Tatami is the traditional way to cover floors in Japan. These mats, however, are anything but traditional. As one Twitter user put it, they're "cyber."
Recently, Japanese Twitter user Gouranga (via Togech) uploaded what looks like a traditional tea ceremony tableau, but one that's taking place on illuminated tatami. Gouranga noted that the mats seemed totally "cyber." They really do—like something out of science fiction.
Japanese tatami is not usually illuminated as such. Here's what Japanese tatami usually looks like:
In your typical Japanese house or apartment, there is at least one "Japanese room," with tatami floors. Not every home in Japan has the mats, though. Mine doesn't! Some homes have flooring or carpeting, while others are completely (or mostly) tatami.
When tatami is new, it's green. As tatami ages, it becomes yellow. Tatami smells nice!
As you can imagine, people in Japan were quite surprised to see lit-up tatami, and the photo has been retweeted well over seven thousand times.
This tatami is called "hikari tatami" ("hikari" or 光 means "light"). Translucent material is woven into the tops of the mats, and LEDs are embedded under the mats to produce the mysterious glowing effect. They've been around for the past few years, but for many people online in Japan, this is the first time they've seen the illuminated mats.
One Twitter user saw the glowing tatami at a restaurant earlier this spring.
Below, you can see the hikari tatami with the LEDs turned on and off:
According to Byoukan Sunday, the "cyber" mat teahouse is called "Shuhally." Located in Yokohama, the teahouse can be rented for around 100,000 yen (US$1,000) for the day.
This isn't your typical Japanese teahouse. The design, for which it's won an award, is far edgier than regular teahouses, which are much more subdued.
Below, you can see more examples of Hikari Tatami. Each mat costs around US$2,000. Cyber doesn't come cheap!
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