Notes from an island nation

Val has started a blog to chronicle the adventures she and Isaac are having in Japan. The impish part of me can't help but be junior high-ishly gleeful at the fact that the $400 per month ryokan house they found on the Internet (read: sight unseen), which Kumi warned would be vile despite their protests to the contrary, turned out indeed to be vile.

But I'll let Val describe it:

"Despite the tatami mats on our floor and the kimono hanging in the corner of our room, this place didn't have so much the "traditional Japanese" feel to it as it did the "public housing project in Beijing" vibe--to reach the bathroom, you walked down a cold concrete corridor lit by bug-dimmed fluorescent lights, and once there, squatted over a ceramic hole in a room filled with dirty mops; showering took place in the grease-spattered communal kitchen."

Mmmm. Just makes me wonder what the Web site through which they booked this place could've possibly said to mask that degree of grossness. Also makes me wonder whether Val and Isaac will ever again use the Internet to book long-term housing.

But they've moved to another boarding house in the city, and seem to be doing well, despite the cold weather, unheated hallways and bathroom of their accommodations, unfilling and seriously expensive food, and uncertain job prospects. More power to them for allowing cute schoolkids and generally kind people be enough to outweigh living conditions that would send me packing faster than the flush of a heated, deodorized, noisemaking toilet.