Melbourne time

Hello, こんにちは Kon'nichiwa

Well hello, Kon'nichiwa, or should I say こんにちは.....

This blog is about my trip to Japan later on this year. The countdown has begun, today is Easter Sunday, 27 March, I fly to Japan in 70 days, 5 hours and 10 minutes! I know three words in Japanese - hello, thank you and goodbye. I don't drink beer and I don't like raw fish. But I love meeting people, seeing new places, culture and history. I will only pass this way but once and I feel the need to try and see as much as I can in as little time as I have. .
Cheers. 乾杯

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Saturday, 28 May 2016

18. Takayama Accommodation

Great Western Hotel

I had actually booked a double room here ages ago, and when I stopped smoking back in February, I had to contact the places I'd booked and ask to change my booking to a non-smoking room. Unfortunately all the non-smoking double rooms were booked, so I ended up cancelling. After having seen the cost of the double room at K's House hostel, I noticed this hotel had rooms for a similar price but much bigger of course and better appointed.

Above: Spa and wellness centre

Above: Twin room

Twin Room - Non-Smoking

Room size: 23 m²
Beds: 2 single beds

Soundproofed, air-conditioned room with a smoothly sophisticated decor. Each room includes a refrigerator, an en suite bathroom and flat-screen TV with video-on-demand movies available for purchase.

An extra bed can be accommodated at extra charge.

Room facilities: Air Conditioning, Desk, Heating, Interconnected room(s) available, Soundproofing, Shower, Bath, Hairdryer, Free toiletries, Toilet, Bathroom, Slippers, Pay-per-view Channels, Telephone, Radio, Flat-screen TV, Refrigerator, Electric kettle, Wake-up service, Alarm clock.

The hotel also has a Spa and wellness centre, including sauna, hot tub and massage.

K's House Takayama

This is a hostel on one of the main roads a few streets down from the railway station, and a three minute walk away.

Double Room
Room size: 6 m²

Simple room with a double bed, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and an en suite bathroom.

Amenities like toothbrushes, yukata robes and shaving kits are not provided. They can be rented between 08:00 and 21:00.

Room facilities: Air Conditioning, Heating, Shower, Bath, Toilet, Satellite Channels, Flat-screen TV

Free WiFi is available in all rooms.

Hotel or Hostel?

I know I save $18 of I stay at the hostel, but $207 for a room that's 6 m² is over priced. The hotel room at $225 is 23 m². Do I save $18 ot "treat" myself to the larger room in a hotel? I like the idea of their wellness centre and I wouldn't mind having a massage. From what I've been reading, everything closes early in Takayama and by 8 o'clock, the streets are dark and empty. How boring, especially as it'll be summer when I'm there, it would be lovely strolling around in the evening. With this in mind, if I was staying in the hostel, I'd have company, meet other people in the common areas (lounge etc), listen to people's stories of their travels, perhaps get some advice etc.

I will have been staying in a 6 m² for my week in Kyoto, although that room has a single bed so it won't be as cramped, and in a four bed dorm for my night in Kanazawa, perhaps I might really look forward the the larger room. The hotel room in Tokyo where I spend my last four nights, is 14 m² - a single room. Hmm.... perhaps I will go for the hotel after all. I have to make a decision in the next few days - by next Saturday at the latest. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

17. Bathing Rule When Drunk

I found this fab place in Tokyo - it's called the Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari. It says, "Te Ooedo Onsen Monogatari is a lavish hot spring theme park on Odaiba. It is a great place for the uninitiated to first experience a Japanese hot spring bath, and is also a fun, special treat for people of all ages."

Their website gives a list of 14 rules and etiquette regarding bathing (communal). But Rule No. 2 has me stumped -

Hmm... does that mean it's okay to enter the bath if you're only a little bit drunk? Or tipsy or half-pi**ed? What if you're three sheets to the wind but not under the table?

So ..... if you're muddled, plastered, sloshed or inebriated but not completely off your face then it's alright to enter the bath. Just remember which one is the correct one. (If your a fella, don't go in the ladies' bath)

Saturday, 14 May 2016

17. GEAR Ticket Booked

GEAR - A Show with a Difference

My ticket for GEAR is booked, I need to be there an hour before the show starts to collect and pay for it. GEAR is a non-verbal performance at the Art Complex 1928 building. I don't know what the story line is but it involves mime (of course if it's non-verbal! - naturally!), juggling, break dancing and magic acts, using the latest technology stuff. Sounds very interesting. Some friends who visited Japan last year saw the show and raved about it.

This is the Art Complex 1928 building where the show is. Knowing what it looks like, I'll know what to look for when I'm there.

It dates from 1928 (well obviously!) and was originally the Kyoto office of the Mainichi Newspaper. Today the building houses restaurants, a café and a theatre.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

16. Language and Culture

Today, I learned something very important - never, ever, ever say, "Chin-chin" when raising your glass because chin-chin is a Japanese colloquial word meaning penis. That would be what you'd call a cultural cock-up.

To prevent raised eyebrows and offence, say "Cheers" instead, or better still, the Japanese "Kanpai" (乾杯)