My sister and I stayed two nights in Osaka to do a daytrip to Mt. Koya. Since Osaka is pretty huge, I figured there’d be guesthouses to stay at. I originally wanted to stay at some smaller ones that housed maybe a dozen guests, but since it was a weekend, everything was booked up. The only place left was Sakura Guest House. What was nice about the space is that it’s women only, so we assumed it was safe. It was situated near a big train station, and seemed convenient enough to stay. We took the last 2 beds.
The entrance was on the side of alleyway. I figured it would be nicer once we stepped inside, but the foyer was cramped and tiny enclosed by another door that led to the living space. The front desk was blocked with plastic containers and we couldn’t barely even see the guy behind it when he checked us in.
The living space was fine enough, and there were a couple girls sitting there, a Middle Eastern and Korean, using the free WiFi, staring at their smartphones. My sister and I carried our luggage to our room on the 3rd of 5 floors. We went passed a crowded room of what sounded like a group of Malaysian girls, and found our room, cramped with 4 sets of bunk beds, dark, and strewn with extension cords. It looked like a fire hazard.
We settled in, and found the beds to be nice enough, your typical IKEA bunk beds and thin mattresses. But when my sister went to take a shower, there was no hot water, and when I went to check it out, the facility seemed like a slipshod shack of a few shower stalls made to look nice with new wood and a coat of paint on top of an open roof. The shower floor was bolstered by wood planks, and water would flow underneath right on the concrete.
With the cramped space and the extension cords snaking everywhere in the room, a single light right on top of my bed, and only curtains separating our beds and our room, it was hard not to think that in the middle of the night, we would die of a fire sparked by a neglected power outlet, or be assaulted by people let in by the old man managing the guesthouse, as the place was cheap and attracted women from all parts of the world to stay. Obviously not, since that would have been reported by now. But while the facilities were minimally fine to use, the huge trash cans were filled to the brim before being emptied, and a place that doesn’t look to be well maintained doesn’t make a tourist feel like they’re taken care of. In a sense, for me, the atmosphere of the place felt like a brothel of unsuspecting victims.
Luckily, we only needed a place to sleep, and on our second night, I wouldn’t let my sister suffer through another cold shower, so we went to find a nearby public bath. It was about a 15 minute walk to get to, and I honestly, didn’t know what to expect. The lady at the front seemed pretty tough, and when I paid for our fee, she gave me a funny look when I told her we’d be using the women’s bath. I guess that’s kind of a funny thing to say, but I get mis-gendered so often, it’s starting to become reflex to make sure people get me.
The bath was great, and there were different pools to hop into. My sister was enjoying herself, but I still kept aware of my surroundings. I kept my eye on one person, a big-boned lady with bleached short hair. It was hard to tell whether she was part of a gang, or simply a housewife. I suppose she could have been a lesbian as well. I could tell she was glancing at me every now and then. I wondered what she was thinking. And all the old ladies? Well, I would hate it if one came up to me and told me off for offending them with my, I don’t know, atypical crotch. But they don’t do that in Japan.
I was so glad when we finally checked out of our guesthouse. I vowed to never stay again, or let anyone I know stay there either, unless they were desperate. No more guesthouses in Osaka for me!