Before finishing off the stories of my teaching adventures in Japan, I’d be doing a disservice to my blog to not talk about one of the most interesting parts of life in Japan: love hotels. Note to readers: if you were expecting pictures you will be disappointed – this isn’t that type of blog.
Japan is a densely populated country with living spaces that would be considered “small” by North American standards. Also, it’s not uncommon for older relatives to be living with the children’s families. This creates a situation where privacy for some, um… quality time with your significant other is not always easy to come by. The same problems exist for English teachers, who often live in small apartments together where you can hear almost everything that is going on even behind closed doors.
Fortunately Japan has a solution for the lack of privacy: love hotels! They are specifically designed as a place where people can go for some intimate time together. Rooms are available for a “rest”, usually 2-3 hours, or a “stay” which lasts overnight.
The typical love hotel room is MUCH bigger than a regular hotel room. Love hotel rooms are also more fun, featuring bigger beds, adjustable music and mood lighting, and extras like video games, karaoke machines or even tanning beds. The bathrooms contain nice deep tubs big enough for two, usually with jets. Due to the purpose of the rooms, you will always find condoms, a sex toy vending machine, and 3 channels of free porn on the TV. Be warned: one of these channels is usually terrifying ( depending on your personal tastes).
Love hotels are also built for privacy: check in can be done without any face to face communication. Food can be ordered from nearby restaurants and the delivery comes through a tiny door in the wall. I have even seen love hotels where each parking spot has it’s own entrance to the rooms.
Overall, love hotels rooms are bigger, better, and more comfortable than regular hotel rooms, often at a lower price. If you’re for a fun cultural experience in Japan, or you don’t want your roommates to listen in, I highly recommend taking a rest at a love hotel* – they’re fantastic!
* You will need to provide your own partner
After a few weeks of trying to decide which of my things were going to stay in Japan and which things I wanted to bring back to Canada, I have ended up with 5 boxes of stuff to send and my 2 giant suitcases to accompany me on the flight.
About a month ago, my mother and sister started apartment hunting for me in Winnipeg. Vacancies are usually pretty low, so it took them a while to find a nice, spacious 1 bedroom apartment in Osborne Village, the same neighbourhood I lived in before I moved to Japan. The area is filled with cool stores and restaurants all within walking distance, and is served by several bus routes. Having a place to live also means that I have a place to mail my boxes.
There was no way I could get 5 boxes to the post office by myself. Thankfully, my helpful future father-in-law had the day off and gave me a ride. He waited patiently while I filled out the parcel forms several times. The one thing I wasn’t prepared for was the customs forms where I had to list all of the contents of each box. This took a little memory work, a little unpacking, and a lot of time. In total it cost me 40,000 yen to ship my stuff home (about $400). Ouch!
Shop sensibly when living overseas for a few years – you’ll thank me later.
Packing with a hangover also sucks.
Tonight was my “unofficial” farewell party. For those who haven’t been following the blog, when a teacher relocates to another part of Japan or moves home they often get two farewell parties: the “official” party which is attended by teachers and staff, and the “unofficial” party which is attended by teachers and students.
Azeroth took charge of organizing the party, inviting students from the two branches that I worked at in the area, Numazu and Mishima. The turnout was really impressive! We started off our evening at an izakaya and then ended up going to the second party at karaoke. The whole evening was a lot of fun, and I’m happy that I got one last chance to say goodbye and make everyone listen to my terrible singing.
After failing to make any progress on packing today, I gave up and decided to go hang out at Koalako’s apartment.
A few months ago, Koalako moved into an apartment with some NOVA teachers. If interacting with students outside of the classroom is not allowed, sharing an apartment must be ultra prohibited, although I’m not sure how much authority they have to tell teachers where they can and can’t live.
The apartment was nice and pretty spacious for a Japanese apartment. Everything looked pretty typical, except the toilet room (in Japan the toilet and bath are often in separate rooms). This is the one room where Koalako really got to express herself, making the entire room pink to annoy her roommates.
I hung out with Koalako and roommates, enjoying some food and beer. Our gathering managed to attract a few more teachers from the area. One of the new arrivals had just returned from Australia, so they brought over some wine. It was my first time to drink wine from Australia – it was dangerously delicious. They also brought one of Australia’s most famous (infamous) foods – Vegemite, which was dangerously NOT delicious. I seriously don’t know how people eat that stuff.
Another fun evening in Numazu – I’m really going to miss this when I move home!
I can’t believe there is only one week left before I leave Japan and move back to Canada! I decided that I should probably start doing some serious packing during the day.
Fighting procrastination as hard as I could, I actually made some progress during the day. It’s important to reward yourself for hard work, so I spent my evening enjoying a Trailer Park Boys marathon with Super Dave. Before we started, we walked to the nearby Don Quixote to stock up on beer, cheese, and salty snacks. Good times!
Tonight I made another important stop on my farewell tour – Gotenba Kogen Brewery with my roommates.
For those who haven’t been reading my blog, Gotenba Kogen Brewery is a brewery and buffet restaurant located at a resort on the side of Mt. Fuji. They offer a 90 minute all you can eat all you can drink experience for about $30. It’s pretty much one of the happiest places on earth!
To fully take advantage of the 90 minutes of feasting, you really need to plan in advance. Azeroth loves beer, so he spent most of his 90 minutes refilling his beer mug. Klaxman doesn’t drink, so he spent most of his 90 minutes refilling his plate. I managed to find a nice balance that left me both slightly drunk and wishing I had worn sweat pants. So good!