Rules for a playful welcome

Today marks the fourth day of our Playable City Tokyo lab on the theme of ‘the creative welcome’. The participants have split into three mixed groups and have began to create rule sets for a truly welcoming Playable City Experience. The group discussions have prompted fascinating exchange between the UK and Japanese participants as they seek to translate concepts. Language – which could have been a barrier has turned into a catalyst – the groups have to really explain clearly to each other what they mean, prompting richer discussion than may have happened in a group using the assumptions of a shared culture. 

Rules for a playful welcome by Fred, Jinki, Saaya, Vassy

  1. It should be personal
  2. It should have the properties of a gentle and natural guide… It should make people comfortable – like entering a room and knowing where to sit because of the placement of a Tatami mat. This makes for a comfortable welcome
  3. It should be caring – experiences in Japan feel like people have really thought about what you need and what you might feel –  this is exemplified by the care that is put into the exchanging of gifts.
  4. Translating culture – some people want noisy places, but Japan has a lot of contemplative spaces. How do we value these quiet places? How do we understand that elaborate welcomes don’t always need a response – “they are just what Japanese people do”?
  5. It should celebrate the ‘craziness of Japan’ – a place where nothing is impossible and there is a range of devotions practiced by Japanese people in huge depth.

Rules for a playful welcome by Nikki, Shiho, Vahakn, Seiichi

It will contain:

  1. Exchange – (this could mean a physical exchange of an object or an emotional exchange – where you give something of yourself
  2. Triangulation – where a third entity (an object….) acts as a catalyst for connection between two strangers
  3. Softness of mood or infrastructure or texture – like the slippers provided for visitors at the Rhizomatiks studio – a perfect welcome in a potentially intimidating space
  4. Full of empathy and care – (not about being careful to avoid something negative but as an invitation to do something positive)
  5. Permission and empowerment


Asobe gokoro – to have a playful state of mind

Rules for a playful welcome by Yoshi, Daichi, Becca, Sashimi

Our welcome will…

  1. Be open, interactive and will involve many different people
  2. Be colourful and rhythmic
  3. Be silly (in a positive sense)… It will create a playful mind.
  4. Help you feel at ease in public, it will help you be yourself, it will help break down barriers between the person being welcomed and the person welcoming
  5. Smell good. If a place smells good in Japan it is a sign that it is appropriately managed (time and thought invested), that it is and cared for, thought about…