Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Checkout hr591

I got up early in the morning on the last day of my latest trip. The reason was simple; I was going to the hotel’s exclusive fitness club one last time before the checkout invalidated my free ticket. I passed through the heavy double doors of the club again and the clerk ushered me as a personal guide as it happened last night. Since the spa and the locker room don’t open until noon, there is a special locker room for a member who uses the pool in the morning. It was much smaller, but robes, towels and amenities were fully provided. The morning light liberally came in through the glass-dome ceiling and filled up the poolside. I had the large pool facility all to myself again, the whole morning through. It seemed as if the gorgeous pool was reserved just for me. I doubted if Bill Gates even had this scale of luxury. I saw my room through the glass ceiling and spotted my partner who was standing by the window. While I was taking a Jacuzzi on the poolside, I waved at him. He waved back and looked a little sad because he couldn’t enjoy this free treat due to his atopic eczema. On one hand I felt sorry for him; on the other hand, I enjoyed to the maximum such a luxurious, refreshing, and dreamy time that I had never had before. After I took a shower in the elegant shower booth, I left the club. It was about noon and I passed the members who were coming in. It is said that the gap between the rich and the poor is generally small in Japan. I had thought there weren’t so many mega-rich people in Japan as in the States until I came here. But now I realized quite a few mega-rich Japanese people existed, as I actually saw the members who apparently paid the five-digit membership fee. I hadn’t known that because they lived in a different world from me like in this club. I wondered if I could ever visit this club again and wished strongly for that. I came back to my room, packed in a great hurry and checked out. I didn’t forget to have expensive coffee and tea for free one more time at the hotel’s privileged lounge before I left. The receptionist was the same person and got familiar since I came here three days in a row. She knew I used the lounge for free and I felt embarrassed. When I left the hotel, I missed it more than ever now that I experienced the fitness club. I got to another shopping mall by train, bought a skirt 80 percent off and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant that we rarely find in Japan. As the mall is adjacent to Tokyo Disney Resort, I saw the fireworks of the park from the mall for free. I took a train again to Tokyo Station and looked around the shopping area while I was waiting for the bullet train on which I had booked the seat. Just when I was looking, half-off stickers began to be put on packages of sushi. I got one of those and had it on the bullet train with the leftover wine from the hotel that I had brought in a plastic bottle. Although I was exhausted from lack of sleep and swimming, I really wanted to do this trip over from the beginning. I pondered when it would be that I could take a trip like this one. While I recalled the heavenly sensation I had when I was swimming alone in the pool inside that fitness club, the bullet train ran through several long tunnels and sent me back in my town that was packed in deep snow. I took a cab to my apartment. It was a blizzard. I could see nothing but hammering snow out the windshield of the cab. With that near zero visibility, the cab was running into darkness at breakneck speed toward my accustomed world…

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Another World hr590

At the end of a glass corridor in the hotel, there were heavy double doors painted to imitate marble. It was an entrance to the hotel’s outrageously expensive exclusive fitness club although its appearance was rather like some shady bar. I mentioned the membership fee is expensive, but the degree of expensive far exceeds my definition of expensive. It’s a five-digit matter. I was standing at the doors holding a magic piece of paper that nullified the fee. It was given at the front desk when I checked in as I was staying here with a special low-priced promotion that included the free use of the club. I pushed the heavy doors open with my trembling hand. I prepared myself for a counter, but instead I saw a huge vase of flowers majestically sit on the center of a small hexagonal room. The club spares this space just to welcome a member. Walking into the next room, I finally found the reception desk behind which two clerks were standing. I handed them my magic ticket and they told me the club rules. Those were common rules such as no tattoos, no makeup, and a shower before a tub, but required my signature on the paper. Then, the clerk acted as a guide and courteously ushered me to an exclusive elevator at the back of the reception room. The elevator door opened to a member lounge and a member restaurant. Beside them, round marble stairs led to an entrance to the locker room. Along the carpeted hallway, several private massage rooms lined. Rows of lockers were surrounded by luxurious tables, chairs, and benches. Each locker had a display and the key was digital, by entering numbers of my choice on the pad. Inside, I saw a purple robe neatly folded. Up to this point, the place was already much more gorgeous than any club that characters of Michael Douglas had used in the movies. Since the club rule strictly indicated to wear the robe in the locker room area, additional purple robes of all sizes were abundantly stacked on the shelves, like at an apparel shop, not to mention fresh soft face towels and bath towels, which were all free to use as many as I liked. After my personal guide left, I removed my makeup at the spacious powder room section. All kinds of high-end amenity I’d never seen were arrayed with cottons, tissue and a hair dryer on the dressing tables with sets of mirrors. I was looking around restlessly like a bumpkin and went in the pool. It had a glass dome roof above and wooden tables and deck chairs, shower booths, a sauna, a Jacuzzi and a tanning bed on the poolside. On the edge of the big pool, there were wide round stairs to get into water that looked like an edge of a stage. Except for a pool side clerk who stood behind the counter and politely greeted me, no one was there. I monopolized the heavenly place, swimming, taking a Jacuzzi, looking out a night view of skyscrapers and streets. When I was leaving, a fresh towel was handed by the clerk. Next to the pool was the spa. It had both a Finnish sauna and a steam sauna beside a hot tub, a cold plunge and shower booths. I got in them repeatedly and used imported shampoo by an amount I never used daily. By then, I was dying of thirst and went out to the locker room area for some water. Beyond the powder room section was a relaxation section that had a circle of five or six robotic massage chairs. On the wall, I found something like a water cooler. I took a paper cup and my eyes popped out with surprise. What looked like a water dispenser was a free soda fountain! A wide variety of quality-brand soft drinks such as sports drink, 100% fruit juice and soda came out for free. While I was gulping down eight cups of all kinds, I was quite certain that I had somewhere died and was in heaven now. I spent three hours in total, which wasn’t enough to look at the gym, the indoor tennis courts, the indoor driving range and the putting greens. I wondered how happy I would be if I could live in this completely different world from the one I knew. I also duly knew I was only a visitor who had to leave since I can’t possibly think of a way to be a resident of that totally heavenly world…

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