After catching up on some work and admin, I was invited to join a meeting over at KOIL, the Kashiwa no ha Open Innovation Lab. It’s part venture arm, part coworking space, part office rental, and it’s been operational just since April 2014. As we went on a tour, it quickly became apparent that it’s all a very high-end, professional affair that incorporates the flexibility as well as the look & feel of grass roots spaces like Berlin’s Betahaus, but supported by a serious budget. The pretty well-equipped in-house workshop space is a good indication.
But of course, as much as I like to visit office spaces, the most important thing was to meet the KOIL team, including a few very high-ranking members of the management, who took the time to chat, give feedback to one of our tour member’s hardware prototype, and to discuss potential further collaborations.
Since the conversation took us well into the evening, a few of us just wrapped up the Friday night with a short trip to Akihabara, aka gadget & game central of Tokyo, where we had ramen followed by a few rounds of games at one of the larger arcades as well as photo booths. When we came back out into the street, I could hardly believe just how quiet the city seemed in comparison to the deafening soundscape inside the arcade.