Thursday, 28 November 2013

My trip to Japan was on short notice, so I desperately scoured TripAdvisor for an inexpensive yet stylish hotel room. They rated Hotel Super Kyoto/Shijo Kawaramachi in the top 20% of Kyoto hotels, even awarding it their Certificate of Excellence, so I guessed the place would be unforgettable. I wasn't too far off.

Photos of Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi, Kyoto
This photo of Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

The first thing you see in the lobby is a variety of pillows on offer. No need to worry about sanitation: many Japanese wear face masks, so they won't breathe germs on all the pillows they squeeze. Like buckwheat pillows? Foam block pillows? Buckwheat and foam block pillows? Then one of those dark little cubbyholes has the perfect pillow for you.

Imagine my delight when I walked into my room. There's no pandering to luxury or comfort: this is a room made for the paranoid. The window is frosted so nobody can watch you, and it doesn't open so you can't accidentally fall out. Worried about losing something between the bed and the couch? Heck, you can barely slide a threadbare towel through there. And rest assured nobody's going to steal your clothes when you're staring at them from four feet away.

At night you rest in indescribable comfort. Okay, I'll give it a shot: "cement block covered with a layer of cardboard" comes pretty close. The budget blankets are a foot or two narrower than the bed so you won't wake up in the middle of the night wondering if somebody's run off with your knees.

Everything you need is within easy reach: a cheap clock, a couple of mugs, a laminated sheet describing the $10 charge for porn. I'm still not sure why, after just ten minutes in the room, I had the urge to carve a shiv out of a bar of soap. The Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi is absolutely nothing like a prison, because a prison has a workout room.

I'm still curious what the cardboard ad on the TV says, but I'm pretty sure the Japanese word for "LOSER" is in there. And yes, that's a happy face made out of my loose change. I always think the cleaning lady appreciates it more when you tip her with pennies made into an upbeat shape.

Photos of Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi, Kyoto
This photo of Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

At breakfast I finally stopped wondering if I'd been ripped off. The spread offered everything from toast to rolls to tiny pieces of bread. Looking for a napkin? Don't bother! The Japanese don't wipe their faces after shoveling down scrambled eggs and fried rice, though they need a fire hose to clean their asses after they poop.

Anyway, I just have one small suggestion for the Super Kyoto/Shijo Kawaramachi. You know how most hotels offer you a free disposable razor? This place should go the extra mile and give you an unlit stove and a noose.

Comments system

Disqus Shortname