SEAFOOD BREAKFASTS AND LOVE HOTELS
In the traditional Ryoken you almost always get an evening meal and breakfast, I had skipped dinner due to the lateness of my arrival but was very keen to try breakfast. The owner (not sure of his name so we'll call him Old Mate) bought breakfast to me at 7am as he said he would, well actually I wasn`t too sure that he would bring it to me or I had to go and get it as I didn't understand a word he said, but if you ever stay at one of these they definently bring breakfast to you, don`t go wondering around the place at 7am looking someone.....you'll upset the other guests....just wait!
Anyway a number of things have become very apparent when it comes to eating in Japan. Firstly be prepared to eat anything, this suits me fine as long as its dead. As some of you fellow "I`ll eat anythings" will already know it is very important to not wonder about what it actually is you are eating while eating it, this just makes you feel sick. This it applys ten-fold for Japan. Secondly you need to be able to use chop-sticks, which doesn`t worry too many people in 2007, unless you`re my Mum who refers to them as "those stick things". As it turns out I`m a ninja when it comes to using them, so no problems there.
But the whole cermony and using correct manners thing has me perplexed, luckily I have mainly been eating by myself and havn`t had too much of a chance to make an idiot of myself. Although, once again I am quite used to making an idiot of myself so this doesn`t concern me too much either.
Anyway, what was for breakfast? Wouldn't have a clue! I think most of it came from the ocean and I ate every last bit of it, except half the soup which I spilt on myself in all the excitment!
So I left Iwaki and the Ryoken not thinking about what I had just eaten and headed back down South. I had found out that there was a round of the Japanese touring cars on at Suzuka and thought I`d go there for the weekend to have a look.
Missing a turn off that bypassed Tokyo I ended up right in the heart of the most populous city on Earth, rode right passed central station and getting lost again pulled up to check the map right on the Port of Tokyo. Good photo oportunity! Backtracked to the expressway and shot down to Yokohama, felt ok so kept going until sunset.
Just as I started to look for a place to sleep I came across a hill covered in wacky buildings and neon lights. It could only be the fabled "Japanese Love Hotel". These are hotel rooms that you can rent for a few hours or after a certain time, usually 9pm sometimes 7pm you can stay the night. Most do not really have a reception (so that nobody knows you are there!) and have a vending machine style setup where you just put your money in, choose the room you want and the door unlocks.
I understood the concept, but was having a fair bit of trouble working all this out due to my lack of Japanese language, but I had stumbled across what looked like a love hotel city so thought I would try my luck. There were about 6 or 7 of them all bunched togeher on a hill top, they were all really over the top, shaped like castles and other wierd fairytale like buildings with heaps of neon. I was pretty determined to stay at one of these and after failing to work out the vending machine setup at the first one I tryed and unable to find anyone to help me (people aren`t really in the mood to chat given that most are there to cheat on they`re Mrs) I moved onto the one next door. This one had a sort of reception, but with no one attending it . I could here some movement so I yelled out and out came an old lady, after a fair bit of pointing to a phrase book and the lady going to get her younger but still old friend to help they worked out I was alone (a rarity in these places) and just wanted a place to sleep. They were very helpful showing me the room and laughing a lot. I parked the bike in the provided car park and one old lady pulled the curtin across the carpark so nobody could see I was parked there (they even provide covers for your number plates in case your wife gets suspicious and comes looking for you!), grabbed my stuff and went upstairs to the weirdest hotel room ever.
Some of you may rememebr those glow in the dark stars and planets stickers you could get as a kid, well this room was covered in them, ceiling and walls. It had a giant photo of the earth on one wall and painted moons and stars all over the place. The light setup was a feat of engineering with blackklight fluros as well as down lights as well as spotlights. There was a massive bathroom complete with red spotlight shining onto the bath. A karoke machine with two (!) microphones and a deadset-real-life slot machine in the bedroom. I put my hatred for them aside for a moment and turned it on, to chack if it was real. I put some money in and pressed a few buttons. Lights flashed, wheels spun and then it laughed at me and asked me to put more money in. This was definently a real life slot machine! And even a couple of vending machines selling Pepsi and sex toys (of course)!
After I stopped laughing I went to sleep, not really what the room was built for.... maybe next time.