Cultural References


When Godai was chasing Kyoko all over Japan, they finally met up in a Japanese-style in or "ryokan". These buildings differ greatly from American hotels as you will see in the following bits of information.

When you enter a ryokan or any Japanese house be sure to:

1. Take your shoes off just as you walk in the entrance (right before where the slippers are placed) and put on the slippers. The slippers are used for walking inside the ryokan on the corridor, lobby, dining hall and to the bath. The shoes are handled by the ryokan and will be placed at the entrance when you wish to go out. For short strolls near the ryokan you can use the ryokan's sandal or geta (wooden clogs.)

2. Unlike western style hotel, ryokan are not open around the clock. The front lobby and entrance will close at a certain time. Confirm that time and if you should forsee a delay, inform the ryokan of this. Futhermore, the check-in/check-out times differ with various ryokans so it's wise to confirm this with the ryokan.

When you open the door to your room take off your slippers before getting on to the tatami (straw mat floor.) Do not walk on the tatami with your slippers. The tatami is always tread upon barefoot or with your socks. The rule of thumb is you can squat or lie down on the tatami. In a standard Japanese room there willl be a table and cushions (zabuton). Also yukata (robe) is provided for each person. Use this as a robe as well as a pajama and you can go out of your room in the yukata. During cold periods you will also be provided with an outer robe (tanzen) to wear over the yukata. Always wear the tanzen over the yukata, and not the other way around.

On the wall side of the room, there will be tokonoma (alcove) and at the window there is a shoji (paper slidding screen.) You should remember that the tokonoma is for placing flower vases and hanging scrolls and is not to be used as a storage room: please inquire as to where to place your luggage. The shoji is made of paper, therefore, on rainy days or at night be sure to close the outside glass window.

In ryokan you wont find a bed ..... normally Japanese will sleep on the futon. Sleeping on quilts laid out directly on the tatami (straw mat) will give a different experience from sleeping on beds.

Relevance to Maison Ikkoku

After chasing Kyoko all over Japan, Godai has a fateful encounter with his beloved Manager at a local royakan.

An Introduction to Maison Ikkoku