One of the best things about Open, the Airbnb festival, is the opportunity to meet hosts from around the world. We met Megumi at a breakfast for Italian and Japanese hosts in Los Angeles, during the third edition of the festival. This is the second year Megumi attended Open. Her story is very special. She lives with her cheerful five year old daughter Akari in a very small village called Misashima which is two hours away from Tokyo with less than ten houses. Three years ago she decided to leave the big city behind and restore an old farmstead, that was once used to make silk fabrics, with the help of a friend. Her new house became an Airbnb listing and since then she welcomed many backpack travelers looking for an alternative way to discover Japan’s unique beauty. At first her neighbors were reluctant about the project, but when they met Megumi’s guests they opened their hearts to home sharing. They even helped her repair the house. Megumi dreamed about having a bigger family for her daughter, today they have a world family coming to visit them every week.
“Nowdays most Japanese families small, only around one or two people, but I wanted for me and my daughter to get back to those times when the entire community was there when you needed it, like one big family. My guests are like family for us; we share ideas, skills, experiences and stories with them. They are helping me raising Akari to be open minded, curious and brave”.