This project is to create "Footbath Café Donyoku", a place where people can relax their minds and souls in a footbath and also be able to connect with others without worrying about sexuality, age, and/or nationality. "Footbath Café Donyoku" will be located in the heart of Shinjuku Ni-chome, a place that has been accepting diversity in Japan for years. Our café will aim to create an environment that is safe and accepting.

 

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Thank you so much for your support! We have now set our third goal! 
Thank you everyone for your warm support. Our second target of 1 million yen has now been achieved thanks to everyone’s kind support. It is truly an incredible feeling and very encouraging to have so much warm support. In order for us to create a better space, we would like to set our third goal of 1.5 million yen. Your continuous support and spreading our message is much appreciated! Thank you.

☆ We will hold a talk event on September 15th and 17th. Click here for details.

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Hi everyone, my name is Kaori Ooji. 
Have you thought about quitting your job? In other words, when do you feel like you want to quit your job?

Currently, I am a company employee who works for a manufacturing brand.
And I have decided to quit my job to pursue this project.

You might think: Why? Why throw away your good paying job? Well, that’s because this project has much greater value for me.

 

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Here, and now

 

I always thought I would never be able to open up about my sexuality, and so visiting Ni-chome was difficult and very fearful for me. This Footbath Café is aiming to create a comfortable place to connect, not just for those who are regulars in Ni -chome; but also for those who have never been, and are afraid to take a step forward. 
 

This place is for those who want to be freed from social expectations and any worries they might have with themselves. A casual and easy place where anyone and everyone is accepted. 
 
What kind of place is Donyoku?

 

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As illustrated by Haruka Suzuki above, we want to make a place where many people can come and enjoy each other’s company, as well as food and a footbath.  
(Please note that animals unfortunately will not be allowed in the café.)

  
Counter seats will also be available

Anyone is welcome to the café even if you want to come alone. We will have counter seats available for those who want to enjoy just the footbath or a meal. Power cables will be available in front of the counter seat so you can even finish your work while relaxing.  

 

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‖ Separate relaxing space 

 

At the back of the café, there will be a relaxing area with a raised floor where you can enjoy our footbath and hammock seats. This space is for those who would like to enjoy relaxing conversation. 

Please note: All footbaths in the café will have a filtration function, so you don’t need to worry about sanitary aspects of the bath.  
 

‖ Professional medical treatment with your footbath


Removable partitions can be put up around the hammock seats if you wish to receive private massages or treatments. Professionals will be available (with booking) to suit your needs for relaxation. 

 

 

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‖Workshops and gatherings are also welcome


The café space can be used for many different purposes. To accompany large groups of guests, we have extra tables and seating. The raised flooring and other spaces can be used for workshops and events. Perhaps a DJ party on a Saturday evening might be a good idea? 
 

‖Creating connections through experience


Like a “travelling bookshelf” where you can leave a book behind for others to read, we are planning to create a mechanism that allows others to connect with people in many different ways and that itself will create a sense of community.

 

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‖ Delicious Bánh mì sandwich and shaved ice dessert


What is a café without delicious food? Bánh mì sandwiches and shaved ice will be available all year round for our hungry guests, and for those who just want refreshments.  
Local beverages such as craft beer, Aomori apple juice, and more will also be available.

 

 

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‖ Family friendly


The café will be open during the daytime on some days, and will be friendly to families with children and also teens who may have interest in Ni-chome. Inside the café will be a smoke-free zone (there will be a smoking area outside).
 

Background

 

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(Left)Kei Izumi(Center)Kaori Ooji、(Right)Satoko Nagamura

◆From Kaori Ooji


When this project came about, I decided to quit my job at a company where I worked for over 10 years.

There were several reasons for my decision, but mainly I started to question the company’s expectations of employees. The company I worked for had a constantly busy environment. About seven years after I joined, I became a middle manager and so I tried to maintain employee motivation and alert higher management about the work environment and situation. This just made me even more busy to accommodate every adjustment needed.

I was the middle manager and I thought if this is helpful to the company it is how it should be. But one day last year, I suddenly asked myself: “Who’s life am I living?

This was the same question I came across when I first moved to Tokyo. I am the L in LGBTQ, but I couldn’t come out to anyone when I was living in my hometown.

Especially when I was job hunting, I even thought of hiding myself and was about to decide to try to get married with a man just to have grandchildren for my parents.
Then I thought: “Wait, who’s life am I living?
 

Since I was already worrying about how to hide myself, I thought I would rather worry about doing what I want, and pursue being myself. I decided then to move to Tokyo, a city where so many different people are, and to find people who would be able to accept me. I wanted to live my life.

I originally had this goal, but over the years I got stuck again thinking “this is for the company”, or “because I am a manager”… This was far away from what I wanted to do.

So once again, I now want to revisit myself and really seek what I want in my life.
When I first told Satoko Nagamura and Kei Izumi that I want to quit my job, they approached me with this project and their ideas.
 

◆ From Satoko Nagamura

 

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I want to make a footbath place where you can truly relax from your heart 
 
“She is my friend”

 

When one of the locals asked me “What is your relationship?” during a trip with my partner to a hot spring and footbath in May, I answered so quickly.
 
What kind of friends and what kind of relationship is it?

I have lied like this before when we were on trips together, and it made me feel very sad.
If I answer truthfully, what would this person think? It made me sick and tired of even thinking about it, and so I find myself answering these questions with a lie.

 

I don’t want to lie, I don’t want to care about what others might think, and I just want to be myself. That’s when I thought it would be so great to have a relaxing footbath where you can truly relax. That experience was the trigger for me to think of creating the Footbath Café.

After the trip, I chatted with Kei Izumi and we both got really excited about the kind of place we could make in Ni-chome.

If you are in the same footbath, your mind will also relax. 

I was thinking of this for a while.  

 

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When I was very fascinated by the idea of creating a company, Ooji came to me to talk about the meaning of companies and company employees. That’s when I talked to her about my ideas and passion. She was very excited, and agreed that it would be a great idea to make it a reality someday. 

The three of us were discussing the fact that people care too much of what other people think about their sexuality, and many of us have to act to meet social expectations. It would be great to have a place where we can escape from all of this. As we were discussing the idea of such a place, we suddenly found a location in Ni-chome…and that is when we all thought that it was now or never.

 
”I want to make a new gathering place in our special home of Shinjuku Ni-chome”

Shinjuku Ni-chome has developed as a gathering place for LGBT people in Japan.
I was one of the many who came to Ni-chome to find my comfortable place even before I started my restaurant here.

 

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I currently own and run a restaurant in Shinjuku Ni-chome, “Teppan Onna Sakaba Dorobune”.  I opened this restaurant for female sexual minorities to be able to bring their straight friends or parents to have a meal. It has now been nine years since that time, and I feel that the scene has changed. Nowadays, I hear worries from the young LGBT generation that Ni-chome is only for certain people, while the older generation on the other hand feels like it is only for the young ones.

“I shouldn’t go to Ni-chome.” I even hear this from straight people as well.

Perhaps Shinjuku Ni-chome is not as welcoming as I thought, and it is difficult for many people to visit. Many people might be thinking that it has a unique culture and is not for them, or that certain type of people shouldn’t go.   
 
That is when I thought to myself: Why can’t we have a place that is not limited to certain people and that does not have certain image. A place that gets out of this kind of categorization, and is open even to teens or families.

A place that values personality more than sexuality. We believe this is possible because it is Ni-chome.
 
Creating a place for yourself, that is the theme of life 

Ni-chome is a place I can also call my hometown. I strongly hope to be able to send a message to everyone that Ni-chome is a place that accepts diversity. 

A place where you can share thoughts and understand one another, connect with people, and go anywhere freely. A place that can be a part of a community of your life. I want to make a place like that.

The lady who asked us about our relationship at the hot spring: perhaps if she can come to a place called Ni-chome and see that she is actually the minority, perhaps then she might be able to understand and accept differences. 

That’s why I want to open our door to everyone. 

I would be pleased to have your support to make Shinjuku Ni-chome more fun and welcoming for everyone.

◆From Kei Izumi

 

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◇ A place you can simply enjoy

I am a woman who likes women, but there are still times when I cannot accept myself.
For example, I cannot hold hands in public with someone I like.

Even if I am walking down the street with my partner, I try hard to make sure we look like friends. What might other people be thinking? I still have this feeling of guilt whenever I am in a relationship.

Often I resent my feelings towards myself and my partner, and I feel like I suffer from the homophobic ideas inside myself.


When I joined an event in Ni-chome for the first time and met over 60 lesbians and bisexuals, I felt ease and comfort for the first time.  This was a feeling of freedom and acceptance that I had for the first time in my life.

Since then, I started working at Ni-chome and I have met many more people. This opened me up to a future that I hadn’t considered. It gave me hope for me and my life, and to know that there are so many options gave me comfort and security.

However, this cannot be said for everyone.

I would like to help those who are struggling by giving opportunities to meet others.

It would be great to have a place where you can simply enjoy each other’s company whether you are partners, brothers, sisters, or even someone you met for the first time.

 

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Donyoku logo that Izumi has designed 

 

Happiness from connecting with people



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Us three, we are all very different people.
But deep down, our value of happiness is the same: “Happiness comes from all the connections we make with people”

Perhaps it is not very convincing coming from me, who has never became successfully rich or have certain skills/talents… haha. 

Looking back at myself, where I couldn’t even come out in my hometown, I feel really happy and blessed to have family and friends who understand and accept me for who I am. 

I want to work hard to make a place that can allow people to connect on hat level, regardless of one’s sexuality or to be categorized into social stereotypes. 

And I will be truly happy if this place can be a help someone’s life even a little.  
 

Whether you are L, G, B, T, or not, this café aims to become a safe and comfortable place and a bridge to connect people despite their differences in sexuality, culture and race.

Thank you for reading this long! 
We will be very happy if you can support us!
 

How the funds will be used

We aim to add 500,000 JPY to the funds of the Footbath Café to purchase supplies and maintain café management based on the amount received.

1, 【500,000 JPY】 (target amount of the project)
· We will cover expenses incurred when opening the store (interior installation costs 300,000 yen, fixture costs 200,000 yen)
 

2, 【1 million JPY】
· It is used as expenses to further improve the comfort of the store (interior construction · decoration fee 300,000 yen, fixture costs 200,000 yen)
 

Return

We prepared various plans so that everyone who supports this project can enjoy the opening of Footbath Café! 

For this crowd funding, we received sponsorship in the form of goods from Nakamura Keith Haring Art Museum. The museum in Obuchizawa exhibits a number of powerful works created by Keith Haring, and we will deliver art works and goods from the museum in return and appreciation for your support.
 

 

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One of our project members, Satoko Nagamura, had a wedding ceremony with her same-sex partner at the museum in 2015.
 

※Regarding thank you messages:

Depending on your plan, we will post your name to our website or we will have a sign on the café. 

We will only post with your agreement, and nicknames or pen-names are also allowed for those who wish to stay anonymous. 

※Regarding original towels: 

These are towels that can only be obtained at the café, with our logo and illustration printed on them.

 

In October 2018, the project was completed with 342 % achievement.

 

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How to participate in GREENFUNDING

→How to (click here)

 

◆ 5,000 JPY and below

2,000 JPY

・Thank you message
・One free footbath ticket

 

3,000 JPY

 

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・Thank you message
・One free footbath ticket + one free footbath ticket for a friend
・Special Rainbow Acrylic Woolen Sponge

 

5,000 JPY ① Limited to 5 people(sold out)

 

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・Thank you message
・Keith Haring Eco Bag & Pouch Set

Eco bag (left) Size: 50 x 42 cm Zipper pocket: 11 x 11.5 cm Handle part: 27 cm
Pouch set (right) Size small: 13 x 23 cm Medium: 20 x 27 cm Large: 25 x 32 cm Water resistant (made of polyether ester)
 

    
5,000 JPY 

 

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・Thank you message
・One free footbath ticket + one free footbath ticket for a friend
・Original towel
・Original Tote Bag
・Special Rainbow Acrylic Woolen Scourer
 

◆ Health Set

10,000 JPY There are limited items

【 A 】Limited to 7 people (sold out)

 

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・Thank you message + Name posting on the homepage (for those who wish, pen name is acceptable)
· 5 free footbath tickets
· Original towel
· Treatment of shoulder/old injuries/whole-body conditioning by God Hand Yoko sensei (bonesetter, orthopaedist)
┗ With 60 minutes counseling included (regular price: 7000 JPY)

 

【 B 】Limited to 7 people

 

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・Thank you message + Name posting on the homepage (For those who wish, pen name is accepted)
· 5 free footbath tickets
· Original towel
・Beauty acupuncture by professional acupuncture masseuse 
┗ With 60 minutes counseling included (regular price: 7000 JPY)

 

【 C 】Limited to 7 people (sold out)

 

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・Thank you message + Name posting on the homepage (For those who wish, pen name is accepted)
· 5 free footbath tickets
· Original towel
・Body conditioning and improvement guidance by body conditioning specialist Dr.Honda 
┗ regular price: 8000 JPY per hour ※Venues located at: Shinjuku, Sugamo, Asakusabashi, Urawa, and Chiba 

 
◆ アートセット
10,000 JPY Limited to 3 people(sold out)

 

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・Thank you message + Name posting on the homepage (For those who wish, pen name is accepted)
・5 free footbath tickets
・Original towel
・Keith Haring Wall Sticker
┗ 68 cm x 93 cm


20,000 JPY  Limited to 1 person(sold out)

 

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・Thank you message + Name posting on the homepage (For those who wish, pen name is accepted)
・5 free footbath tickets
・Original illustration by Haruka Suzuki. Limited to 1 person
 
◆ Opening Party Invitation
The opening party will be scheduled from 6pm to 12am on November 17, 2018.

 

15,000 JPY 

・Thank you message + Name posting on the homepage (For those who wish, pen name is accepted)
・Limited edition gold Donyoku card (no expiration) free footbath once a month
・Original towel
・Your name on the café wall (group name is also accepted)
・One invitation to the opening party

    
30,000 JPY ① Limited to 3 people  (sold out)

 

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・Thank you message + Name posting on the homepage (For those who wish, pen name is accepted)
・15 free footbath tickets
・3 original towels
・3 original Tote Bag
・Keith Haring Wall Sticker - Twisting Man(71cm x 73cm)
・3 invitation to the opening party
・One of the treatments of the health set
・Your name on the café wall (group name is also accepted)

 

30,000 JPY ② Limited to 3 people  

 

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・Thank you message + Name posting on the homepage (For those who wish, pen name is accepted)
・Your name on the café wall (group name is also accepted)
・15 free footbath tickets
・3 original towels
・3 original Tote Bag
・Keith Haring Wall Sticker - Dancing Dog (99cm×68cm)
・3 invitation to the opening party
・One of the health set treatments 

 
50,000 JPY  People who do not wish for any items
・Handwritten thank you letter


50,000 JPY Limited to 3 people  

 

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・Thank you message + Name posting on the homepage (For those who wish, pen name is accepted)
・Your name on the café  wall (group name is also accepted)
・20 free footbath tickets
・4 original towels
・4 original Tote Bag
・Special Rainbow Acrylic Woolen Scourer
・Keith Haring Wall Sticker
 ┗ (left) 68 cm × 68 cm (right) 68 cm × 68 cm
・4 invitation to the opening party
・2 of the  health set treatments 

 
100,000 JPY Limited to 3 people  

 

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・Thank you message + Name posting on the homepage (For those who wish, pen name is accepted)
・Your name on the café wall (group name is also accepted)
・Footbath Café Donyoku Private Reservation (depending on the reservation details, food and drinks may require additional cost) 
・Keith Haring Wall Sticker
 ┗ (left) 86 cm × 66 cm (right) 76 cm x 71 cm
・Keith Haring Cycle
 ┗ Keith Haring × Daiwa Cycle Family Cycle / 26 inch 6-speed Speed ​​Auto Light
KH266-A Keith Haring Bicycle
・5 invitation to the opening party

 
100,000 JPY  People who do not wish for any items
・Handwritten thank you letter

‖ English STAFF

The English skill is depend on the staff but we will do our best when you talk to us.

Please feel free to ask us anything.

‖ English menu

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