Tucked away in the backstreets of Osaka’s Nishinari Ward is a guest house and cafe called Cocoroom. The building itself is a multicolored beacon to anyone looking for a friendly place to have a meal.

Inside, the shelves, walls and ceiling are lined with books, photos, art and lines of poetry — an almost overwhelming barrage of creativity. The staff and guests are gathered in the back kitchen and dining areas, chatting and preparing for the evening’s “makanai gohan,” a communal meal that will start at 6 p.m. sharp.

On the night I am visiting, dinner is being prepared by a legally blind actress who cooks here once a week simply because she loves feeding people. On other nights, members of the staff and volunteers take turns cooking.