It all started with the following trick question in the Coco’s restaurant near my house: “Thomas, how many wards does Tokyo have?”
*Thomas, proud that he could use his trivial pursuit knowledge: “But 23 of course!”
Wrong! There are 24 wards in Tokyo! Twenty three real ones, and a digital one. Since twitter boomed in Japan, a lot of Japanese have started twittering on a regular bases. And if I say regular I mean they’re pretty addicted to the medium. I must say I’m a facebook man myself, as my generation kind of automatically rolled into it. In Belgium, almost everyone of my friends has a face
book, but twittering is not (yet) a hot topic. Still, I like it. I think there is an art in expressing as much info as possible in 140 characters. Maybe I still need to get used to the whole thing. Anyhow, since it boomed in Tokyo and Japan, it wasn’t all that abnormal that certain communities emerged. And one really in depth community is the Tsubuya Ward, or in Japanese, Tsubuya Ku. It’s a pun with the Japanese verb Tsubuyaku which means “mutter, murmur”.
The people of Tsubuya Ward really tried to organize their community in terms of real life. They have a university, a railroad, a museum, etc… and try to embed a real life flow into their digital community. But the most important thing of all, they are friends who want to meet each other in real life too. Social Networking and Social Media can play an important role in your life but it should be something that assists real life. Not the other way around. That’s why Tsubuya Ward organized a meeting in the Delirium Cafe . It’s a Belgian Bar that really has established a close to authentic Belgian atmosphere. You can follow them at @Dctokyo .We were invited too! The organizers of this event are kind of Poken fans, and our tool really let’s people connect in real life, so they wanted us to join! And so we did…
The event itself was splendid. A lot of cheery faces and everybody was wildly writing and sending tweets into the world while talking to fellow Tsubuya ward “citizens”. What I felt is that they really form a tight community and put a lot of effort in it as well. Respect! The whole time a live stream was broadcast onto the world wide net. So even I got myself some 15 minutes of fame. A Big Band show brought a lot of groove into the place and the organizers were doing a kind of talk show in between. And with people using poken added to the whole scene, it was this incredible clash of social media connecting people. It actually made me tweet more actively. But beyond the technology and the gadgets and the tweeting and all the rest, just lay the simple base of it all: people drinking and talking together, having fun. That’s the zest of it all.