LOS ANGELES, CA
Public transportation might not be the most reliable, it is one of the most effective forms to get to know the city and its people. Busses usually have bad raps for carrying bums and degenerates, but really, it carries everyone who can’t drive (i.e. the elderly and grade school children), or doesn’t want to drive (i.e. urban commuters, bicyclists, me).
Getting off the bus into Little Tokyo, I ran into Angel. She had been left by her husband, needed money for meds because she had an infection, and was [supposedly] pregnant. I couldn’t exactly make out her injury, but at one point I thought I could see straight through to her bones. I sympathized even more because she’s from Fountain Square in Indianapolis (just a bridge away from The Bureau, where I’m writing this now).
The thing about “bums and degenerates” is that they know their areas very well. Since I apparently can’t use [Google] maps, I threw Angel a $10 which I used to comfort my conscience, and for her to show me where I was going. How pretentious of me to think she didn’t know where I’d be talking about, because as soon as I said “Opodz” instead of “an office”, she immediately took me straight to the front door!
Opodz is fairly new, as well as the developments in and around Little Tokyo. In a lot of ways, Opodz reminded me of BoxJelly – our space size is about the same, number of members is about the same, and we even have some of the same bottles of scotch in our bars. But something Opodz is already experiencing that BoxJelly hasn’t yet is residential development. Because we’re in Kaka’ako, a redeveloping urban district of Honolulu, our neighbors are all businesses. There are some residences (a condo., an old folks home, and a homeless shelter), with more on the way (luxury high-rise condos), but seeing how Opodz was trying to build community made me wonder what’s in store as our neighborhood changes.
I got the same feeling as I did with NextSpace, in that Opodz was very neighborhood oriented. Lots of their members and inquiries come from people who live in Little Tokyo. They set up cafe seating outside, and offer free space for local artists to feature their work – such gallery space is not common in LA. But for being the new kid on the block, all their reserved desks were filled, their open desks were active, and there are a number of discounts that their members had to neighboring businesses. Looks like I have get on my neighborhood relations game once I get back!
Click on the pictures below for commentary descriptions!
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