Our trip to Japan revealed [many treasures](http://www.thewavingcat.com/category/travel/), but one I’m still glowing about is the **[Fab Cafe](http://www.fabcafe.com/blog/)** in Shibuya, opened by a friend and colleague, Chiaki Hayashi and her design company [Loftwork](http://www.loftwork.com/).
The theme is **lattes and lasers.** Their signature drink is a marshmallow man peeking out of the coffee to accompany the humming laser cutter in middle of the room.
**What strikes me about this place is it’s welcoming atmosphere and casual introduction to fabbing.** It’s in the heart of one of the busiest neighborhoods in Tokyo, and Chiaki says they get a lot of walk-ins who discover a nice-looking cafe, have a coffee, and then get curious about the laser cutter.
She says the **visitor ratio lands around 50:50 men and women,** and people from all sorts of backgrounds (designers, school children, small business owners) stop by.
**The cafe benefits from an active design community via Loftwork and an impressive Fablab about an hour outside the city in [Kamakura](http://fablabjapan.org/kamakura/).** They’re also starting a series of workshops with the [Tokyo Hackerspace](http://tokyohackerspace.org/), including a [DIY coffee roasting session](http://tokyohackerspace.org/en/event/2012-04-21-diy-coffee-roasting-and-tasting).
**The idea for the space sprang out of a workshop a few months back,** where teams of designers, developers, and fabbers sprinted together on design projects. Chiaki explained that the workshop tapped a community’s interest in opening a dedicated fabbing space in the city.
In many ways, **this parallels Berlin’s [Open Design City’s origin story](http://www.od10beta.info/2010/02/delivered-in-beta-open-design-workshop/).**
Comparing Tokyo and Berlin, perhaps the connection between the betahaus cafe and the annexed maker space could be more explicit. Perhaps some example products or signage in the cafe could signal that you can stop by and make something yourself. **Or even put fabbing on the cafe menu.**
Some Mt. Fuji coasters we cut while visiting:
Images by [thewavingcat](https://secure.flickr.com/photos/thewavingcat/): Fab Café / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Marshmallow Man at Fab Café / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Fab Café in Shibuya / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Coasters at Fab Café / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0