We got thoroughly confused hunting for our airbnb apartment today in Kyoto.
We hunted for a while to find the building, then we got there, and the combo for the mailbox worked, but the lock box with the key was not inside. It was completely empty. Mekayla was already late, so after a quick pay phone call she left me to wait for someone to come let us in. It was occasionally also snowing.
After about half an hour of waiting – bouncing from the entrance to a spot in the driveway where the sun occasionally peaked though – I left our bags to walk a few doors down. I bought myself a hot latte (in a can) from a vending machine to warm up. Warm drinks from vending machines are awesome. I had a hot Canada Dry ginger ale the other day and it was sublime.
My can of latte kept me warm for another ten minutes. Then I stashed our bags around a corner and left to find a hot lunch. Japan does have an insanely low crime rate, and I took the electronics with me.
I was hungry, and immediately honed in on a noodle shop at the corner with sketchy pictures that claimed to have been rated the best ramen in 2012. This is usually the way bad lunches begin when traveling. Choosing the first place you come across is not a great idea, but, well, I was hungry.
So I went in. There were people! Japanese people who looked like they might know what they were doing eating here, so I sat down. Then the guy behind the bar came out, asked me something, and when I acted bewildered said something about “outside”.
I went out, figuring his menu didn’t have any English and he wanted me to point at what I wanted.
He didn’t follow me.
I figured out what I wanted.
He still seemed to have better things to do.
So I went inside and meekly waved, and then he pointed me at the machine next to the door. There’s a vending machine for ordering the food! Obviously!
Stick some money in, push a button with symbols corresponding to what is next to my picture, scratch my head at other options and figure I don’t really need a drink to go with soup, and pay. Then just take the ticket inside to place my order. Efficiency!
This was probably the best bowl of ramen I had ever had: beef, an uncooked egg, great noodles, amazing spices. I left very happy, got back to the apartment building, and … still no key.
Another phone call, and oh, you’re there now, ok I’m on my way. Ringing bells, looking around, nothing. I opened the mailbox again, still empty. Hmmm, maybe this isn’t the right place, but the code works and we got directions to the street name. And it’s an 8th floor apartment, most buildings are much shorter than that. Except…
I walked a few buildings down to where my drink vending machine was, and found our host patiently waiting by the door.
Just because the code works doesn’t mean you are in the right place.