TRIP | OSAKA : that time when you were helped by all the gran’mas of the neighborhood to break into your airbnb house [J-Spring16]

That title, tho… An essay in itself. Anyway, here I am in Osaka, 5th stopoff of my journey and 5th article of the self-imposed challenge 7 articles in 7 “days”. On the menu of these few days, many strolls, some banditry with – among other things – a story in the “japanese gran’mas are awesome” collection.

OSAKA : that time you were helped by all the gran’mas of the neighborhood to break into your airbnb house

I booked a house on AirBnb, for something like 10 $ a night. I was mainly interested in the price and the location ; the size wasn’t a major criterion but still, I was excited to have a big house for myself.

I made the booking around mid-February, for a stay from 27 to 31 March. 5 days before arrival, the host contacted me to ask if I was okay to share the house with other people. In my head, I’m like “mmWell… It depends on the people in question, if you’re talking about 5 young English ladies, I won’t like it”*. But since it was a Chinese guy by himself and the owner had assured me we would have our 430 sqf floor each, I gave my agreement.

*Sorry if it hurts your feelings but I’ve always found english women to be very… wild… when in group.

3 days later, he tells me the guy eventually canceled so I’ll be alone. Then the next day, the departure day, he announces that in fact no, all in all there’s a Korean girl who’s coming from 30th to 31st of March. I reply “okay understood” (but in my head, I thought “I see it’s free now. Yes one time equals Yes forever). Then I get ready, take my train to Osaka, arrive at the place. The owner had warned me he wouldn’t be there so he gave me instructions to take the key that was in the mailbox, closed by a code padlock.

First obstacle : there’s no way to turn the padlock numbers to align everything and put the correct code. After 10 min, a first granny comes to help me, without success. Then two more arrive, and we all struggle together. One of them happens to unlock the system and therefore asks me the code. 「000」I answer. I felt she was skeptical…


She put this complex code, eventually opening the padlock and oooooooh!… No key. I take out my computer to connect to Airbnb and find out the owner sent me a message when I was on the train, telling me that 2 Indonesian girls were coming that day. The first granny had actually told me that 2 people were there. Not understanding Japanese perfectly, I thought she said I was going to share the house with other people, which was normal to me since the owner had asked for my approval. I didn’t realized she actually wanted to say that two people had arrived before me.

At this moment, I couldn’t hold my exasperation and was sighing very hard non-stop. When you’re in Japan, especially as a foreign tourist, you try to be cool and contain your moods. But quite franckly, I was pissed. The grandmas along with two other moms – who had stopped out of curiosity and then offered their help – offered to call the guy. But since he wasn’t answering, they called neighborhood people one after another to know if they didn’t know the baker’s friend’s neighbor’s daughter… You know… the whole chain to help me. They even stalked him on Facebook.

They end up having him on the phone and explain the situation by exaggerating, like “she’s been waiting for hours (when I just waited 45 minutes), it’s cold, she is super loaded, poor girl (when I only had 10 kg, at most), the night is falling, she looks very tired from her long trip…”. So the guy said he would contact the 2 ladies so they contact me.

The funny part : the first granny laughs suddenly. She runs into her house and then returns almost immediately. She heads to premises next to my airbnb, and comes out with a big bunch of keys. With a little smirk she said “I don’t know if it will work but if it does, you all SHUT YOUR MOUTHS!!”. In this bunch there was a double of the front door key! We all screamed a “yokattaaaaa”* of relief and I performed the biggest bow, “arigatou gozaimaaaaaaasu”* style… Extremely relieved.


But extremely mad.

* yeaaaaaaah (great!/ at last!)
* thank you very much

With the group, we were commenting on the situation, saying “above all, nobody knows nothing, nobody has seen anything okay?”… Then one of the grannies said “luckily you’re small and cute because otherwise I wouldn’t have acknowledged your ass”. Then one added “true. If you were a 6 ft 5 guy, we wouldn’t have come to help”… Which made me laugh! At the end, the first grandma offered to bring me some tea. And 5 minutes later, she comes back with a hot mug of tea and a packet of biscuits 🙂

A few hours later, I meet the owner who went out of his way to get the keys and give them to me as quickly as possible. He even offered to refund the first night and pay a night at a hotel (which I refused as I was inside). When he arrived, we talked about random stuff, he apologized profusely and then asked the fateful question:

But… How did you get in?

I replied I had no idea, I was concentrated on my computer and I let the grannies manage the situation. When I lifted my head up, it was open… He didn’t insist.

Apart from that, Osaka?

– Monday 28 and Tuesday 29, March –

In a few words: random walks to soak up the overall atmosphere, do some shopping and take pictures. Attempt to eat some carpaccio but the japanese beef is too fat : it’s ideal when cooked because it melts in your mouth… but raw? beuaark. 50 ¥ drinks in the nearest vending machine, unbeatable. ⇨ My 「TENGACHAYA ❴天下茶屋❵」Album

– Wednesday, March 30 –

Done nothing. I did not leave until 5:30 pm, for a nocturnal trip, the idea being to rally the house to my favorite and eat an Oyako Don. ⇨ My 「Namba ❴なんば❵」Album

– Thrusday, March 31 –

Last day in Osaka and departure for Nara. I clean a little bit, then I go to Namba in order to wander around and also collect the shoes I ordered from an Onitsuka Tiger shop 3 days earlier (they didn’t have my size at this time ).

I arrive at the counter and present my receipt, the seller goes pick up my article. He comes back, I try one last time, everything is perfect so I go to the checkout. The saleswoman asks for my passport and when she sees my working holiday visa, she makes me understand that I won’t have the tax refund.

You have one year visa, we can’t do anything.

I couldn’t give the exact numbers but I remember that the difference in price wasn’t negligible. So I played the pity card by showing them my return flight ticket of April 5, 2016.

Yes, I have a one year visa but I won’t stay the whole year…. I leave in a week.

And it worked! What this return ticket didn’t indicate is that I already planned to come back, gniiiihihihi.

What I write here in one sentence took me 1 hour in the shop, because it was necessary to call the manager, then the manager’s manager, then the big boss. I had to put my hollywood act so the staff would pity me. But that worked! I felt between satisfaction and guilt… with brand new sneakers at my feet: p

And I know what you’re thinking : “you’re proud, huh?! You gonna make us look bad, sheeesh”… Sowwy ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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