This is Yasu from Japan. I host a guest house in a small town which overlooks the Kanmon Strait, between Honshu and the northernmost part of Kyushu. By the way, the name of this hotel is “TOUKA(灯火)” which means “brightness of a lighthouse” in Japanese because it stands beside a small lighthouse.
The reason why I submitted an article for this project was because I really want to introduce "Dual life between Tokyo and Kanmon".
In the beginning, when I wanted to start hosting, the first location I thought of was Tokyo where I had lived and worked. Also, the Tokyo Olympics will be held there in five years. However, when I looked for a property and stayed at guesthouses all over the country, I realized that there are more guesthouses in the “region” that give unique experience than there are in cities. Of course, in terms of money, there is no doubt that the yield is better in big cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka. But, I thought to myself - “I didn't retire early for the purpose of money! If money had been the purpose, there is no doubt that I would not leave the stability of income given by a big company.”
That's why I started to search for a property nationwide, including Tokyo. However, narrowing down the selection is difficult. Looking back at the various owners, they all mentioned their love of the region which remains in my mind. Well, when I thought about the land I loved the most, it had to be my hometown, Kanmon. When I realised this, I looked for a property in my hometown when I happened to stop by on the way to a trip. I found a small house with a good view - every time I went there I felt “I want to live in such a nice place”.
This is where my “Hostings with a dual life” begins.
The dual ratio of “Tokyo: Kanmon” is about “2: 8”. There is no fixed time and timing for going back and forth.
There are three major benefits of a “dual life”.
Firstly, the benefits of living in your hometown is the relationship with my family.
Fortunately, my parents are still alive in their 80s, I can take care of them whenever they need it. At the same time, we are rebuilding our relationship with our sisters who had been estranged due to their busy lives. You can rejuvenate your cells by interacting with your family and childhood friends, while experiencing the town where you were born and raised. In western Japan, where the days are longer, working as an inn-keeper while looking at foreign ships crossing one of Japan's most famous waterways... life is so stress-free! Conversation between a local resident and foreign traveler is a pleasant stimulus that makes you feel like you are traveling in the countryside.
Second, the merit of maintaining the Tokyo base is the relationship with my child's family.
My daughter's family live in a Tokyo home so I live in a two person house-share: in Tokyo this is slightly different from a two-family house. Firstly, residents are absent 80% of the time - they do not interfere with each other's lives and help each other only when necessary. The exchange of pleasantries between two households through grandchildren is a comfortable distance; any more is not comfortable. You will never miss the chance to make friends in Tokyo. Also, I don't host during office work time, so I never touch the negative aspects of Tokyo. Besides the people who are swept away by a crowded train of suits, touching the energetic and exciting side of one of the world's largest cities in Japan is a very good stimulus for a slower rural person.
Finally, the merits of going back and forth are refreshing and encourage new discoveries.
When humans stay in the same environment for too long, they become exhausted both mentally and emotionally. I feel that my mind and body are always active by going back and forth between the stimulation of Japan's largest city and the soothing nature of the countryside. Furthermore, it is not necessary to rush these journeys as we travel by car over several days, so while traveling around we can visit the old castle, secret hot springs, fishing piers, the coast for surfing, and more. I try to purchase conversational material for hospitality. Of course, if you’re in a hurry, you can select convenient regular flights from the nearest airport. These that usual provide the first flight to and from Haneda, minimising the travelers inconvenience.
More than three years have passed since I started hosting. Some of the guests visiting my listings have traveled to various countries and towns. Even though most of my guests were foreigners, there are many people who travel around Japan other than Japanese people. We consider the role of advisor and listener as one of the basic elements of hospitality, and conversations with guests are very important. The next year's Olympics will always be a hot topic! Of course, other topics related to Tokyo are exciting, too.
Looking at the trends of guests from a different angle, I’ve observed that there are many young people coming from the large cities of their home country and that they are fighting the stressful urban life every day, the same way as our Japanese youth. A dual life seems to be the ideal lifestyles for those who are looking to find themselves through their journeys. This combined, with hosting, embrace each other curiously well. Guests who have an extraordinary interest in Japan and the region seem to feel sympathy for the traveler who goes back and forth between the city and the countryside AND continues to travel around Japan, too.
As described above, the dual life between Tokyo and Kanmon can never be said to be money-rich, but I realized that it unique for those that wish to have a life and human relation rich, second life. It really is. Just looking back to my 40’s when I was working so hard, I thought that I was spending a fulfilling daily life of trial and error. Now I’m trying to live within the journey that is close to me and to send my 50’s (and beyond), both physically and mentally on that journey.
I would be so pleased if any of the benefits of dual life mentioned above can be helpful to you.
Yasu of TOUKA
No, no, thank YOU for reading this article. It is my pleasure to share my experience with other hosts.
I've never been to Morocco, but I stayed 3 nights at Malaga long time ago, watching the other side of Gibraltar, which is Morocco and dreaming that I will visit there some day (but that dream hasn’t come true yet).
Thank you for remind me my dream of long time ago. And I hope to visit your place some day near future.
Yasu of TOUKA
Thank you for the comment!
Yes, we are on the opposite sides of the earth.
You are moving back and forth between NYC and Maine, right? 9 hours are pretty long drive, aren't they? My case, distance between Tokyo and Kitakyushu is about 1,000km (620miles). I hope that 620 miles drive in U.S. because highway in Japan is not freeway but all toll road.
Let us take care for safety driving together to enjoy happy Airbnb hosting life!
By the way, I want to try dual life in both U.S. and Japan in future!
Yasu of TOUKA
@Yasu1 Yassan - thank you for writing about your dual life - after reading I wanted to know more and Your Profile tells so much about you and your life.........I will take the liberty to copy it here for others to read about you and your hosting world. This is wonderful and helps me understand your post even better. How lovely what your guests write about you and your kind nature and spirit.
Konnichiwa Yassan, Clara
I used to be just a traveler. Now I also be a host for travelers, because I opened "TOUKA", June 2016. The Japanese word "TOUKA" means "Light from Lighthouse". I was born in this town Moji, and have moved to Tokyo, U.S. and other places. After 30 years as a company business man, I decided to come back to my original place, led by the Light (TOUKA). I've really wanted to be in this place for many years and got a great chance to open a Little Guesthouse under a little Lighthouse for tourists from all over the World. Unfortunately, there is no guidebook explaining Komorie. Even internet does not have enough info about this hideaway. So, fortunately, it is very exciting for me to show guests, various fine secret spots and activities here. Please call me "Yassan", as my friends call me.
Wow, you understand Japanese! KONNICHIWA!
Your are in Pensacola, FL, aren't you? The word, Florida, reminds me my good old days.
I used to drive to "Panama City Beach" and "Pensacola Beach" so often. Because I was living in Peachtree City and working in Newnan, GA for four years. I was there 1995-1999 and I enjoyed Atlanta Olympic Game very much! (You might see me at Popcorn Shrimp Stand near the beach in Pensacola.) So my English may have Southern accent and sorry if you feel that my English is hard to understand (smile).
(I am a Japanese “Red Neck” who is living southern part of Japan.)
I think that my experience of living/traveling U.S. helps me a lot to host various guests from various countries. Because I am doing same things which American host/owner of small hotel/B&B did for me. I have just pick very best hospitalities of each host/owner and imitate them.
Honestly speaking, I want to get hosting tips from you too. So please keep in touch!
Yasu of TOUKA
hello @Yasu1 from across the miles here in Remuera , Auckland, New Zealand.
I'm sorry I had not read your contribution to the Festival of Hospitality earlier.
It's so nice to meet you!!
How are your World Cup Rugby guest?
Have you had anyone stay from New Zealand?
It was so sad to see those sad Japanese faces on Television last night who supported the All Blacks... I crossed the fence & supported the English, shhh, don't tell those Kiwis that!
It's great for everyone to unite who enjoys their sport.
Long may we share peace, joy & happiness!!
All the best
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