoke with a loud grunt. He glanced down at his watch. Already 06:30 AM!? Memories of the night before came flooding back. A 7PM meeting with a colleague, 4 hours of circuitous discussion and a bottle of vending machine coffee later, and Mr. Yamamoto had signed himself up for an all nighter of wild policy making at his desk. He must have dozed off….but when? He looked around his office. Most of his team were still there, clacking away on their keyboards, apparently oblivious to his sleep apnea.

Eh, chotto matte! It’s Saturday, he realized. Surely I don’t need to keep working now, he dared to dream. He had booked a trip to an onsen just outside Tokyo for this very day after all. And, having missed his last 4 wedding anniversaries, his kids 6th birthday party, and god knows how many hair restoration therapy sessions, all because of his commitment to work, he felt like he’d earned at least one personal day. So he quickly finished and fired off his email, slammed his laptop shut and headed out the door for the day before his colleagues even had the chance to say “otsukaresama”.

He had his overnight bag already packed, having planned to spend the night in a hotel before going to the onsen. It was to be a solo trip as his wife and kid were visiting her mother in Hokkaido. As he walked to the station, he marvelled at the surrounding skyscrapers, brightly lit and buzzing with activity of people still hard at work.

He descended down the concrete stairs to the nearby station. Only the ticket gates separated Mr. Yamamoto from a day of indulgent soaking in a steamy spring. As he approached his company phone began to buzz. He scanned the notification from his company's direct messaging app. The fact that he’d been DM’d on Saturday morning was ominous to say the least.

Masaka!? He whispered breathlessly. It was a message from his boss. He’d made a grave error in that final email he’d been mindlessly typing for god knows how long and sent absentmindedly before he left. It was supposed to be about cuts the company was making to employees salaries, or Kyūryō . It looks like he’d been accidentally writing Kyūri however, which meant cucumber. He’d sent an email to the whole organization telling everyone that the company would be cutting their CUCUMBERS?

How could this be!? To make matters worse, his boss was telling him to go back to the office and fix this hot mess ASAP. It was 7AM on a Saturday. If he went back to the office, coordinated a response and sent about a million emails, he was sure he’d waste most of the day at work. He could already feel his onsen dream evaporating in a haze of disappointment. Doushiyou!?

Mr. Yamamoto stood frozen in silence, locked in a staring match with his phone screen, mind frantically searching for the best course of action. That’s when he saw it. Out of the corner of his eye, a vague and mysterious shape, emitting a soft, inviting glow from within, standing against the station wall.

What’s that, Mr. Yamamoto said, momentarily distracted from his dilemma. Approaching what looked like a futuristic cubicle, he could make out the words “Coco Desk” emblazoned on the door. Mr. Yamamoto tried to open it, but it was locked. The message on the side of the booth explained he needed to download an app to use the cubicle. Mr. Yamamoto did just that, and a few minutes later, he was inside.

The interior of Coco Desk was well lit and ventilated. It contained a spinny chair, a clean desk and a monitor, plugs and ethernet sockets. A light bulb suddenly flickered into life above Mr. Yamamoto’s head. Coco Desk is the answer, he screamed. Passing commuters walked by oblivious to his shriek as Coco Desk has excellent sound insulation.

Mr. Yamamoto was carrying a laptop. He could fix his catastrophic blunder from Coco Desk without needing to go anywhere near his office, and the extra demands of his colleagues. What’s more, his boss, who always played golf on Saturday morning would have no way of knowing whether he really went back to the office anyway. Ha, that’ll teach you for prioritizing you personal life, you wimp, chuckled Mr. Yamamoto to himself as he set to work.

He made excellent progress, the cocoon of focus and productivity that is Coco Desk empowering him to quickly rectify his error. His computer monitor only read 07:50 by the time he completed his task. Ample time to make it to the neighboring onsen town and enjoy the springs. He noticed an email he’d been waiting for had come in from Satou-san in purchasing however. Curiosity getting the better of him, he opened it and read…

The alarm on Mr. Yamamoto’s watch beeped. He looked down. 08:00 PM!? How the hell had that happened? Had he really been working all day? He had been unusually productive...perhaps he got lost in “flow”. Anywho, he’d sacrificed the opportunity to bathe in the warm waters of a hot spring to bathe instead in the warm glow of his laptop all day. At the very least he could enjoy a cheeky nama in a pub before heading home.

Exiting, he whispered: thanks for the great night, Coco Desk, and patted it on the door. I’ll be seeing you on Monday.

Mr. Yamamoto’s example is fictional (thank goodness), but Coco Desk is oh so real. You can enjoy the comfort and convenience of working or studying in Coco Desk in a total of 19 Metro stations across Tokyo right now. For example, Ueno, Hanzomon and Otemachi all contain Coco Desks. What’s more, Tokyo Metro has committed to installing a total of 46 Coco Desks across 26 stations by the end of March 2021.

Coco Desk has been developed by Tokyo Metro in partnership with FujiXerox to meet a growing demand for work spaces that suit different lifestyles and ways of working. Tokyo Metro began investigating the possibility of installing workspaces in 2016 based on requests from customers. The partnership with FujiXerox in 2018 resulted in Coco Desk.

Since 2018, Coco Desk has been demonstrated and tested in various Tokyo Metro stations, resulting in the comfortable and convenient product accessible today. In addition to excellent noise insulation, Coco Desk is well ventilated, brightly lit and packed with useful features to support work and study. Ethernet ports, a plug in monitor and power sockets mean users can take advantage of Coco Desk as a workspace using technology they carry with them on a daily basis.

Tokyo Metro will continue to install Coco Desks across their network of stations in a bid to empower customers to use stations as a space for business, work and leisure, as well as travel.

Coco Desk can be accessed between 07:00 - 22:00 every day. An application is required to reserve a slot and to be able to access Coco Desk. More information on the service is available on the , Coco Desk official web page.

By - Toby M.