A world-conquering start-up finds itself lost in translation in Tokyo

The more we talked with Miki, the more I wanted to go lie on her couch in front of her knickknack cabinet and wait for the next warm meal. My place, Ultimate Tokyo-Sized Experience!!, turned out to be clean and quiet (as advertised) but also strange and lonely. It was a spare, single bedroom, not more than eight feet wide, with a narrow foldout futon, a minifridge, minitelevision and minimicrowave and a flimsy door, behind which was a bathroom just big enough to fit a body. Like a lot of Airbnb listings, it was rented as “entire place” rather than “private room,” which meant no host was in residence. But in this case, I’m not sure any host was ever in residence. The listing was run by some sort of conglomerate or management company, and checking in involved no human interaction whatsoever. To get there, I carried my luggage up a neon-lit hill — past something called Hotel Fifteen Love, past places called Pub Slow Jam, Adult Shop Joyful and Baby Doll and a pet store that sold fluffed-up puppies and kittens and still somehow managed to look seedy — to the concrete apartment building where it was located. The door was unlocked. A key had been left inside. I had no idea where I’d landed. Read full article. 

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