on the claustrophobia of small rooms

The one not-so-amazing thing about this trip is our hotel room.

The hotel itself is great – it’s a hotel/hostel, they’ve got a 24-hour cafe downstairs where guests and locals sit side by side, and the staff is GREAT through and through. We chose the place based on the great reviews, and I don’t think we made a mistake in where we chose to stay. But the rooms themselves…to start with, let’s just say they’re clean, and the price was right.

Furnishings: There’s a table/ledge about 18″ deep that runs from wall to wall under the window (about 7 feet) and the only other furnishing is a 3/4 full size bed. Oh, and a mini-fridge and tv and a chair to sit at the ledge/table. And aside from the bathroom, that’s it. Which is fine – I’m ok with minimal furniture – but there’s no dresser, no shelving. No way of any kind to store/organize clothing.

Anyone who knows me knows that not being able to organize my clothes drives me BATTY. I’ve been going on cleaning binges every couple of days to try to corral the madness. When we came to Japan, I came with a backpack and a small rolling carry-on that JUST (with its stupid stick-out wheels) meets the size requirements for the airline. I packed a collapsed, soft-sided “weekender” bag in that carry-on suitcase, knowing that I’d be buying clothes and some toys and would be checking the larger suitcase on the way home, carrying on the weekender and the backpack. I’ve been trying to keep my purchases controlled so that they’d make it home within those parameters, and so far so good. I have a tiny bit of room for stuff from the Ghibli museum next week, but other than that I’m at my limit and will be buying only food from here on out, lol.

So space in the suitcases is managed. Space in the room, though…that’s another ball game. When we first got here I organized it so that our suitcases were side by side under the table – this gave us more space to move around the L-shaped space surrounding the bed. But the outlet is right next to the table and all our chargers are plugged in there with our stuff charging above, which inevitably meant that EVERY DAY I would whack something out of place and/or hit myself in the head with a falling battery charging case…and that’s the kind of thing that gets really old, really fast. So today I re-organized and basically packed up all the clothes I won’t be wearing in the next week in compression bags, packed up my toys/purchases to see what kind of room I’ve got left, and will soon move on to organizing the tabletop/desktop to try and straighten out the chaos that has become.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that neither one of us is particularly neat, as a general rule. We both let our surroundings get a bit sloppy and have to force ourselves to clean. But I have a personality quirk that I’m gathering Matt doesn’t have – the smaller the space I’m in, the more desperately I want to keep everything perfectly in its place. (That’s my mouse totem coming out in me, most definitely.) So while I’m whirlwinding around trying to keep things neat, Matt’s got a growing pile of clothes and toys (he’s up to almost 30 nendoroids/model dolls/keychains/assorted other toys). We’re going to buy probably a duffel bag to throw most of our clothes in so that Matt will be able to put his dolls in his carry-on suitcase – that way he can avoid baggage handlers destroying his toys.

What a pair we are, LOL. But despite the cramped quarters, we’re having a great time.

We went to Shibuya yesterday and explored SHIBUYA 109 – both the men’s and women’s buildings – and were blown away by the crazy fashions and the crazier prices. Plus, especially in the men’s building, these skinny clerks were everywhere, looking painfully fashionable, and they looked at us – a pair of fat, frumpy American tourists –  and even though every one of them cheerfully gave the required greeting, we could tell they were like what the hell are you doing here, get out of our high-end store.

So that was an experience. We also found and enjoyed Genki Sushi yesterday – a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant where you place your order on a touch screen and the kitchen makes it and sends it out to you on a belt. It was the freshest, most delicious sushi I’ve ever had and if we ever make it back here, we’re staying in Shibuya so I can be closer to that restaurant. Not kidding.

Today I’m not sure what we’re doing. We still have to do Harajuku at some point, and there’s the typhoon coming this weekend (which should only be a tropical storm by the time it hits Tokyo), but other than that, we’ve done pretty much everything we wanted to do. I wish we could go to the Ghibli Museum sooner, but the only tickets we could get (they’re bought based on date/time, so it’s kind of like making an appointment) are for 10/17, the day before we leave. So there’s that to look forward to, but not something we can just kick off and do whenever.

At least, in the meantime, our hotel room is once again clean (except Matt’s corner of crumpled-up clothes and doll boxes – not touching that). I’m sure we’ll fill this week with fun – we’ve done great so far for having absolutely no agenda other than to explore the city! – but I’m starting to really look forward to getting home, seeing our fur babies again, and having space and me-time come back into my life.

Maybe we’ll seek out another Shinto shrine – NOTHING is better if you need a sense of space and peace in the middle of a bustling city!

Have a great day, internet!

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