Chapter 42:

Tokyo Part II: Chapter 37

The Kimochi Warui Diary

There was plenty to be happy about in that entire interaction, but all I could do was latch onto the failed outcome. I let contempt and indignation sour what could have been a good mood. That indignation simply made me feel like an emotional brat, upset that he didn’t get his way.Bookmark here

Outside the bar, Jotaro lit up a cigarette. Bookmark here

“How’d it go?” Bookmark here

“Not good, I guess.” I took a cigarette for myself.Bookmark here

He shrugged. “Shit’s a numbers game.”Bookmark here

On our way to the train station, Jotaro told me he tried to start a conversation with the bartender. The bartender had tattoos coming out from the sleeves of his shirt. Jotaro said they were awesome and asked where he got them.Bookmark here

The bartender replied in impeccable English:Bookmark here

“I appreciate your compliment, but do not ask me or anyone else about tattoos.” Bookmark here

“You think he was yakuza?” Jotaro asked.Bookmark here

We made it to the train station and took the escalator down to the platform. Before we could make it down, however, a big crowd of people were moving in our direction. Train attendants were waving the herd back up the escalators. Apparently, this was what closing time looked like on the subway. Bookmark here

Eri’s words suddenly returned to me:Bookmark here

“It is time for train… Do you need help getting back to your hotel?”Bookmark here

I was partially relieved—she was just looking out for us all long! So, wait, does that mean I wasn’t outright rejected?Bookmark here

“Where the hell are we staying tonight?”Bookmark here

Oh, right…Bookmark here

Jotaro spared me the verbal abuse this time. Outside the station, we broke down our options:Bookmark here

· Stay out late until morning comes (but it would be extremely painful)Bookmark here

· Walk back to Akihabara looking for hotels along the wayBookmark here

· Spend money on a taxi, get back to Akihabara, and get into that net caféBookmark here

We already knew that only one of those options was reasonable. Fortunately, there were a few taxis out front of the train station’s entrance. We jumped in the nearest one and instructed him to take us to Akihabara.Bookmark here

Our driver was a skinny and balding, middle aged man with round glasses. Card Crusher? Is that you?Bookmark here

Aside from other taxis, the streets were devoid of traffic. Our driver would coast along gently through the empty streets before abruptly hitting the brakes at a red light. Then, when they turned blue, he’d wait a couple of seconds before pouncing on the accelerator.Bookmark here

Jotaro leaned forward a bit to see what was going on.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“This guy keeps falling asleep…”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

It didn’t take long before Card Crusher had us dropped off in front of the net café.Bookmark here

Akihabara looked different at night. Without bright lights shining on them, the anime ads plastered on the buildings look tired and dull. The streets were empty aside from a few stragglers hanging around adult video stores or those stumbling home drunk. Bookmark here

We took the elevator up to the net café and approached the front desk. They gave us a laminated card, showcasing which rooms were available for rent. Bookmark here

The best rooms had reclining chairs, a TV, and plenty of space on the floor. I was ready to book them no matter the cost, but before we could say anything, the desk clerk took a dry-erase marker and crossed them out.Bookmark here

The subsequent rooms on the card declined in quality, getting smaller and smaller and featuring less amenities. He marked those off, too.Bookmark here

There was only one style of room left, and it was at the very end of the card.Bookmark here

“Only this,” he said. “One left.”Bookmark here

I sighed. Bookmark here

Jotaro said nothing.Bookmark here

“Okay… We’ll take it.” Bookmark here

We took the elevator all the way up to the very top floor. Bookmark here

When the elevator doors opened, we were immediately greeted with the stale smell of cigarette smoke. It was warm enough to make the air humid.Bookmark here

In front of the elevator, there was an ice cream machine and a soda fountain. Classical musical played softly through a radio on the counter—but for what purpose? Everyone was confined to their own “rooms.” And by rooms, I mean cubicles barely five feet tall. As we walked past them, we could easily see over them—young Japanese adult men playing video games, surfing Nico Nico Douga, or watching porn—both real and 2D. Bookmark here

Finally, we got to the cubicle marked with our number. Inserting the key felt useless, as either of us could have vaulted over the wall without effort. Bookmark here

We threw open the door and found exactly what the photograph on the laminated card suggested we would: Bookmark here

A six by six foot cubicle, lined with a vinyl cushion. One foot of that space was nearly robbed by a shelf holding a personal computer.Bookmark here

I sat down on the floor, rolled up my jacket, and stuffed it under the computer shelf. I stuck my head underneath the shelf and rested my head on the makeshift pillow. I looked up at Jotaro. He looked back without any expression.Bookmark here

“If I’m not back in an hour” he said. “Then I’ve found something else.” Bookmark here

Then he left.Bookmark here

I rolled around a bit more, trying to figure out how best to position myself. It was far too humid to leave on any clothes but my underwear. Yet, the humid air made my skin stick to the cushion. The sound of peeling flesh was audible every time I tried rolling to a better position.Bookmark here

About an hour later, just as I’d found my comfortable position, Jotaro came back. Bookmark here

Neither of us were happy to see the other.Bookmark here

Apparently, all the pod hotels in the area were full. He then watched a drunk man hassling some sober people. Before resigning himself to our fate, he smoked another cigarette.Bookmark here

Since Jotaro is taller than six feet, he had no choice but to lay in the diagonal of the cubicle. As for me, I was relegated to curling up on either side of him.Bookmark here

We tossed and turned, forced to hear the snapping sound of our skin unsticking from the cushion. Bookmark here

Just as we were getting settled, we would hear someone’s footsteps shuffling out of their cubicle and over to the soda machine.Bookmark here

Fshhhhhhhhhh. Bookmark here

If not that, then:Bookmark here

Bzzzzzzz……GUNGUNGUNGUNGUNG. Bookmark here

The ice cream machine struggling to churn out a pile of soft serve. Bookmark here

And throughout it all, the boombox in the corner continue to play classical music.Bookmark here

“There’s probably someone jacking off on the other side of our cubicle,” Jotaro said.Bookmark here

We must have slept a total of two hours.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

At around 6:00 a.m., our bodies wouldn’t let us get back to sleep. We checked out early and went back to the streets of Akihabara.Bookmark here

This Novel Contains Mature Content

Show This Chapter?

You can resume reading from this paragraph.