Impact Hub Kyoto is an intense choice for CIP, make no mistake. The organisers,
since day one, have referred to us as interns, and it’s an accurate designation.
Impact Hub is no minimal-effort choice, but I’ve never been one to pick the
If I had one fewer draw on my attention, then I would have been able to give as
much of my time as Impact Hub initially wanted. They asked for three hours of
work and one long hour of check-in meeting a week, plus regular attendance and
assistance at events. And I would have given it all, too; Hub is a cool
organization building the right kind of community and encouraging the right kind
of innovative-slash-disruptive ventures. As it turned out, after a near
thirty-hour weekly commitment to Japanese class, two arduous afternoon classes,
and an understandable desire to form meaningful personal relationships in this
new country, I only had two hours a week to spare. To see it written makes it
look like very little, but it was enough time each week to finish a draft of my
flyer template which I would receive comments on the following week.
More than just being an interesting project, however, Hub is a great place to
meet friendly, interesting people. The space, a cool retrofitted Noh Theatre,
encourages collaborative work and conversation, and there were always a few
members milling about. Impact Hub members are by their nature fascinating
people: artists, activists, academics, and entrepreneurs, and at events or
during the afternoon, conversation was always engaging.
However, either Hub is not really a characteristically Japanese organisation, or
Japanese organisations aren’t really that different from American ones. (I’m
inclined to think that it’s certainly not the second option.) Impact Hub
encourages individual creativity and emotional honesty, and a number of the
members’ English was better than all of our Japanese. This made Hub a
comfortable place to work, certainly, but I recognise that that aspect runs
contrary to the goals of the CIP.
Impact Hub Kyoto is not the CIP for everyone. In fact, it wasn’t the CIP for
everyone, and some found others after a few weeks. But I found it a valuable