Chapter 37:

Tokyo Part II: Chapter 32

The Kimochi Warui Diary

The Japanese salaryman had one hand in the leather strap attached to the train car’s ceiling, and the other hand wrapped around the handle of his briefcase. The weight of his body swung limply with the movements of the train.Bookmark here

His drowsy face rose to meet ours, only mere inches apart.Bookmark here

“You ever experience it?” he asked. “This kind of Japan?”Bookmark here

Even if we wanted to back away, we couldn’t. The train was packed full of workers, students, housewives, and even some foreigners sprinkled here and there.Bookmark here

The train slowed to a halt. When the doors opened, more people poured in, forcing everyone to shuffle in even closer together. Bookmark here

“It’s a new experience,” Jotaro replied. Bookmark here

The salaryman let out a solitary chuckle. He seemed completely detached from the situation—either through the effects of alcohol, a long day in the office, or some combination of both.Bookmark here

The doors near us began to close, but then we heard a feminine yelp. The doors opened right back up again.Bookmark here

We turned toward the nose and saw a short girl—a foreigner—being shoved further into the crowd of passengers.Bookmark here

“Hah,” Jotaro laughed. “Her ass got squished in the door.”Bookmark here


The Japanese salaryman cackled, his eyes wide with pure madness. But then, he abruptly stopped and regained his sleepy composure. Bookmark here

“Tonight,” he said. “Very special night. I feel it.”Bookmark here

Our hotel was slated to be a quick walk from the train station, less than five minutes by foot. Fortunately, we had gotten off around 11:15. This gave us plenty of time to spare.Bookmark here

We followed my phone’s GPS through dimly lit Japanese streets. We turned a corner and, at the end of the street, saw a slender Japanese woman wearing a black coat. Her long hair flowed behind her as she paced slowly down the street. Bookmark here

As we passed, she coolly looked us up and down without turning her head. She gave us a smirk of approval.Bookmark here

「かわいい、ね?」Bookmark here

It was awfully forward of her to call us cute. What the hell was that about? Bookmark here

Then, just a couple meters further down the road, a short Japanese man appeared.Bookmark here

“Hey! You! You want sekkusu? Six thousand yen!”Bookmark here

We kept walking without acknowledging either of them, and soon enough, we arrived at the hotel. Bookmark here

I gave my name and ID card to the hotel clerk behind the glass window. They spent a few minutes looking through the computer.Bookmark here

“We don’t have it,” the clerk said.Bookmark here

Maybe they spelled the name wrong, or something? I fished through my confirmation emails to show them proof of the reservation. Bookmark here

After finding the email from the hotel I booked this morning, I slid the phone under the window to the clerk.Bookmark here

“No. This wrong.”Bookmark here

I looked at the email again, and that’s when it hit me.Bookmark here

“What the fuck did you do this time?” Jotaro asked.Bookmark here

I reluctantly explained the situation: Bookmark here

I’d gotten the confirmation emails mixed up. The hotel we just arrived at was the “bedbugs hotel” that I cancelled this morning. The hotel we were actually supposed to go to was in another town. Bookmark here

I was anticipating Jotaro’s purple aura of death to enshroud us—but there was none. He simply said:Bookmark here

“You really shit the bed on this one.”Bookmark here

The end of check-in was fast approaching, and the trains would be closing even sooner. We tightened the straps on our backpacks and hurried back to the station.Bookmark here

On the train station platform, I saw a Japanese kid who looked just a few years younger than me. He had thick rimmed glasses, a guitar case, and Snoopy t-shirt. Bookmark here

With no time left to fuck around or be self-conscious, I nervously belted out my best Japanese:Bookmark here

「このでんしゃはうぐいすだににいきますか?」Bookmark here

He replied with a string of Japanese words that I couldn’t keep up with, but I remembered sensei’s lesson: Bookmark here

Always listen for the verb. Bookmark here

I heard the verb for “to go” in the positive form. Combined with his positive body language, I could tell we were in the clear.Bookmark here

The train pulled up a few minutes later, and I even saw him look over to make sure that we were getting on.Bookmark here

It was just the three of us in the train, standing next to each other in silence.Bookmark here

Why hadn’t I been trying to make friends with any Japanese guys? Was there a reason I was so fixated on girls that I couldn’t just chill and try chatting with some guy in a Snoopy shirt?Bookmark here

We made it to the right station and, as we left, the Japanese kid was giving us another sincere look: Bookmark here

“You got it from here?” he seemed to ask.Bookmark here

I told him ありがとう and waved goodbye. He waved back and went on his separate way.Bookmark here

In reality, things had just gotten worse—but it was nothing a Japanese speaker would have been able to help us with.Bookmark here

“There’s something else…” I showed Jotaro the map on my phone’s GPS. He said nothing, likely to save me the trouble of being scolded again.Bookmark here

The map said it would take nearly twenty minutes to walk to the hotel. But our deadline for checkout was fast approaching—within the next ten minutes.Bookmark here

“So, the bedbugs place didn’t even have a vacancy?”Bookmark here

“It was full.”Bookmark here

That was a lie. I hadn’t thought to ask.Bookmark here

I did a quick sweep of the area. Around the corner, I saw bright lights. I ran over to see what it was, and I discovered that we were in luck—there were several hotels conveniently grouped together.Bookmark here

Once again, we found ourselves being rejected at every hotel. Bookmark here

The first hotel told us いっぱい—“full.”Bookmark here

The next one gave us the “No” symbol—arms crossed into an X. This hotel clerk hadn’t even given me a chance to ask. Are we being mistaken for a couple again?Bookmark here

The other thing these hotels had in common was their strange aesthetic, such as decorating their entrances with imitation marble statues of cherubs. Well, with so many hotels all in the same area, I figured they were just doing it for competition.Bookmark here

The fourth hotel had me getting desperate. I asked the front-desk obaasan for the room, but before she could give me a real response, I laid on the desperation:Bookmark here

“Please, we just need somewhere to stay. I had to cancel a hotel and we have nowhere else to go.” Bookmark here

I pointed at our backpacks, trying to express that we were backpacking and travelling together. Bookmark here

“We’re brothers, by the way.”Bookmark here

The obaasan pursed her lips and took a few seconds to think. She shook her head slowly as if to say, “I really shouldn’t be doing this,” but then she pulled out a keycard for us. Bookmark here

I thanked her profusely and paid her with no regard to the cost. We took the elevator up to our room, slid the keycard in the door, and opened it. Bookmark here

After we saw what was in the room, it all started coming together—the reason why everyone was so against letting us stay in their hotels.Bookmark here

Our bed was circular, decorated with heart shaped pillows and covered with red sheets. A projector from the corner of the room beamed bouncing, heart shaped spotlights on the wall. A sensual saxophone solo played from a speaker above the bed.Bookmark here

Jotaro picked up something that was waiting for us on the nightstand. Bookmark here

“What the fuck…” Bookmark here

It was a condom.Bookmark here

We ignored the generous accommodations and treated it like any other room. We even used the shower—something we hadn’t been able to do properly at the various hostels across Japan’s countryside. All in all, it was a pretty nice room. Bookmark here

My last thought, before drifting off to sleep, was that I could finally tell my friends I had stayed in one of Japan’s famous love hotels. Bookmark here

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