Chapter 9:

Tokyo: Chapter 5

The Kimochi Warui Diary

The Tokyo Central Youth Hostel was located on the tenth floor of a building that looked like any of the others surrounding it. We never would have found it on our own.Bookmark here

In the elevator leading up to the hostel, Jotaro said out of nowhere:Bookmark here

“That café was… Interesting.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, pretty weird, huh?” I suddenly started talking faster. “Did you see all those old salarymen in there? It’s like a hotbed for perverts. I mean, me personally, I only went because you wanted to go. And sure, getting that picture with the maid is a pretty funny souvenir, though, I guess, haha, so weird.” I looked away and avoided eye contact. Jotaro didn’t say anything. Bookmark here

The elevator doors finally opened to the tenth floor. There was a lobby with some chairs and tables. Off to the left was the front desk, where a young man stood behind the counter.Bookmark here

“A room? For tonight? He looked through some papers and clicked around on the computer. “I’m not sure, it might be pretty tight…”Bookmark here

Fortunately, he was fully fluent in English. He was actually an American citizen on extended stay in Japan. He explained that this hostel was well-known among young travelers, international students, and college graduates out exploring the world. Bookmark here

Taking another look at the lobby, I saw that one section of the wall was covered with photos of young, happy travelers.Bookmark here

Jotaro insisted on taking care of the room, so I took a seat and pulled out my phone. I connected to the hostel’s guest WiFi channel and… Finally! A WiFi connection that was actually free! The first thing I did was message my Japanese contacts:Bookmark here

Noah and Yuno. Bookmark here

I sent both of them a message, telling them I’d just got into Japan last night. I hadn’t set my phone down longer than a minute and it was already buzzing with a reply. Bookmark here

I snatched the phone, hoping that it was going to be a response from Yuno—but it was just Noah.Bookmark here

“Cool,” he said. “I can show you around Tokyo later this week.”Bookmark here

“No problem,” I said. “We’re going to use our rail pass to explore the country for the first week. We’ll be coming back to Tokyo after, and I’ll message you again.”Bookmark here

“K.”Bookmark here

Of course, I didn’t have the logistics down for how we were going to do that, but that was what Jotaro and I agreed on when we bought the rail pass.Bookmark here

The rail pass is a type of train ticket available only to tourists, issued by Japan’s largest railway company. We’ve opted for the 1-week pass, which gives us unlimited train rides for seven days. The price for that clocks in at just under $300. Compare that to the average citizen, who has to pay roughly $120 for a single ticket on the bullet train.Bookmark here

With just seven days of free train rides and two weeks total in Japan, Jotaro and I decided that the first week of Japan would be spent travelling as much as we could. That idea was enough to entice Jotaro to come along with me, but it was the extent of any actual planning I’d done up to this point.Bookmark here

“Hey.” Jotaro had come back from the front desk. He explained that the hostel didn’t take room requests under such short notice, but after telling the story of how I didn’t book any hotels for the first days of the trip, the front desk clerk felt obligated to make an exception. Th-thanks, I guess…Bookmark here

“The room won’t be ready until 6:00 p.m.” Jotaro said. “Let’s go kill time.”Bookmark here

Before disconnecting the WiFi, I checked my phone one last time to see if Yuno had even read my message—nothing yet.Bookmark here

I turned off my phone, slipped it into my backpack, and caught up to Jotaro at the elevator.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Jotaro and I wandered the streets of Tokyo, following anything that struck our curiosity. We visited a few supermarkets and convenience stores but, due to the size of our backpacks, tried to keep out of any smaller shops with delicate goods on their shelves.Bookmark here

Instead, we explored the city itself, crossing over bridges, wandering down alley ways, trying to discover secrets and novelties wherever we could.Bookmark here

For example, we learned how to get cold and hot drinks from a vending machine. Then, around 5:00 pm, we learned how to get dinner at a vending machine. Bookmark here

A vending machine restaurant, to be specific. Bookmark here

You start at the vending machine. It has a window, allowing you to see plastic replicas of the actual food you can order. The rest is simple:Bookmark here

Insert your money, press the button corresponding with your option, and get the ticket.Bookmark here

Then you open the door next to the vending machine and step into the actual restaurant. You take your ticket to the cook, you take a seat, and you wait for your number to be called.Bookmark here

We kept it simple and got a bowl of ramen—cheap and filling.Bookmark here

After the meal, we stepped outside and saw two guys smoking cigarettes. We stood there watching them for a bit. Bookmark here

“Dammit,” Jotaro said. Bookmark here

Minutes later, him and I were stepping out of a convenience store with our own pack of Seven Stars cigarettes. We lit up and took a walk down the street.Bookmark here

“These taste like shit,” Jotaro said.Bookmark here

“Same,” I replied.Bookmark here

Still, we couldn’t resist the idea of backpacking across the country with cigarettes in hand. We could even smoke inside of restaurants—who could pass that up?Bookmark here

I looked at my watch. It was finally time to go back and claim our room. Bookmark here

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We opened the door to our shared room and found eight bunks. The curtains to the window were wide open, showing off a full view of the city skyline. Bookmark here

It was a beautiful sight, but nothing compared to the feeling of finally putting down the giant backpacks we’d carried around for the last twelve hours. Bookmark here

A shower sounded like the perfect thing to end the night. But first, I had to get back on WiFi. Yuno could be waiting for me!Bookmark here

I refreshed my inbox and watched the loading icon swirl endlessly…Bookmark here

No replies.Bookmark here

I had visions of her seeing my message through the inbox preview and refusing to open it:Bookmark here

“えーマジ?Did he really think we were on that level of friendship? キモーイ! キャハハハ!”Bookmark here

I shook off the bad thoughts and got ready for the shower. I brought my toiletries into the locker room and stripped down to the essentials. Bookmark here

Then, I opened the door to the showers. And that’s when I saw it:Bookmark here

An uncircumcised penis. Bookmark here

It belonged to a blonde, blue eyed foreigner. He was incredibly fit—like a bodybuilder—and nearly as tall as Jotaro. Bookmark here

“You goin’ in the bath?” he said. “So relaxing.”Bookmark here

“Uh, actually, I was looking for a shower,” I said. I was certain the hostel would just have showers.Bookmark here

“They got showers,” he said. “You gotta use the showers to rinse off before you get in the tub. How ya like that, huh?”Bookmark here

“Oh, right. Of course, yeah, I knew that.”Bookmark here

I understood right away—this must be like an onsen!Bookmark here

Every anime fan on the planet is familiar with the onsen. You’d be hard-pressed to find an anime series that doesn’t have at least one episode where all the characters meet up at an onsen to partake in mixed-bathing shenanigans. Bookmark here

Of course, a real onsen wouldn’t actually be located inside a building. An onsen is a hot spring. What the foreigner here was referring to wasn’t the true “onsen experience” by any means, but merely a communal bath inside of the hostel—an experience that is still unique to Japan, at the very least. Bookmark here

Instead of wrapping his bath towel around his genitals, the foreigner threw it over his shoulder. He propped up one foot onto the bench, allowing his hooded manhood to dangle.Bookmark here

“You enjoyin’ Japan so far?”Bookmark here

“It’s great,” I said, trying not to make eye contact nor look in the wrong place. “Just as I expected it.”Bookmark here

“There ya go! That’s the spirit!” He gave me a slap on the back. “Well then, I’m off. I heard there’s some kind of club two blocks down. See ya ‘round.”Bookmark here

The naked foreigner slipped on a white jock strap, strutted out into the locker room, and he was gone. I never saw him again.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, I was standing there completely overdressed in t-shirt, shorts, and slippers. Bookmark here

A certain kind of envy rose up inside of me. I decided that I, too, was going to use the bath just like the Japanese intended it to be used! Bookmark here

I ripped off all my clothes, shoved them into a cubby, and pulled back the curtain to the bath.Bookmark here

At one end of the bath were curtained showers. This is where you had to do the pre-rinse. Bookmark here

On the other side was the open bath—which happened to be occupied by two small Japanese children. Bookmark here

Suddenly, all my confidence disappeared. What the hell? I don’t want to be naked in the bath with some little kids!Bookmark here

I went straight into the shower and hid myself behind the curtain. Hopefully they’d be out by the time I finished my “shower.” Bookmark here

Without thinking, I turned the shower on at full blast.Bookmark here

SHIT! It was ice cold. Bookmark here

I cowered in the corner, waiting for the warm water to kick in, but it never did. It’s possible they didn’t route any hot water to these “rinse-only” showers.Bookmark here

I peeked outside the curtain, but the Japanese kids were still in the warm bath. They’d resorted to splashing water at each other—they were in no rush to exit.Bookmark here

Shivering in the cold, I lathered soap around the most critical parts. Then I ran my body under the icy water to rinse off the soap, but I could only bear it for a few seconds.Bookmark here

I was clean enough—it was time to make my escape. I turned off the shower, wrapped the towel around my junk, and ran for the locker room.Bookmark here

The second I stepped out of the shower, my foot slipped on the tile—it nearly sent me falling on my ass. Luckily, I caught my balance.Bookmark here

Before the little Japanese boys could see me, I hightailed it around the corner and back into the locker room. There were still soap suds behind my ears and under my armpits. Bookmark here

After drying myself off, I skulked back into our shared room, climbed the bunk to my bed, and wished for the start of a new day. Bookmark here

Before going to sleep, though, I picked up my phone to see if Yuno had replied yet. Here comes more disappointment. Bookmark here

I turned on the phone, and what I saw lifted my mood completely—so much that I knew I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep. Bookmark here

I also had a new idea!Bookmark here

I leapt from my bunk bed, took my notebook and a map of Japan, and ran into the lobby.Bookmark here

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