Anne Hostel, Ryogoku

Wake up at 6am. Hit the space time machine. French jazz. Let’s do this. Shower up. Make a new Amenity for Men commercial. Tshirt. Jeans. Dah! Shoes are still wet from last night. Shitty. Tiny elevator down. Exit NUTS. Great spot, terrible acronym. Sweet it’s sunny out. Fuck, I forgot my sunglasses. Whoa it’s crazy windy too. Whip my hair back and forth. Aphro countdown: 3 minutes.

We strut into the wind to the main street on a breakfast mission. Halfway down the boulevard there is a supremely intoxicated guy-girl couple dressed like rockstars, still in the throes of a good night. They’re having a giggle fit and trying to manage oncoming traffic. They battle over something that I can’t quite make out. maybe a bottle of something. They’re stealing it from one another and laughing as one tries to block the other from getting it back. They spin round and round in hysterics, reaching, grabbing and giggling. Looks like it’s the most fun they’ve ever had.

While we wait politely at the crosswalk for the light with a swarm of early rising worker bees, this happily inebriated duo, oblivious to rules or unwritten social contracts, begin to tandem-stumble across the street. A spinning dance, they lithely flow into the pockets between oncoming cars, still laughing, and nonchalantly slide across the street to the other side. This wasted pair juxtaposed with the throng of blue/grey suited business-types and briefcases seems ridiculous. But they own the world in this moment and their cackling fades away down the street. Things turn quiet as we all still politely wait for the light.

Back on the breakfast mission, a little place called Doutor does the trick. Is that a detour for dough? We charades up some breaky sandwiches and coffee and grab a stool at the store front window. It’s so windy out that the awning and front window are shaking and rattling. Good little spot though, we enjoy some coffee and watch the foot traffic go by about their daily routines.


Down the breakfast sandwiches and coffees, “Arigato!”, and back into the gale outside.

We’re on the way back to NUTS and hmmmm that wasn’t quite enough coffee actually. What would Tommy Lee Jones do? We spot a vending machine. He’d be a boss. I step up my morning game and biff 150 yen in the slot. I’m going big Jones with the Premium Boss Black Coffee. Whoa it came out hot! Wow, wasn’t expecting hot coffee from a street side vending machine. Oh yeah, look at that. There are colors behind the prices, red for hot and blue for cold? Well shit, that is boss.

We get back to the space time machine and hit the french jazz for the last time while we pack up our stuff. I’m going to miss this little radio room and the sweet location of NUTS. Man, it feels like we’ve been here a week. We’ve done a lot already, but we’re just getting going! I’m starting to get used to the area though and part of me wishes that we were just staying here for the year in Shinjuku. I like having so much within walking distance and this part of the city has already made a favorable impression.

But our reservation is across the Tokyo city sprawl at Anne Hostel so we backpack up and hoof it over to Shinjuku station again for the transfer to Ryogoku.

On the metro McBurger is messaging me on the Agency secure channel that our twitter account (@DistanceFNormal) now has Japanese ads on it, “Lots of cute girls so a big improvement.” Targeted advertising, queuing from the location of our tweets, thanks technology.

We get off at the station in Ryogoku. It’s just one over from Akihabara so we’ll have to make another stop there at some point. The station has a Sumo display in it. Wow, I don’t quite measure up to these giants. Oh shit, I’ve lost Queenie.

Get outside and it’s quite noticeable that we’re in a very very different part of town. Seems more.. I dunno, commonplace. Lots of small businesses and definitely not the red light district feel that we had traipsing through the side streets of Shinjuku. Seems more normal life paced.

Anne Hostel is just down the street from the station. A line of commuter bikes is stacked up against the metro wall.


We find the place no problem and step inside. It’s quiet and comfy looking with a nice open common space right inside by the front desk with some computer stations and beanbag chairs. Seems alright.


There’s a helpful list of key Japanese phrases on the wall by the hosts. I take a pic for future reference. I should really learn a few words other than Konnichiwa, Arigato, Sumimasen and Kawaii.


They also have a bunch of info about places to check out around Tokyo, touristy, fun or just unique spots. The Robot Restaurant was insane, might have to look into a few of these other theme restaurants. It’s all of these little additions that make for a good hostel. There are tour schedules and recipe cards with metro directions to all of Tokyo’s points of interest. Yup, this is a good spot.


A polite host gives us a brief tour of the place. Your typical hostel layout, seems simple enough. Actually our room couldn’t be more simple. It’s literally just a bed in a small room. And we’ll just make the bed ourselves? Ok, no worries.


We get settled and formulate a day plan.  We decide to go hit the imperial palace in Chiyoda. Yoda with Chi. Oh just kidding it’s closed on Monday. Guess we could do Ueno park and/or Senji shrine instead. Yep that sounds good, back to the metro we make our way north through Mecha-Tokyo.


A brief switch at the Akihabara stop and we spot M’s Sex Shop across the street. A new Halloween costume idea starts percolating…




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