Wednesday, 6 June 2012


It is never easy finding one's way around Japan. Even a small train station such as Kanda had me totally confused every time I exited it. Streets run off in a minimum of three directions on each side of the tracks. June 1, 2012 we got off at Shinjuku station and proceeded to look for the Urban Hotel where we were meeting Yayoi's sister and husband. Of course we had to ask for help a few times including the ever helpful Koban (small police station) police. Finally we saw the Urban up the street. Since we were meeting Yayoi's sister here, the front desk upgraded Yayoi and I to a tenth floor suite (only 2 rooms on this floor) at no extra charge. Unbelievable! This suite was equivalent in size to many Canadian bungalow main floors. It had 3 bedrooms, a bath, a cleanup room including full laundry setup, a full kitchen, dining room, ladies powder room, office area and toilet. There were no tatami rooms, but it did have a standard Japanese entry way or "genkan" to leave one's shoes.
At the entrance to the hotel was a freestanding chart of rates including the three hour rate. Hmmmm? If you turned to the right as you left the hotel you were soon in an area of clubs, bars and people on street not in the best condition, for example, drug induced. If you turned to the left at the hotel you found yourself in an upscale shopping area, although probably not as upscale as that found on the other side of the tracks at Shinjuku station.
We found a quiet treed walkway which meandered along behind the businesses to the right of the hotel. At least two homeless people were napping here and one area obviously reserved as the night time quarters of someone.
The next day the two sisters and husbands got in a taxi and headed off to the Keio Plaza Hotel on the other side of the tracks where we would be celebrating the award Yayoi's brother Tsutomu received late last year, organized by his university colleagues. I suspect had we stayed the night there we could have paid three to four times the Urban Hotel rates.
Anyway the photographs are a contrast between a small businessman's hotel room where the bathroom sink hangs over the bath and the beds almost touch each other with the large suite we were embarrassed to have at the Urban Hotel.


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