Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Kagoshima by moonlight

In the meantime, Aubrey had felt called to go to Kagoshima (just where I was heading) on Friday evening to hang out w/ our friends Erica, Masumi and Rika there, and it worked out well b/c I got there while she was still there. We enjoyed our morning alone together and then our afternoon w/ the three girls. That night, we decided to stay in a hotel near the airport (since Aub's flight back to Kikai was early the next morning and we didn't want to get up way early to catch the airport bus). We found a few hotels near the airport, called one, and made a reservation. That evening, we took the bus to the airport and then a taxi to the hotel. When we said the name of the hotel, the driver looked at us kind of funny, but took us there. We started to get a funny feeling once we drove thru a considerable grove of tall trees before we got to the hotel. The driver left us and we looked for the office for a bit, but let me tell you, the place had SHADY written all over it. Aub was like, "Alan, can we, um, not stay here?" By the time 30 seconds had passed, I was in full agreement, so we just turned around and started walking back towards the airport on an unlit street.

--Weird evening continues--

So by this time I was remembering that we had seen quite a few hotels on the Internet map, so we set off to look for one. The airport was only a mile or so from there, so it's not like we were in the middle of nowhere, but we sure felt like it! We stopped at another hotel called "Hotel J0u1r" (replace the 0 and 1 w/ "o" and "i") and I decided to take a look inside, noting only in passing that "j0u1r" in French has a highly sexual connotation. The office had a frosty window in front of the Reception and I could barely see under it by craning my head way down. The receptionist informed me that I should come back after 10 pm (it was 8 pm at this point). I argued for a moment and then turned around to rejoin Aub outside, who had already put 2 and 2 together - we were right in the middle of a "love shack" hotel district. Oops. Looking around, the way the hotels kind of hid themselves and had funky colors all over them made sense all of a sudden.


Back we went towards the airport, ducking the cars barrelling down the street, hoping they'd see us as we pulled our luggage down the unpaved shoulder of the street. Asked a restauranteur where we could get a regular hotel and she pointed us to the Airport Hotel. They wanted to charge us US$150 for a room w/ two twin beds. Thanks, buddy. Depressed, we called the only other hotel down the road, the equivalent of a Super 8 Motel, and we got a tiny smoking room w/ a double bed, a strong heating unit, and quite the tobacco scent. I was pretty ticked but couldn't figure out how to communicate in Japanese the fact that the guy had promised us a non-smoking room. Paid US$90. Life lesson was included.


Anonymous said...

You should have stayed in one of the love hotels. Love hotels are great. I've stayed in love hotels in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Sapporo. The prices tend to be cheaper than or equal to normal hotels, you always get a big bed and usually a big bathroom with a western style bathtub. Many hotels have theme rooms, and I've stayed in some that, as part of their normal fare, had free karaoke in the room, giant plasma screen TVs with free movie channels (and porn of course), and even a PS2 with games. In addition, you get all sorts of free samples of shampoo, tooth brushes, shaving lotion, and free condoms and lube in case you don't have your own. Some love hotels also have checkout times in the late afternoon, which is pure genius. Also, love hotels have been some of the cleanest places I've stayed (even in Japan, where everything is clean to begin with). Sheets have always been fresh and clean, and the mirrors on the ceiling have always been polished. The only real problem is that you can't make reservations and you usually can't go to one before 10pm. I encourage you to try one sometime.


Rhology said...

No kidding!?!?!?

Well, live and learn.
Never thought of that, but I guess that makes sense, really.
Appreciate the perspective. I must say that it would feel really creepy to stay in one of those, but given your explanation it may well be worth a shot.

Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

Why would you feel crappy? I must admit, it was a little strange when I stayed in a love hotel for the first time. I thought to myself "well, I know people have had sex here." But then you realize you're kidding yourself for pretending that people don't have sex in "normal" hotels. With a love hotel you know what you're getting, and so do the cleaning staff, so they're thorough. Love hotels can afford to have all sorts of cool stuff in their rooms and still be equal price to normal hotels because love hotels get much greater occupancy. Because love hotels have the option for an overnight stay, and also the option for a "rest" of a few hours in the afternoon, they can often get 200% occupancy in a 24 hour period. Normal hotels shoot for 75%.

Oh, and just so you know, the frosted glass at the counter is for customer privacy. Also, if two people come but one person wants to leave earlier than the other, they call the room to make sure you didn't kill the other person or tie them to the bed and take all their money. They think of everything I tell you. Shop around and enjoy!


Rhology said...

Yeah, I figured the reason for the frosted glass once I realised that it was a love hotel.

And I'm slowly getting over the creepy feelings, to be honest. :-D So you make good points.