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.
In the elevator leading up to the hostel, Jotaro said out of nowhere:
“That café was… Interesting.”
“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.
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.
“A room? For tonight? He looked through some papers and clicked around on the computer. “I’m not sure, it might be pretty tight…”
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.
Taking another look at the lobby, I saw that one section of the wall was covered with photos of young, happy travelers.
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:
Noah and Yuno.
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.
I snatched the phone, hoping that it was going to be a response from Yuno—but it was just Noah.
“Cool,” he said. “I can show you around Tokyo later this week.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
“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…
“The room won’t be ready until 6:00 p.m.” Jotaro said. “Let’s go kill time.”
Before disconnecting the WiFi, I checked my phone one last time to see if Yuno had even read my message—nothing yet.
I turned off my phone, slipped it into my backpack, and caught up to Jotaro at the elevator.
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.
Instead, we explored the city itself, crossing over bridges, wandering down alley ways, trying to discover secrets and novelties wherever we could.
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.
A vending machine restaurant, to be specific.
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:
Insert your money, press the button corresponding with your option, and get the ticket.
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.
We kept it simple and got a bowl of ramen—cheap and filling.
After the meal, we stepped outside and saw two guys smoking cigarettes. We stood there watching them for a bit.
“Dammit,” Jotaro said.
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.
“These taste like shit,” Jotaro said.
“Same,” I replied.
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?
I looked at my watch. It was finally time to go back and claim our room.
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.
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.
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!
I refreshed my inbox and watched the loading icon swirl endlessly…
I had visions of her seeing my message through the inbox preview and refusing to open it:
“えーマジ？Did he really think we were on that level of friendship? キモーイ！ キャハハハ！”
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.
Then, I opened the door to the showers. And that’s when I saw it:
An uncircumcised penis.
It belonged to a blonde, blue eyed foreigner. He was incredibly fit—like a bodybuilder—and nearly as tall as Jotaro.
“You goin’ in the bath?” he said. “So relaxing.”
“Uh, actually, I was looking for a shower,” I said. I was certain the hostel would just have showers.
“They got showers,” he said. “You gotta use the showers to rinse off before you get in the tub. How ya like that, huh?”
“Oh, right. Of course, yeah, I knew that.”
I understood right away—this must be like an onsen!
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.
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.
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.
“You enjoyin’ Japan so far?”
“It’s great,” I said, trying not to make eye contact nor look in the wrong place. “Just as I expected it.”
“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.”
The naked foreigner slipped on a white jock strap, strutted out into the locker room, and he was gone. I never saw him again.
Meanwhile, I was standing there completely overdressed in t-shirt, shorts, and slippers.
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!
I ripped off all my clothes, shoved them into a cubby, and pulled back the curtain to the bath.
At one end of the bath were curtained showers. This is where you had to do the pre-rinse.
On the other side was the open bath—which happened to be occupied by two small Japanese children.
Suddenly, all my confidence disappeared. What the hell? I don’t want to be naked in the bath with some little kids!
I went straight into the shower and hid myself behind the curtain. Hopefully they’d be out by the time I finished my “shower.”
Without thinking, I turned the shower on at full blast.
SHIT! It was ice cold.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before going to sleep, though, I picked up my phone to see if Yuno had replied yet. Here comes more disappointment.
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.
I also had a new idea!
I leapt from my bunk bed, took my notebook and a map of Japan, and ran into the lobby.