Stuck in an Airbnb in Japan for 6 Hours With No WiFi and Television

Being trapped in an Airbnb for six hours and thinking that my friends could potentially be in serious trouble was not fun.

This is a story from 2017 when I went on a summer trip with three other friends to Osaka, Japan.

It was the second day of our trip.

After visiting multiple tourist locations and taking a nap, my friends wanted to explore the city some more. I was more hesitant because the weather report said that there was a 56 percent chance of raining.

We negotiated. I decided to stay, and they said they will come back to pick me up for dinner.

4:00 pm

My friends left the place.

Our Airbnb apartment was pretty small.

It had a T.V that has approximately seven Japanese channels (with no English subtitles).

My friends also took the pocket WiFi, our only source of internet connection, so they could navigate the city.

No T.V and no internet, I was off to a pretty good start.

6:00 pm

I kept myself entertained for the past two hours.

I read a book, danced around the room, and actually tried to watch the Japanese T.V that had no English subtitles.

My friends said they were going to check out the anime district in Nipponbashi, which was only one subway station away from our Airbnb. I figured they would spend two to three hours there and then come back.

6:08 pm

Boredom kicked in.

7:00 pm

It’s been three hours since my friends left, and I am hungry

Either my friend John, by his curious nature, decided to take a little extra time exploring the anime district, or the crew might have run into some kind of trouble.

I ended up eating my friend James’s leftover curry rice.

Don’t judge me. It was the only thing I found in our fridge.

8:00 pm

The boredom was driving me crazy.

I wanted to get out of my house, but there were two problems:

  1. The Airbnb only provided us with one key, and my friends took it.

  2. There was also the password for the lobby gate that James had on a piece of paper. My friends took that too. F*ck.

8:20 pm

I found a show on T.V that featured Athletic Japanese women going through obstacle courses. Yes! Something you don’t need to know the foreign language to watch!

9:00 pm

It has been five hours since I have been stuck in Airbnb.

Some serious sh*t could have happened.

Before my friends left, I made an offhand joke and said, “If you guys don’t come back by 10 pm, I will assume you guys ran into some serious trouble and will call the police.”

There was only one more hour before 10 pm. I was getting really nervous, but I knew I needed the plan to help me cope with the situation.

Here was the plan. In the worst-case scenario, I will have to go to the police station, which was a 20 minutes walk away. There was still the problem with the apartment door and the lobby gate. How am I going to come back afterward?

Our apartment door does not automatically lock itself after closing. You have to use your keys to manually lock it from the outside. On the other hand, Japan is one of the safest places in the world. If I were to leave my apartment door unlocked, the chances that one of our neighbors would break into our apartment were pretty low.

As for the lobby gate, I planned to wait outside of the building for a resident that could potentially give me the password. However, I have to go out eat an actual meal first because the leftover curry rice was not enough.

There was also a chance that nothing really happened to my friends, and they might come back to the Airbnb while I am out eating.

To deal with that scenario, I wrote a letter and left it at the counter of our kitchen table. Aside from a ton of swear words, the letter states that I will be eating outside and told them to send one person to wait for me in front of our Airbnb building at 11 pm (Just in case I don’t run into any residents later).

10:00 pm

I left the house and saw a small group of Chinese tourists trying to get into the building. The right thing to do would have been to go up to them and ask for help. However, I was already pretty far away from the building when I saw them. It would require me to run all the way back and yell after them to stop before they went into the lobby.

I didn’t. My fear got the better of me.

10:15 pm

I went into what I hoped was a ramen shop located right around the corner.

It wasn’t a ramen shop.

The noodles and the broth were served separately, and you were supposed to dip the noodle into the salty broth to eat it. It tasted alright, but it was no ramen.

It was interesting how they had two cameras set right outside of the shop, which you can view on the big screens inside the shop.

The two cameras were directed at the intersection where the subway station exit is located, and my friends will probably through there on their way home. I stared at the screen the entire time while I ate my noodles.

10:45 pm

I went back to wait outside the Airbnb building.

11:00 pm

A couple of people passed by. None of them were residents of the building.

It was getting a little lonely at night.

11:05 pm

A black car pulled over. An elderly Japanese man came out followed by a younger Southeast Asian lady.

They tenderly kissed each other and said their goodnights.

I was only sitting 20 feet away from them when it happened. They probably knew I saw them.

The old man departed in the black car, and the lady walked towards the Airbnb building. Ohhh she lives here too, I thought, this is probably the most awkward moment to ask someone for help.

I went up to her anyway and explained my situation. Thankfully, she was a really cool person and also speaks English. After hearing my situation, she decided to help me out.

11:10 pm

Got to the floor I lived on and saw my friends were leaving the apartment to look for me. Those f**kers!

At least they saw the letter.

11:15 pm

My friends told me they got lost coming back.

Unbelievable! They had three people and the pocket WiFi!

After apologizing profusely, I forgave them.


Life is unfair. It will always find ways to mess with us from time to time.

Through this experience, I felt like I got better at handling the problems life throws at me. When you realize that panicking doesn’t help anybody, you can be calm and develop strategic plans to cope with tough situations.

I also learned that having smarter friends could have prevented the problem haha.

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Thanks for reading!

-George 🐙