Oh, Japan. It may be a relatively small island, but one with a massive appeal – from its entertainment and tourism to its technology, Japan can’t seem to be pushed out of the spotlight in just about any industry. And of course, it manages to always stay relevant with its reputation for being a bit…weird.
This new hotel idea is certainly not an exception. But for a price like that, you have to admit almost anything is worth considering, right?
Let’s just cut to the chase. There’s a small family-run home accommodation business – what the Japanese traditionally call a ryokan – which is offering a room for just $1 a night, on one condition: a camera is installed in the room which remains on and active 24/7, and you agree to be filmed and have your activity during your stay live-streamed.
Okay, yes, there are many things that plenty (if not the majority) of people would not be okay with in this situation. But to cushion the awkwardness just a little bit, anyone going there is already aware of the camera and has agreed to it, which gives them a chance to act accordingly and have some control over what the camera sees and doesn’t see. The camera itself doesn’t have any view into the bathroom, as well – in fact, its focus is on the bed with the intention of showing what people look like when they sleep.
You have to admit, you’re a little curious, right?
Let’s examine this situation from another angle. It’s weird – no arguments here. But the family running the Asahi Ryokan in the Japanese city of Fukuoka were looking for ways to grow business, and they came up with a unique and, for all intents and purposes, harmless idea. So why shouldn’t they – and if someone wants to travel on a budget who isn’t worried about their sleeping face being viewable on YouTube, they might as well take the deal.
Of course, there’s more to the story. As it turns out, the family business has been struggling for years, and it was their younger son who realized he would need to come up with new incentives to bring visitors back to their ryokan. The idea came from a British guest who livestreamed his own stay there, with lots of success.
The ryokan is still owned by his grandmother, and her grandson in charge of running the hotel hopes that this can help her business.