Tokyo’s Suginami Ward is making a name for itself as an area where senior citizens can meet at least once a month and chat over a cup of coffee, tea or cocoa at a private home or assembly hall converted into a makeshift cafe by volunteers.

Five such cafes, named “kizuna (bonding) salons” because they are designed to promote bonds of friendship, were operating in the ward as of October, according to the Suginami Ward social welfare council. Three more are expected to open by April.

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