On September 16th 2013, with most possessions sold or stored, I left England's shores for the promise of a Japanese adventure. A flight that felt surprisingly easy was over before I knew it, in part due to the kilos of anticipation I was travelling with. Tokyo was before us, everything else behind. Shimokitazawa was to be our base for the first ten days and the dolls house sized apartment, our home. Shinjuku's multiple exit station caused the instant disorientation I expected. Stinging saucer eyes, tired luggage dragging arms, excited weariness.
Within two nights of broken sleep tucked up in a swiss roll single camp bed and separated from the street by rice paper walls, I craved a soundproof escape from the relentless triumphant cicada song. Space was the first luxury I struggled to be without. Privacy the next.
On the evening of day two, I weaved a route from the bustling Shibuya masses to Love Hotel Hill, a place peppered with by-the-hour room rental for Japanese couples to luxuriate in one another's company, in their own private love. I selected an unashamedly neon lit ground floor hotel, welcomed by a discreet elderly lady and Mickey and Minnie mouse lit up figurines. Room 101 was adorned with rock and roll memorabilia, a glass cabinet baring miniature moving models of The Rolling Stones. Mick and Ronnie looked on as we navigated our way through the fluorescent pink bathroom heated loo, sake vending mini fridge and in-bed-Kareoke machine. The call from reception came promptly when our time was up and we waltzed back into the street with a knowing smile. Intimacy comes at a price in Tokyo.