It was late in the evening when I finally touched down on Japanese soil. As this was my first time to Japan, I was doubtful of my navigational skills and concerned that I’d miss the last train into Tokyo or get lost trying to find my hostel at nearly midnight. To avoid any problems, I decided to spend the night at First Cabin at the Haneda Airport, then get the train into the city tomorrow.
First Cabin is similar to a capsule hotel but allows male and female guests (many capsule hotels are only for men). The hotel is cute and models itself after an airport and airplane. Each capsule or room accommodates one person and you have a choice between two different sizes of rooms. The capsules are lined up next to each other and separated into sections or gates. Men and women have their own gates.
Inside your cabin you’ll find a bed, pajamas, nightstand, hanger, slippers, body towel, face towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, television and headset. Shared bathrooms are down the hall, and again, men and women have separate facilities. First Cabin provides everything you could possibly need. Inside the showers, you’ll find shampoo, conditioner and body soap. Along the vanities there are many beauty products for your pleasure, including make-up remover, lotions, hair dryers, curling irons, tissues and q-tips.
This was a great experience for me (I’ve wanted to try a capsule hotel and this is probably as close as I’ll get to one) and a good start to my Japanese adventure.
Due to the unfortunate departure of the Malaysian girls, we had two spots to fill on our housekeeping squad. Nic, one of the hostel’s owners, hired Nynke from Holland and Nina from Germany. The ranks of our international housekeeping team quickly filled up and it was back to normal again.
Prior to joining Crank, Nynke had spent time in Tauranga with her extended family who had moved from Holland to New Zealand several years ago. She was relieved to finally be on her own again as living with her aunt and cousins had been a bit stifling. Shortly after being hired, she also took a second job at a hotel and worked with guests at the reception. Like me, she was working at the hostel for accommodation and working at her second job for wages.
Nina, however, was visiting New Zealand on her own. In Germany, she worked as a graphic artist and her long, hot pink hair just screamed out her creativity and individuality. Besides working in the creative arts field, she also did some stints in promotion for large companies and festivals.
I’m not sure how Lasse felt about having to share a room with three girls again, but for me it was a grand old time. Nynke and Nina were great to have around and we had a lot of fun conversations when we could all find the time to hang out together.
As Nynke took more hours at the hotel, she spent less time in our room. Soon, she was debating whether she should get her own place or not. On one hand, it was a bit difficult living in such close quarters and not having too much personal space. On the other hand, she would save more money if she stayed. In the end, she decided to rent a room and try to live the life of a local. That was part of the reason she came to New Zealand in the first place so I think it was a good call in the end, even if it meant we’d be losing another housekeeper and friend.
After that refreshing dip in the Blue Pools, we arrived in Makarora. Our dorms were two A-frame-shaped building, which had an interesting look. Each room held about 10 single beds (yay, no bunk beds!), one bathroom and several heaters. In my opinion, we could’ve used a lot more. The farther south we went, the colder and colder it got.
After settling in and fixing ourselves some dinner, we all congregated in the small pub that was on the property and waited for the fun to begin. The four guys in the running for a free bungy jump had three more events to complete. The challenges included a pop quiz, a drinking contest and a karaoke contest. Despite the cold, I would not miss this for anything.
The quiz and drinking contest were mostly uneventful, especially because they were just drinking soft drinks. But, as you can imagine, the karaoke contest was full-on hilarity. I wish I could show you the video I took of the boys’ performances, but I promised Mo I wouldn’t do it so I guess I’ll have to live up to my vow. However, his performance of Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time” was pure genius. Who would’ve thought that this German guy who stands at about six-foot-six could embody the teenage pop star? It was simply incredible! (In his defense, he grew up with older sisters so I’m sure he had no say in what type of music played in the home.)
The other karaoke performances were absolutely horrible, and I’m not even judging from their singing voices. After Mo, they all seemed defeated. They didn’t put any effort into their performances and didn’t seem motivated. I do believe Mo blew them away and they just chose to give up. Some barely even sung with the music. Others made half-hearted attempts at choreography that were just sad.
In the end, after all the points were tallied, Mo won the free jump at Nevis. It was truly well deserved on his part.