‘Couch-surfing’ not for the fearful

Yakushima, Kagoshima

What makes the Feb. 5 travel article “Yakushima free-stay takes some fearful turns” so special is that the place is so far from Tokyo that even The Japan Times sends a reporter here only when the trip is sponsored, and apparently has to rely on “freeters” to come up with something out of the ordinary.

After reading the article, I did not ask myself if the author inhaled, but rather how he responded to his adolescent host, who obviously wanted to show off to his gaijin guests.

“Couch-surfing” rule No. 1: If you don’t like it, walk away! There are all sorts of accommodations on Yakushima for its more than 300,000 visitors per year. No need to stay in unwanted places.

There are, for example, two youth hostels on the island. (That’s a franchise system that’s been going on for over 100 years now.) You don’t have to be GI Joe to be a couch-surfer, but as the name suggests, it is young and experimental. So, if you are the fearful type, it would be better to stay on the beaten track.

May I add that I was a couch-surfing host on Yakushima a few years back and have since converted to a camping site and a sort of backpacker accommodation. I would not want to miss my hosting experience of some 30 parties. That experience would make material for a few specials in The Japan Times, to be sure, although I would rather talk about producing my own electricity for more than 10 years now, and living comfortably with it.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

rainer kaminski