Andrew’s world in Japan

Andrew Artist & researcher based in KL since 2009, passionately exploring

A couchsurfer sakura gathering Nagoya

A couchsurfer sakura gathering Nagoya

 

the creativprocess &connecting with other creative people.

 Couchsurfi ng Lifestyle. A Tokyo Gathering. part 2

During a particularly extensive travel period in 2009, I utilized the Couchsurfi ng platform the most. Every few days it would be a new town with fresh faces. Often, even if there was not a couch available, friendly folks would arrange meet-ups, picnics and other informal gatherings. One of the most engaging sakura season picnics occurred in Nagoya with possibly 100 CS members. Initially, I tested it in Tokyo, a notoriously diffi cult location to fi nd hosts, even from your own friends, because most apartments are small and cramped. But they defi nitely hosted a lot of different kinds of

Couchsurfer dinner meet-up Tokyo

Couchsurfer dinner meet-up Tokyo

gatherings. One in particular was at a common area of Sakura Hotel Annex in Tokyo. About nine of us showed up and had a vigorous c o n v e r s a t i o n that hit on topics ranging from culture and r e l a t i o n s h i p s to politics and travel. Maybe that lasted a good three to four hours. Email addresses were exchanged and general basic connections were made.

Jumping six months or so into the future, wandering back lanes of Kuta Beach in Bali, completely cloaked in protection from the hefty sun, I hear someone say ‘Andrew, Andrew Crum?’ This fellow just passed me and recognized me somehow. He’d been one of the ‘couchsurfers’ I’d met that night in Tokyo. He was in Bali recording music and busking in the streets. We hung out the next few days, exchanging stories of our travels, best places we’d visited and various plans. The open community based mentality of collaborative consumption enabled this.

Of course awkward and even dangerous situations can and do occur. It’s a matter of taking that time

A couchsurfer sakura gathering Kyoto

A couchsurfer sakura gathering Kyoto

to investigate and establish trust. With any platform or community you can fi nd those who misuse and abuse. I hold out faith that the positive human nature will prevail. These experiences are a special and positive way to bond with our global community. We’re all essentially travelers in the end, temporarily in this time and space.

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