Room for Slacking

I was wandering around Kobe when I just randomly ran into this sign.

This is a sign for a service that allows you to pay money to go inside a room and slack. You can chose your own slacking style. Be it watching TV, taking a nap, taking a break, reading, or whatever. You can even bring in food and drink, a video, or your own magazines. The place has all the equipment you could ever need, such as a sofa, TV, and video deck.

All this for just 50 yen for ten minutes, or 1500 yen for 11pm to 10am! The service is also open for business year round with no holidays! The service is restricted to men only however. Sorry ladies.

I didn’t actually try this place out myself though, as I wasn’t in the mood for slacking… Though at 50 yen for a 10 minute slack-fest, who can beat that!? My only disappointments with the place would be…

No internet. They should at least hook the place up with a WLAN. And don’t tell me that the reason they don’t have net access is to protect the place from men coming in and viewing “indecent material”. If that was the reason, you wouldn’t be able to bring in your own video tapes and magazines! I want my net! What’s the excuse!?

No video games. They really should have an array of video games in there if they really want to call it slacking. They could triple their income per visit by putting a copy of Civilization II in there and an instruction manual!

This is interesting though. 11pm to 10am at 1500 yen? And it’s okay to take naps? If they had a shower, this could completely replace the need for a hotel! How much do capsule hotels cost anyway? If women were allowed… It could replace the infamous “love hotel” that Tokyo is so well known for!

Anyway, that’s all for that. If you’re ever in Kobe and a sudden irresistible urge to slack comes over you, try to duck into one of these spots. Tell me how it is.

Kyoto: Fushimi Inari

I found a cool place in Kyoto the other day.

I had some free time (not a common occurrence…) so I ran into a bookstore and picked up a travel guide about Kyoto and saw some cool pics, checked the name, and headed out.

I ended up in this place, Fushimi Inari (more)

Fushimi Inari is famous for it’s 1000 Torii gates. Actually, I think there are many more than 1000. If you check this map you can see that the gates run all up through the mountains. It was written that to go the entire course it would take two hours! I didn’t have much time, so I only walked through for about 30 minutes, but it’s really cool. Highly recommended!

Also, throughout the Fushimi Inari area, around all the temples there are a lot of “kitsune” (fox) statues. I wish I could give you the details of why… but that’s what Google is for right? Ah. Here it is. Inari messengers, foxes, cereals, yeah. Anyway, my friend told me that these statues are actually pretty scary… I suspect they keep the bad things out of the temple and whatnot.

Anyway, this is a cool trip destination. I also saw one of those continuous torii gate places in Awajishima, but as you see by the pics… レベルが違う。



Kobe China Town

I went to Kobe China Town with some friends recently. Kobe is a really cool city. I wouldn’t mind living there at all. Japanese people often say that Kobe is similar to Yokohama in many ways. It’s gotta port. They have a ferris wheel. There are a lot of foreigners, and they also have a China Town.

Kobe is only about 30 minutes from Osaka and easy to get to. Some of my friends tell me that Kobe is a little too posh, and they like the down and dirty, “なんでもあり” feeling of Osaka more. I haven’t been in either long enough to judge.

We went to this famous Buta-man place in ChinaTown. To say the line was out the door is an understatement. The line was out the door, across the street, between the statues, and into the square. This restaurant is a chain that is also apparently extremely famous in Shanghai. It’s called Roushouki.

We got in line to get our buta-man, it actually only took about 20 min to get to the front door and out. It then took us about 5 min to eat the buta-man. The stuff was cheap, I think 80 yen for one buta-man. Not bad. My friends said that it was good… but not good enough to line up 20 minutes for. I think this just goes to prove the theory that Japanese people like to be in a line. Seriously though, before I came to Japan I don’t think I ever lined up to get into a restaurant… Then again… I lived in Iowa and Indiana so…

I like the word, “buta-man”. I wonder how many times I can say it in this entry… If you look closely, you’ll notice that everyone, I mean everyone in the picture below is making buta-man. That’s cool. I wanna make buta-man.

Buta-man is like Niku-man, but instead of niku inside the bread, there is buta. Which is pig. Hence, buta-man. Kinda like An-man, without the anko… buta instead. Umm… Buta-man. Do you guys know An-pan Man? Why isn’t there a buta-man man? Actaually “man” and “pan” are fundamentally different foods really. You’ve got Niku-man, Buta-man, Pizza-man, and then there’s An-pan and Kuri-pan and Creme-pan and what not. They’re both bread based, but they’re really different. Apa-man is something completely different.

Ah yes. The buta. I don’t have so much to say about this event actually. But, doesn’t it look good?

Mmmm…. Buta-man.


Toilet Trouble

It took me literally like 5 minutes to figure out how to flush this toilet…

Can you figure it out?

Well… here it is. The answer.

The remote for the toilet is on the wall on the right.

I figured that out pretty quick. The
hard part is that the flush for the toilet is on top, on the edge of the remote!
And it’s only written in Kanji, for “big” flush and “small” flush.

I’m sure that Japanese people even have trouble figuring that out.

Now that’s. Flushin’.

Tokyo Metro

International City Tokyo (And a random sakura picture)

I moved to Osaka in March, and this change happened in April, so actually I didn’t notice it until I went back to hang in Tokyo recently. To be honest, even then I didn’t notice it… I was told by a friend…

Anyway, in an attempt to become more foreigner friendly, the subways in Tokyo have been given a new numbering scheme. This is in addition to the new logo that they have applied. I still think London’s -underground- logo is cooler though… The actual logo is the blue “M” for Metro on the image below.

There is also a new poster in the subways with the stations lined up with their prices alphabetically in English! This is actually a cool idea. It won’t give you any idea about distance to your location, or where to change trains, but at least you can buy the right ticket!

As for the new numbering scheme, it works like this. If you’re talking about the stop on Ginza line, Toranomon, you can also refer to it is as “G11”. Because “G” stands for Ginza and the first stop on Ginza line, Shibuya, is “G0”. Toranomon is the 11th stop from that direction. Easy right? Likewise Marunouchi line is “M”, and the other lines have semi-logical letters attached with them as well.

See? Now next time you are going somewhere, and you can’t read the Kanji name, as long as you know that Shinjyuku-san-chou-me is on the Marunouchi Line and is stop 9, all you have to do is stop some random young Nihonjin and say, “Yo! I’m lookin’ fo’ M-09! Where’s M-09 at? Is it far from here?”

And they’ll be like, 「え?エムゼロナイン?何?ごめんなさい、何言ってんのかはわりません!」

And you’ll be on your way!

It is a good try, but it’s going to take a really long time before anyone starts remembering station names by their numeric code, rather than their names. I don’t think that this new scheme will ever sink into the minds of the general public, but it might be useful for getting your extra-foreign-still pronounces-sake-as-‘sah-key’-friends to places. For example you could just tell your friend, look, it’s on the red line, just tell the station guy you want to go to “M-15”. It would be a lot easier than trying to get your friend to pronounce the Japanese name to the station employee.

Hrm… was that interesting? No?

I should start trying to be some kinda reporter for this website… Make some more interesting entries. Since I can speak Japanese… and know a lot of regular Japanese folk, maybe I should do interviews of them and introduce their everyday life or something… that might be cool… What do you guys think?