I have always wanted to visit Japan. What’s not to like about a nation obsessed with robots, video games, manga, anime, and an unhealthy interest in school girl uniforms? Nothing. Exactly.
Our story began in Tokyo. Contrary to what we had been led to believe, upon arrival we found Tokyo was very much still standing, with no signs of attacks by Godzilla, angels or fish. Shame.
Arriving after dark, the first thing on our agenda was to find a place to sleep. Rock & roll! Luckily for you, even sleeping is awesome in Japan. Welcome to Japanuary Episode I (don’t worry, I guarantee it will be better than The Phantom Menace): Places to sleep.
1. Love hotels. Accommodation is expensive in Japan so people often live with their parents for longer than is healthy. What do you do if you want to get down & dirty without banging the headboard against mum & dad’s bedroom wall? Go to a love hotel. Here’s why: They are one of the cheapest places to stay; you can rent them by the hour or night; they are very discreet – the staff interact with you only through frosted glass; and they come with amazing extras. Want a Jacuzzi? Easy. Hello Kitty bondage theme more your thing? Dude, it’s Japan. One of the love hotels we stayed in came with costumes, Sony Playstation & games rental, and room service curry. There are no more beautiful words in the English language. Why don’t I live here?
2. Manga kissa. The cheapest sleeps in town are manga coffee shops, which have booths that they rent out again by the hour (although normally by single males rather than dodgy couples), or by the night. They come with a different suite of freebies – computers, internet, “literature” (see below), and – amazingly – beverages and ice cream. WIN!
3. Trains. If you are going somewhere you may as well do it overnight and bag a free night’s accommodation. They may look a bit like gypo caravans but its worth it.
4. Capsule hotels. The rumours are true – you can sleep in a glorified dog kennel – but it helps to have balls. Not because it’s hardcore, just because Japan is a bit sexist. We tracked down one of the few capsule hotels in Japan that welcome ovary-bearers. Albeit on different floors. Progress & all that.
5. Ryokan. The motherload of sleeping awesomeness. It’s what people did before modern western hotels and the internet arrived. Sleep on the floor; have long, hot baths; wear bitching robes; and eat awesome food till it comes out of your ears. Happy days.
6. Boring normal places. Hotels & shit. Sometimes even in Japan reality deals you a swift kick in the balls and you have to stay somewhere normal. The best one was when our Overlord, Russell, generously bought us a night in a 5-star hotel. If only they offered more costumes and curry etc I could have lived there too.
Tune in soon for Japanuary Episode II: Robots!