“When The Lights Go Out – The Chronicles of a Japanese Hostel”.

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The Common Room…

These are just some of the totally unbelievable bullshit experiences I’ve endured over the last 4 nights. Yes, you read that correctly, over the last four nights only. These are meant to be funny, but not a word of them is a lie. I hope you enjoy, because I certainly haven’t.

  • Just a little note before we begin; this hostel does not have the usual curtains on the bunks to help create any kind of privacy, so lights and sounds are at their full effect.

Part 1: A Hands On Experience

A typical New Years Eve story this is not, or at least I would hope it isn’t. If it is, you really need to sort your shit out. The boys who had turned up to stay the night at the Guest House Kaine seemed nice, and were quite smitten with each other which made for a nice change to the otherwise cold and rather emotionless hostel. They seemed like decent roommates, that is until the lights went out and the guy occupying the bunk above mine turned out to be a jerk off.

Literally, he jerked off. I first noticed it when the bunk started to squeak and shake slightly, and then the rustling of hand against blanket at a frenzied pace. This continued intermittently as people kept interrupting his public private time by rudely entering and leaving the dormitory. You could say their coming into the dorm stopped him from…you know what that’s childish, moving on.

So it wasn’t snoring that made New Years Eve and technically New Years a living hell, but the laboured breathing and hand motion sounds of a Latino gentle man handling his business for near 3 quarters of an hour. The added fact he tried to subtly head to the bathroom after he was clearly done was near laughable as everyone in the room had figured out why the bed was squeaking. My question is…why didn’t he head to the bathroom in the first place? Common courtesy doesn’t exist these days, not within a hostel. To say this was a ‘hard to handle’ situation is an understatement.

Part 2:  Chainsaws and Creeps

 Last night was the worst night I’ve experienced in Japan. It began after I was woken up by what I thought was a maniacal bear wielding a chainsaw trying to cut through the walls roared through the room. It wasn’t said bear, but instead a Japanese man. A Japanese man, who like all the others I’ve met, cannot breathe once the lights dim. I am not a light sleeper in fact I’m a very deep sleeper, I am just bad at getting to sleep. To wake me from the depth of my slumber is no easy feat and he did it with flair. He was relentless. It was a full on assault beginning at 2am in the morning, but he wasn’t alone.

The supporting cast was made up of a Japanese man who filled the bear’s gaps with his own inharmonious rasping as his body desperately tried to leave it’s mortal coil but the stubborn bastard just wouldn’t let go. He was joined by a soft undertone of quite frequent but lighter snoring by the man across the room who on his own was not that much of a problem, but combined with these two he helped form one of the most unmelodious symphonies in the history of music.

Things would only get worse when a fourth member would enter the dorm at 5am, yes 5am entry, and proceed to challenge all of them for the lead as worst snorer around. So there I was in a 6 man dorm, with 4 of my fellow hostel members sounding off into the fog.

Things reached the height of disaster when the only other guy in the dorm who wasn’t snoring went full creeper. He was inhabiting the previously occupied jerk off bunk above me and was pretty great. That is he was great until 6am when the sounds of people waking up in the hostel started to filter down to our room. The moment he heard footsteps and the sounds of high feminine voices he leaped into action. Literally, he hurled himself off the bunk at one stage. Why did he do this? Well, it was to peak his head out and stare at the women as they walked past to use the toilets and go to the showers. When they had gone past he returned to the bunk. Then the sounds of more women were heard and this time he clunked and climbed his way down the bunk, thudded onto the floor, and again peaked his head out to see them. Leaving the door open this time, and flooding my bed with light, he grew bolder and actually ventured out and followed them up the hallway. You can’t make this stuff up…This continued another two times until he figured out the most effective method to creep was to sit on the couch outside our room and stay there.

I lay there mentally and physically exhausted from a lack of sleep I realised that my only hope was to wait until they all checked out before trying to sleep. This worked, until the cleaning lady appeared. I give up.

Part 3: Sumimasen

“Sumimasen, sumimasen, gomenasai”, anyone who has travelled in Japan will have heard this more than they’ve heard any other phrase. Just go to a restaurant and have anything happen and you’ll hear it a dozen times before another breath is taken. Which would lead a lot of people to assume that the Japanese are a wonderfully respectful and polite people right? From my experiences I’ve found that to be wrong. The rudest hostel-mates I’ve had are Japanese men and this guy was no different.

It was my first night in the Kaine Guest House and I was eager to sleep. I was having a terrible day and it was time to say goodbye to December the 29th. It was a blissful slumber until at 3.30am when in came Japanese man. Almost immediately both of the lights to the room came on and the door slide into place with a loud thud. The bags were the first to be thrown about and right next to my head a thundering boom was heard as his hardshell case hit the wooden floor and flew open. So began the half an hour unpacking of his night bag which consisted of choosing which clothes to sleep in, where his toiletries might be, and of course this wouldn’t be complete without the plastic bag crescendo. Plastic is everywhere in Japan and it’s never more obvious than when you’re A) carrying your rubbish around for 3 hours because there are no bins, and B) when someone decides to pack or unpack their bag in the wee hours of the morning. Eventually he found what he needed and the lights went out. He went off to shower which did nothing if not reinvigorate his need to piss everyone off. As he returned instead of turning the lights on again he used his phone torch at full strength…right in my face…as he went back to his bag. As I told him in my traditional Australian swearwords to turn the light out he returned with the coy “sumimasen, sumimasen”. Then continued to shine the light my way as he rustled more bags. It wasn’t until I tried to get out of bed to physically stop this that he retreated to bed and apologised again.

I’d like to say that was the end of it but he was up again at 6am and repacked his bags…this took twice as long and it was as if the plastic bags had multiplied in the scant few hours since the unpacking. I never saw him again, hence why I’m not in a prison cell.

So as you can imagine dear readers right now I am very much at the “End of Blair Witch” stage of my mental break down and an escape can’t come quick enough.

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Thanks for reading guys! I hope you found these funny so something good comes of this. Feel free to tell me which one seems like your worst of the three nightmares and if you have any of your own ridiculous hostel/travel stories please feel free to let me know. If only to remind me I’m not alone in this ridiculousness!