Ogori Cafe

Cross performance art with marketing strategy and you get Ogori Cafe in Kashiwa, Japan located in Urban Design Center Kashiwa-no-ha. The concept is you get what the person before you ordered and the person after you gets what you ordered. You don’t find out what the person before you ordered until after you order something yourself. It’s like a test of your faith in the person before you and a test of your moral to see what you buy the person after you. Cabel Saasser, from Oregon, wrote about his experience at this cafe here. He seemed to truly enjoy his experience. One thing I thought was a nice bonus was that you get a card telling you who bought you your snack and/or refreshment. I think it’s also great that it encourages people to interact with others. An interesting fact that I ran across in the blog’s comments is that “Ogori” is derived from the verb “ogoru,” meaning to treat someone (to a drink, meal, whatever).

Here is an excerpt from Cabel:

“The guys behind the counter and I immediately launched into a humorous, protracted, Englishanese attempt to understand what the hell just happened. Through judicious fumbling, and after a great deal of precise hand-waving and mangled pronouns, it turned out to be something like this:

At this cafe, you get what the person before you ordered. The next person gets what you ordered.

Welcome to the Ogori cafe!

As I sat down to enjoy my surprise Appletizer, loving this insane idea and wondering what would happen if you tried it in America, a Japanese woman approached the cafe. Since she could actually speak Japanese, she could read the large sign at the front and, fortunately or unfortunately, got advanced warning of what she was in for. Before making a final decision on what to order, she quietly snuck up to me to try to ask me what I had ordered, knowing that it would be her unwavering refreshment destiny. The staff put a quick stop to her trickery, and I didn’t answer.

Of course, regardless of what she ordered, she got the orange juice I ordered a few minutes earlier. But here’s one of the moments that make this experiment cool: she actually chose orange juice, just like I did. So she got what she wanted. Ogori cafe synchronicity!

Before we left, there was one last thing hat had to be done.

Mike went up to the cafe, slapped down a couple thousand yen (~$25), and ordered a little bit of everything: some ice cream, some snacks, some candy, some drinks, a Japanese horn-of-mysterious-plenty intentionally set up as a shocking surprise for the next lucky customer. (After his order, Mike received single iced coffee.)

As we walked away from the cafe, with just the right amount of delay, we heard an extremely excited “arigato goazimasu!! thank you so much!!” yelled in our direction, from an ecstatic mom and her equally excited young son. They truly appreciated the surprise.

It was so worth it.”

Photo credits for attached photos and header photo goes to Cabel Saasser

18 Comments

  1. Fil

    Hah! Blogging about Japan already! Thats pretty cool, I can get to Kashiwa pretty easily so I MUST try this place out! Sounds neat!

  2. Ashlee

    I’m surprised Japan has never come up before! Let me know what you get if you end up going to the cafe. Hopefully it’s still there! May want to check, see if everyone supported it. I would be interested to know that. I think it was new.

  3. alycia

    What a kool idea…Something unique. I wonder what WOULD happen if you atempted that here. You’d have to do it in an ultra hip mellow place though.

  4. Carl

    That is a pretty cool idea, not sure you would want to be the last in line if you went with a bunch of your buddies. I like the idea, I would at least try it.

  5. Tanner

    I think that most should try this at least once, but I don’t know if most would try this agine.

  6. Alex

    Sounds fun, but I guess you don’t go if you are really hungry. It would be a tough sell in the Arkansas. You’d probably have cussin’ matches and bar fights every half hour 🙂

  7. Ashlee

    I agree, Arkansas would probably not be a good location. Like Alycia said, it would have to be an ultra hip mellow place, like California 🙂 Right, Alycia?

  8. Lauren

    Fun idea! I want to go. It is like a pay it forward in food!

  9. Trevor

    What if you get something that you are allergic to and swell up. If the person before you knew you were allergic you could totally sue them for attempted murder.

  10. Mary

    Oh that is so interesting! Japan always does the most random things. If I ever go to Japan, I’ll make a point to stop at a place like this.

  11. Carol

    Yeah, that’s an interesting concept. However, I saw first hand the refreshments in China and, although I know the cultures are different that would be a “no go” for me! Just in case they also served scorpions and starfish on a stick.

  12. Emily

    I loved this blog!! Very cool concept.

  13. Laurel Frye

    Sounds interesting. I like ti try new things.

  14. Katie

    Such a fun idea! I would eat there for sure. I wonder how many customers they get that get mad after they order?

  15. Mary

    Haha, Chinese food is much different from Japanese. Funny though. So they only sell sweets & drinks right? No worries about scorpions there unless an iron chef was on board.

  16. becky

    Hmmm. Sounds good!

  17. Vita Barre'

    Not sure about this one, i am kind of picky when it comes to food! but it could be fun! 😉

  18. Fil

    SNAP! I did a little digging and it looks like this was actually a limited time special event thing. >.< Oh well, maybe he'll have it again.

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