How not to travel to a foreign country   

Hello there! Michael/Waffle here!

As many people know by now, this is not my first time here in Sapporo as I used to be a foreign exchange student at Sapporo University. I had always dreamed of coming back, but my return was by no means a smooth one and so I present to you the story of how services that do not exist in England but are readily available in Japan saved me from a tough transition.

I did not know when I would arrive in Sapporo after staying in Tokyo so I decided to not reserve any form of housing or hotel in advance and I arrived on the evening of Tuesday the 6th with no where to stay for the night. This unfortunately happened to be the week that preparations were underway for the Autumn Festival at Odori so many businesses and tourists had booked all of the cheap hotel accommodation, leaving me confused and contacting my friends to assess my options. Fortunately, because I had been in Japan before and knew the Sapporo area well, I remembered the existence of Manga Cafes and I headed for a cafe I remembered being in the Susukino area.

Around 15 years ago in England it was common to find Internet Cafes, a place you could use a computer with a fast internet connection for a short period of time and they were very expensive. These facilities are now very rare due to how many people use smartphones, though you can find them around London but it is important to note these are not available 24 hours a day. At the Manga Cafe I stayed at, not only was I able to use a computer, but I could also stay overnight to lay down and sleep with access to free drinks and ice cream. I spent 5 consecutive nights at the Manga Cafe for 2000 yen a night, which felt like a great deal to me as hotels would not have been as cheap and I was free to watch movies, play online games and read comics as much I would like!

When I left in the morning, I had a new problem. I still had my suitcase which weighed over 20 kilograms. Fortunately for myself, Japan is known as the country of convenience for a good reason and there are coin lockers in nearly every train station which is not the case in England. In England, only in our biggest train stations do we have baggage storage services and these are very expensive, it would have cost me roughly 2000 yen to store a bag for 12 hours in London whilst in Sapporo, it cost me 500 yen. This was a big relief for me after I found a coin locker big enough to store my suitcase in as I’m sure 5 days of carrying around such a heavy piece of luggage would not have been very fun!

The greatest thing, which still surprises me, is how convenient the timing was for both services. I could stay in the Manga Cafe for 12 hours with a cheap night package and I could store my luggage for 12 hours without having to pay any extra. Although I definitely would not recommend anyone to voluntarily do what I did for my first week in Sapporo as it was very irresponsible, it was an interesting experience that probably would have definitely been impossible to do not only in London, but many other cities around the world.

Until next time!

Michael (UK)

by chitchatcafe | 2016-11-10 19:14 | マンツーマン 英会話 札幌

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