Tokyo Air Bnb Experiences Featuring Le Angry Old Man Troll Under the Bridge

Friday, 24 April 2015

Hello, I'm back from my Tokyo trip! This is not going to be one of those travel posts where I saw you artsy shots of my beautiful sponsored shabby chic accommodation complete with bikini pictures by the pool. This is our 100% honest, mostly ridiculous but always interesting experience staying in some Air Bnb apartments in Tokyo! 

We zombie-walked into Tokyo after 16 hours of travelling on Malaysia airlines (red-eye flight too) straight after our last exam for the trimester. We're students, so we took the cheapest option for both flights and accommodation. Our first choice was 'Geek House' conveniently located in Shinjuku as we were only spending one night there before going to Hakone. It didn't say anything about sharing the apartment so we were expecting to have the whole apartment to ourselves! The shock ran deep when we discovered 'Geek House' is a pokey, cluttered three storey apartment complete with tiny rooms and around 10 other people! I think some of them were residents and some were guests, but it was super funny when we saw our room after lugging our luggage up to the third floor via the steepest stairs I have ever seen! 

I was standing outside the door when I took this picture. Yes all 4 of us shared this room and had no room to walk with all our suitcases inside! Oh by the way, this is Steph, Mickey and Yanto.

I wish I had taken a video or at least some photos of the place, because it was like nothing I have ever seen before. So pokey and crowded!

This is the entrance. Does it look dodgy? Don't answer that. 

I adore trees that look like these, spooky, yet so beautiful. 

I met my first Japanese friend that morning. I was the first one out the door on our way to the train station when this old man came up to me. He spoke to me in Japanese first, but I said I didn't speak it, so he translated it to 'you are a beautiful girl' which was very sweet, apart from the fact that he was very obviously drunk (at 10am)! We exchanged a few awkward sentences because of the language barrier, but he did point to himself and then said 'homeless' quite proudly! I guess that explains the intoxication and the safety pins holding his vest together. 

He asked me for my address to which I politely declined. Then he squatted down on the street and wrote down his address for me on a slip of paper- I'm not quite sure how he has an address if he's homeless, but I will never lose that slip of paper! Then all my friends came down and he said goodbye and stumbled away. Not before asking for a photo together though! Not the most flattering photo, but it has to be included for memories sake.

That concluded our stay in Geek House. We then travelled to Hakone and spent 2 days like this:

I'm laughing because we made Yanto press the self timer button on the camera, so he then had to scuttle into the bath which was REALLY hot that night and pose within the 10 seconds! Hilarious.
Before you ask yes we are a very nakey happy family here! This is a private outdoor room, but there are also male and female onsens. We studied the rules over and over before we entered the onsen- it's actually very complicated! See here for some idea of the rules and routines of onsen bathing.

In case you're curious, we all got over the being naked thing within minutes when we were in the single sex onsens. After that we couldn't get enough of the onsen! Admittedly going all together in the private onsens was much more embarrassing, but eh, we're all practically family anyway.

The ryokan we stayed in provided all guests with a yukata which we happily donned for breakfast and some casual lounging. We then, somewhat reluctantly, went back to Tokyo for the rest of our stay. Looking back on it, I think we should have ended our trip with a relaxing visit to Hakone to rest our sore feet!

The next apartment of joy was located in Shibuya and looked absolutely amazing on the website! I commend the photographer for making the apartment look this spacious, light and breezy. And so cheap at $100 AUD a night! The following are some screenshots from the listing on Air Bnb.

We were astounded when we got into the place and it was dark, mouldy, cramped and almost nothing like the pictures! I love the 'artistic' shot of the bathroom above, where they managed to leave out er... everything!

When we arrived there, Leo the owner and the elderly couple downstairs greeted us and said they had 1 condition- that we do not stamp on the floor. We agreed, I mean who stamps on the floor besides a toddler throwing a tantrum? We entered the apartment and found a huge list of other conditions on the door eg. Don't stain the towels, no talking on the balcony (I'm serious), no playing loud music etc.

This is what it looked like from the outside and trust me, this was the better view. We were aghast at the inside. 

The very first night we were in the apartment, we were walking like normal humans- with a heel-toe gait and trying to keep as quiet as possible. Before we entered the apartment we even reminded ourselves to keep quiet! Lo and behold, 2 minutes later the angry old man from downstairs knocks on our door and starts saying we are being too noisy. He pointed at our heels and said do not walk on them! And to only walk on our toes! He even gave us a demonstration of how to 'walk' around the place.

We watched with horror as we realised we were expected to TIPTOE around the apartment for the next 10 days. 

This is inside a few days after we moved in. It's literally one tiny, dark, run down room separated by a curtain. When the 2 beds are unfolded (to accommodate 4 people), they cover the whole floor. Now looking at the listing, I see other people have left negative feedback regarding this place and the discrepancy between the photos and the actual apartment. Why didn't we read those reviews?! 

But alas, none of the reviews mentioned the angry old man downstairs.

The next morning, the troll under the bridge struck again. Mickey accidentally dropped the fold out bed frame on the floor from a height of 10 cm and we all stared at him with horrified eyes. We heard steps coming up to our apartment and the dreaded knock on the door. Steph and I went to hide in the back room and Mickey conveniently went to the toilet which left poor Yanto to open to the door. 

This time the old man starts YELLING at us! Saying this is an APARTMENT, NOT A HOTEL! 

We must be quiet and more respectful! He went on and on. Yanto had to apologise profusely and was quite upset because of this experience. Who wants something screaming at you for something you didn't mean to do (or didn't do!) your holiday! 

The rest of the stay we lived in utter fear of the old man downstairs (hilarious now, not at all then). We talked in whispers and got really good at tip toeing. It completely sucked. When you're on holiday, you just want to go back to your room/apartment and have a good laugh and unwind with your mates! 

I will never stay in an Air Bnb in Tokyo again. Unless I can afford an expensive one.

Oh and here's the bathroom. The rug on the floor was sopping wet when we got there and it stank of urine. Granted the toilet bowl wasn't that dirty before we got there, it's grey because of a charcoal accident haha.

The view from the shower which would turn ice cold on me if I stayed in longer than 5 minutes. Once when Steph was having a shower, the water completely stopped!

I had trouble manoeuvring in the tiny shower and kept banging my elbows. Imagine how Mickey felt!

This is me standing in the bathroom to show how much floor space we had from the shower to the toilet. It's mind boggling how small it is!

Another aspect of Japanese living is sorting the trash. We realised half way through that we actually had to sort the trash thoroughly into separate bags for combustibles, plastics, papers, PET bottles, non PET bottles and glass bottles.

Not pleasant when you have to dig out half rotting banana peels from the trash *vomit* (I despise bananas). I'm genuinely glad we got the experience though- no where else in the world would you have to sort your trash so thoroughly.

And that ends our fairytale Air Bnb experience in Tokyo. All the other times we have used Air Bnb around the world, it has been fantastic! For the same price we got a fabulous, 3-4 star hotel standard apartment in Melbourne right in the middle of the city (QV building!) last year. 

I'm laughing right now just thinking of us huddled inside that dark apartment speaking in whispers and jumping at every rustle. Everything else about our holiday was absolutely fantastic, and the accommodation was by far the worst aspect of the trip.

My next post will likely be on Disney Sea or food! I have lots of pictures of food ^^.

Have you had any hilarious accommodation stories? Please tell me!

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