Every available inch of floor and wall space has been given over to futons and bunk beds in the Limelight rider house’s tiny dormitories, and in mine, quite apart from the chorus of snoring, the light was on until two or three in the morning while another guest was reading manga, and at the crack of dawn came the chime from that most objectionable of devices, an alarm-clock-with-snooze-feature.
In the old days, if one had to get up at a particular time the following morning, one utilised a wind-up alarm clock with a tiny swinging hammer and two bells on the top, which when it sounded was loud enough to rouse not just the neighbours, but quite possibly the neighbours’ neighbours as well. Nowadays, though, one is blessed with alarm clocks that go off at the allotted time, but which allow one to then poke one’s hand out from beneath the duvet and press the ‘snooze’ button. A few minutes later the alarm sounds again and the process is repeated, ad infinitum or until one decides that enough is enough and that one really should get out of bed if one isn’t going to be late for work / school / one’s appointment at the job centre.
Now, correct me if I’m wrong – and some readers of this blog who are fond of and / or reliant on the snooze feature may disagree with me here – but if, from the outset, it is perfectly feasible for you to get up an hour later than the initial time at which your alarm goes off, then WHY THE BLOODY HELL DIDN’T YOU SET YOUR STUPID BLOODY ALARM-CLOCK-WITH-SNOOZE-FEATURE TO GO OFF AN HOUR LATER IN THE FIRST BLOODY PLACE!!! Instead of being woken up stupidly early, and then every five minutes for the following hour, why not allow yourself – and anyone else who happens to be sleeping in the same room as you – ANOTHER HOUR OF PEACEFUL, UNINTERRUPTED SLEEP, YOU COMPLETE AND UTTER SMEGHEAD!!!
But anyway, my tiredness was counteracted at least partly by a breakfast of homemade bread and fresh coffee, which I savoured while sitting at the kitchen table, chatting to the other guests, watching TV and petting the Limelight’s official canine mascots, Mitsu and Lime.
The talk that morning was of the tabéhohdai (食べ放題 / all-you-can-eat) deals that are a speciality of the restaurants in Hakodaté. One group of cyclists was thinking of tackling a tabéhohdai that requires the consumption of two kilos of food (per person, that is) in twenty minutes. If a diner manages this, as well as getting the food itself for free, he or she is presented with ten kilos of potatoes – a somewhat ungainly prize for a touring cyclist, it has to be said.
Another group was contemplating the six-kilos-of-curry (not per person, I assume) challenge at Lucky Pierrot, a famous restaurant where I ended up having lunch, although I settled for a more modest and easily digestible scallop burger, fries and milkshake.
‘Where are you now? And how many of you are there? I see. Do you know the way? OK, we’ll be waiting for you. If you get lost then do call again, won’t you?’
She and her partner supplemented our supermarket-bought food with edamamé, octopus, squid, mackerel, crisps, satsumas and chocolate. We were also provided with shohchu from a plastic bottle at just ten yen a shot, and partly because of this, one guest fell asleep on the floor before the end of the evening – you can see him in this picture, along with the aforementioned manageress, manager, Mitsu and Lime.