I´ve stumbled into the most unconventional hotel I´ve ever been to. On the southern tip of Shikoku, where there is mostly coast and forest and old people, suddenly “Kaiyu” appears. “Kaiyu” is ugly from the outside. It is a 50s (or 60s or 70s) concrete building, like the hotels they plastered along the Spanish mediterranean coast. Not very appealing.
The owner Matsu and his family have remodeled the whole thing – in an unorthodox way. Inside you find orginal 50s furniture mixed with Japanese tatami mats, shells, old bottles, herbs, Japanese children books, poetry from Pablo Neruda – everything finds its way into “Kaiyu”. All the rooms are differently designed. When you walk in the rooms or the lobby you feel like in a stylish architecture magazine. Beautiful vintage furniture mixed with a sloppy attitude, that´s what the hotel is to me.
The hallways are packed with things that might be used one day. The elevator is out of order and the walls and balconies have seen better times. But the sloppiness, coolness and the old furniture go well together.
Did you ever read the book “Dance, dance, dance” of Haruki Murakami, in which a desperate man gets stranded in a surreal hotel? A hotel between the real and the other world. This is how I feel here. When I go down to the lobby in the evening it´s pitch dark, just some little lights go on, so I won´t stumble. The hallways are dark, just in front of my room a light goes on when I get there. I hear a door banging. I know there are two other guests there. But where are they? The building has about seven floors. Any minute some strange character out of a Murakami book will appear.
It´s hard to capture a place like this on photos. I´ve tried it. Here we go:
TO BE CONTINUED…