By YOSHICHIKA YAMANAKA/ Staff Writer
July 11, 2020 at 08:00 JST
HIGASHI-OSAKA, Osaka Prefecture--Teleworkers desperate for privacy in their cramped apartments and homes are turning to indoor tents as a means to secure personal space.
The locally designed tent, made entirely for indoor use, is selling at a much higher volume than last year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the manufacturer. It has become a popular item for teleworking office workers and students preparing for entrance exams.
The product, named Bocchi Tent after the expression “hitori-bocchi” (being lonely), was released six years ago by local outdoor gear and furniture maker Be-s Co.
The company came up with the idea in response to growing numbers of people doing various leisure activities alone--such as dining at a "yakiniku" barbecue restaurant and going to a karaoke parlor.
Kae Shintani, a Be-s representative, said the Bocchi Tent meets the needs of teleworkers who “cannot concentrate on work at home due to their children” or “want to use the tent as a working room because they do not have a dedicated personal space.”
The tent is 130 centimeters wide, 130 cm long and 150 cm tall. Even with its compact size, the shelter can accommodate a 120-cm-long desk.
Made of polyester, the tent's ceiling and entrance opens fasteners. The entrance part uses a mesh fabric to allow light and a breeze to pass through. Unlike its outdoor counterpart, pegs are not involved in the set-up process.
Sales of Bocchi Tent started rising in April, after a state of emergency was declared to combat the health crisis and people were urged to work from home where possible. Sales increased threefold for the month, year on year.
Even after the national state of emergency was lifted in its entirety in May, sales continued at a brisk pace, with the tent proving just as popular in June as it was in April.
In one case, a student distracted by a collection of hobby goods bought the tent to create a distraction-free study area, Shintani said.
Shintani pitched Be-s’ products as being ideal for office workers who have suddenly shifted to working from home, given that the company sells special ergonomic chairs, desks and other items of furniture specifically designed for e-sports video game competitors who tend to stay seated for hours on end.
“Company employees will also work at home for long hours,” said Shintani. “We plan to develop other new products that will prove helpful for those working from home in the future.”
The Bocchi Tent is available at major electronics stores and online shopping sites for around 10,000 yen ($92.8), only in black. Be-s can be contacted online at (https://www.be-s.co.jp/contact/agreement/user).
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