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Hostels versus hotels

'What measures do you think hostels and guesthouses in Osaka should take against hotels?'

asked a serious Taiwanese student.

He came over from Wakayama to meet his acquaintance in Osaka City. During his stay here at Guest House Ioly Osaka, he chatted with the other guests, and he chatted and drank with me. Both nights down at the lounge, he distributed his crisps so he could share them with the other guests. One of them was a mature Japanese gentleman who had been to Taiwan a few times, so they had a good time chatting about Japan and Taiwan among others.

He came to Japan right after he finished with the army in Taiwan which he served for four years, and he's been with the Japanese language school in Wakayama for a year now. He admitted that he hadn't studied Japanese before he came over here, so it's really amazing that he now can speak Japanese and make himself understood! Of course there are some words he does not know or some pronunciation he might want to work on, but his Japanese is definitely at a level where he can communicate with native Japanese speakers. He even employed some slang, such as 'tameguchi' and 'meccha'! They mean, 'speaking to someone in a casual manner' and 'extremely', respectively.

That must come from his constant effort; he kept taking notes on his smartphone every time he hears new words and phrases.

Also, he boasts that he is the best student in his class. His classmates tend to stick with other classmates from their own countries, so their Japanese improves rather slowly, he claims. His Japanese teacher seems to understand the gap of her students' Japanese levels, and she speaks to him faster with higher level Japanese than to his fellow students!

After he graduates from the Japanese language school next spring, he says he wants to go to a technical college in Osaka City to learn about hotel business, and eventually hopes to get a job at a hotel in Japan. Then comes the question he asked at the beginning of this article. Apparently, that is one question they ask in the hotel job interview, and he wanted my opinion.

My answer to the question was 'they don't need to do anything.'

I explained that they'd choose a hotel if they wanted good service and privacy, and they'd choose a hostel if they wanted some interaction with other people for low fees, so no measurement is specially needed.

He seemed to get the point, but it struck me as funny that although he wants to work at a hotel, he's interacting with me and other guests here at a guesthouse. I might have ended up confusing him more!

His mask: Made in Taiwan.





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