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Cyber Café Lequio.net Opens on Park Avenue

By: Jena Maddalino

Date Posted: 2000-02-12

Although Cyber Cafes are not a new concept in places like the United States and some of the major cities in Mainland Japan, they are still a relatively new idea to Okinawa. Only a handful of public Internet outlets are currently operating on the island.

As millions of people surf the web each day, information is being transformed and shared, linking the world together like nothing else. However, Japan seems to lag behind the other industrialized nations, as it only makes up about 14 percent of e-commerce transactions worldwide, though that figure is expected to grow rapidly over the next two years.

Experts estimate that Okinawa is even further behind, possibly by as much as 6 years. Bringing Okinawa into the modern age of cyber commerce and email is precisely what the owner of Lequio.net plans to achieve. Atsuki Hiyoshi decided to inaugurate the Okinawa-style cyber café for the local community last year when he realized how little some of his Japanese students understood the Internet. Hiyoshi owns and operates the Lequio language school, also located along the once prosperous Park Avenue, where he teaches both Japanese and English to a variety of students. “Opening a cyber café provides students with another outlet for learning English because most websites are in English,” Hiyoshi says. After roughly four months of planning and hard work, Lequio.net opened its doors this week.

The atmosphere is cozy, as you are invited to enjoy a cup of Java, surf the net and listen to music. The café also has a different twist because all of the computers are Macintosh - an idea that Hiyoshi decided would make his place a little more unique. By offering hip computers, hip service and music, Hiyoshi is trying to appeal to the twenty to thirty-something adult, perhaps pumping life back into the area. Food and beer are served, and visitors can look forward to tasty treats such as a Frog Dog or a Coffee float - all at reasonable prices.

The most important feature, according to Hiyoshi, is that the café will be a fun place to frequent. “I welcome any suggestions from customers about the food, atmosphere or the music. My hope is that this place will grow with the customers.”

Lequio.net is open 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. everyday, and is located on Park Avenue directly behind the Korinza Mall on Hwy 23. Customers can surf for 30 minutes for ¥300, and first time users can explore the Internet for 30 minutes at a price of just ¥200. Besides the Internet surfing, the menu for those who want a snack while surfing, includes Café Au let, Cappuccino, ice cream, pizza and more.

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