In my last article, working remotely without a coworking space in Tokyo, Japan. I mentioned that when moving to a new location, the cafe / coffee shop culture is extremely important.
If you have been following me long, this is not what I typically focus on. I generally always want to work out of coworking and shared workspaces. The community aspect, the people, and the consistency of a shared workspace are crucial for bringing me peace and allowing me to be my most productive.
However, when it comes down to it, the only thing that I truly need to operate my business remotely is a WIFI connection and power. Without that, my ability to communicate and work on most development tasks goes down to zero.
Coffee shops have always been to me a safe haven when the internet goes down, I need a change in location, or am moving too quickly to be able to make a connection to work out of a local space.
That is single handedly why I like Starbucks. Hard to believe I am saying this…
I don’t necessarily go for the coffee as I like to support more local and sustainable organizations, however, the fact that they have internet in every single location across the world is amazing. During my time in Germany, I went to Frankfurt for a few days. For its size, it has to be one of the hardest places to find quality internet. I even tried to go to a local cafe and the internet tanked about 30 minutes in. I quickly packed up and walked across the street to the Starbucks where I had a drink and was online within a few minutes.
While I was in Japan, the first coffee shop that I went to was a Starbucks in an area of Tokyo, Japan called Ginza. It actually had a Reserve Bar with beer and wine which was really interesting. However, the important part is that even though I was on the other side of the world, I was able to find a seat, open up my laptop and get connected within a few minutes.
What I also came to discover is that their are some more unique cafes that I hadn’t seen before. Basically they worked like the following:
- Show up at the cafe and pay for a set amount of time (half day or full day are fairly common)
- Drinks and small snacks are included
- Wifi is included
- Pick a seat and get to work
I imagine that these were started to fill the need of what coffee shops can offer but were more focused on people trying to get work done. They were generally quiet, the wifi was stronger, and most importantly in a city such as Tokyo, there was space to have a phone call or meet with someone without bothering others. Space is at such a premium that it can be a challenge to go really anywhere besides your home or office where you aren’t closely packed next to someone else.
Without these types of spaces and cafes or coffee shops, my first month in Japan would have been much more difficult. I wouldn’t have been able to create the balance I wanted between work and life. I explored the city each day and when I was done walking around, I popped into a local cafe to get some work done before the true day started for me at 10 PM at night in Tokyo or 8 AM EST in the US.
A few weeks into my time in Japan, I scheduled a trip to Okinawa for a holiday and to work. What I was about to find out is using AirBnb to find a space with WIFI that will have enough bandwidth and strength is definitely an art form.
Looking forward to it!
If you were wondering when I am going to cover the coworking spaces in Tokyo and Japan, that is on its way. Don’t worry. I needed to find my legs while being in Japan first before I explored the coworking and shared workspace industry in Japan.
What do you think of working in a coffee shop or cafe? Do you often spend time in these places or are you, such as me, more interested in working in coworking spaces? Tell me about it here.