Sleepless in Osaka, Japan

“Meru?” Jenni glared at me as I tried to rattle off my most polished formal Japanese to a confused Osakan concierge.

“It’s fine. It’s fine!” I muttered back. The concierge kept glancing from me to Greg, my 6’5″ husband, and our Australian travel buddy, Jenni. “There’s no rooms? None at all?” I asked him again.

“No, I’m very sorry. There is a major event this weekend.” The man bowed and went back to the ringing phones behind his desk.

Gulping, I plastered a grin on my face and turned to the others, “Well, let’s call some other hotels.” Jenni and Greg moaned. I should have known better. It was Japan after all, the land of Rising with the sun, since we might have to sleep on the streets tonight. Dueling cell phones chirping like angry sparrows, we went down the list of hotels in our borrowed phonebook. “No. That one is book too.” The others shook their heads.

I trudged to the marble desk and handed the phone book over with both hands, bowing low. “Thank you. Sorry to have bothered you this late.” I shouldered my backpack and tried to remember the safest district. Japan was safe, but we were pressing our luck even with a hulk of a gaijin husband.

“Well, we have one room.” The concierge said hand over his mouth. He pushed a piece of letterhead across the ornate counter. “Please write here what you can pay.”

“Uh, hang on.” I told the others what was going on and their disbelief washed over my own. “Well? How much?”

We came up with a low sum. None of us had much cash left after a day of sightseeing and hard core shopping. I flipped the figure over and pushed it graciously back to the man. He picked up his phone and dialed. The others turned baffled eyes to me. “I don’t know what he’s saying. He’s using the Osaka dialect.” I whispered.

Moments later, a bellhop stripped us of our bags and with a bow, the concierge said, “Have a pleasant stay.” The price was agreeable, evidently. We spent the night in their Japanese style penthouse room for a measly hundred US dollars instead of on the streets of Osaka.

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