My parents and I spent our afternoon exploring the magnificent Himeji Castle, and then headed to Osaka to check into our hotel. I had booked us rooms in the Park Hotel Rinkai, an inexpensive business hotel where I had stayed last year. It’s not the fanciest hotel, but it’s centrally located and inexpensive.
Park Hotel Rinkai is easily accessible from two different stations on the Osaka subway. The problem is that I couldn’t remember which exit to use, and we ended up wandering around for some time trying to find our way with street maps, my fuzzy memory, and some good old fashioned guessing.
We did eventually find the hotel, and checked in at the same time as a large group of middle aged Asian women. After checking in, we jammed into a tiny elevator filled with short, chatty women. We were at the back wall of the elevator, so I needed someone to press the buttons for us.
“すみません、１０回のブタンを押してください” (Please push the button for 10th floor) I said politely. This got no reaction. Figuring that they might not have heard me over their conversation I repeated myself slightly louder and more clearly. The woman closest to the elevator turned to me and responded in English “Sorry, not Japan, Korea. Korea.”
I responded with the only phrase I know in Korean. “Annyeong haseyo! (Hello) Please push 10”. This got the desired response, and a good laugh from the Korean ladies in the elevator.
I had tried to warn my parents that the hotel rooms were going to be small. I think they were expecting Canada small and not Japan small. They were shocked to see the tiny rooms that I had booked us into. Their room had two single beds (my dad snores like a rusty chainsaw), with barely enough room for their tiny suitcases. My room was so small that the three of us could barely fit inside at the same time, and we are all small people!
I remembered the hotel being fairly quiet the last time, however I didn’t have a tour bus full of excited middle aged women on vacation staying there at the time. Our fellow guests were up late chatting, singing, and generally enjoying themselves. I have now added “middle aged Korean women” to my list of fun people to party with in the future.