Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian & Surf Fenlator-Victorian (international bobsledders)

Special Interview

“KARIO KAMATA is our second home. The best place to feel a real local spirit of Tokyo.”

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian &
Surf Fenlator-Victorian
(international bobsledders)

A new accommodation style called “Minpaku” is becoming hot topic for discussion all over Japan. KARIO KAMATA is neither a hotel nor an apartment. It's like a vacation rental accommodation. The space design at KARIO KAMATA is extraordinarily stunning and makes guests feel very comfortable. Once you get a room key at the check-in counter, there will be no one disturbing your stay. So that makes you feel like “living in your own home.” All what you need including free-wifi, furniture, dishes, and bedding is fully furnished and allows you to travel light. The entire building is a unique accommodation for travelers owned by KARIO KAMATA so you can stay safe and have fun.

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Many travelers might assume that staying in Tokyo would cost a lot and on top of that, what they get is just cramped rooms because they think that everything is small in Japan. If you are one of them, you may want to check out KARIO KAMATA designed for long stay travelers from all over the world. The best part is that you can get all access to experience both a noisy city life and a real local life of Tokyo from there. Now let's find out how this place looks like through the voice of the world travel married couple also known as international bobsled athletes, Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Surf Fenlator-Victorian. For this trip, they stayed at ROOM 502 for 10 days.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian & Surf Fenlator-Victorian

Who is this beautiful couple?

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian is a 2014 Winter Olympic Bobsled Driver, raised in New Jersey, and has been involved in bobsled for around 10 years. Since she has her dual citizenship as both a Jamaican and American, she moved to join the Jamaican Bobsled Federation in 2015 in order to have more diversity in the sport.

Surf Fenlator-Victorian, raised in Hawaii, competed in the Decathlon event at the World Athletic Championships in Berlin in 2009 as a member of the American Samoa team. He started involved in bobsledding after watching the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Both are now working hard to compete for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang as a Jamaican bobsled team. This time, they came to Japan for the press conference toward the next Olympics and testing their new sleds made by Japanese local factories called “Shitamachi Bobsleigh.”

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How is your stay at KARIO KAMATA?

J) When we got here after such a long travel, this place is perfect. We live out of our suitcase. When we go places around the world, it's always packed. But here, we feel almost like another home. To have a place that looks like a home made us very comfortable.

S) When we got here, it was better than pictures. It’s very modern but sleek. It's amazing. Just amazing.

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“We have everything we need with enough space. We don't need extra. It's perfect.”

What do you think about the room?

J) I'd like to call it a tiny cute home. Every space is utilized for what's necessary without extra. I love the loft idea so you can separate sleeping and resting from the rest of the areas.

S) It's perfect for what we need. The table is big enough to put a lot of things on it. The space is perfect because it's compact so you have enough room to get by.

What’s your favorite part of Kario Kamata?

S) My favorite part is the bed. It's very very comfortable. Normally when we go travel, the bed is not that good. Also, I love the window. When we wake up, the sun doesn’t hit us but we can see the sun coming through and it brings the place alive.

J) I'm actually really impressed with the bathroom because it has a modern style of saving space and energy. There are a small tub and a shower floor separately. Then I noticed the control panel to dry clothes and the fan in there. Right next door to the bathroom, there is a washer. So it's very convenient.

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What do you think about the room space?

S) When they travel from the USA and Canada, they expect big space but they never use that amount of space. It doesn't really make sense. So this is economical but beautiful at the same time.

J) Actually, the way the closet is hidden has such a nice sleek look. I was placing shoes in the hall way. Then he reminded me “That's the closet right there.” I almost forgot. This closet is so big. We put some stuff in there. You don't expect those things in a smaller space but this ended up being a huge space.

What fascinates you about Japan?

J) To be honest I love Ota Ward, this area in general. The people and businesses are so welcoming and so polite. I love adventuring through just the cultures being able to walk into a street with real people, not in a touristy place. That also makes us feel more home.

You've been to Japan a couple times already so you must have been to many areas such as Shibuya and Shinjyuku. Which area would you prefer?

S) I come from the countryside. So I just tend to be where less people are and to be by beach because that's how I grew up. This area is one of our favorite. It's just different from big cities. More lay-back. It's closer to how we grew up.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian & Surf Fenlator-Victorian

What's your recommended place to go in Kamata?

J) I love the restaurant “KATAGIRI” two buildings away from here. The couple owns the meat shop and the small restaurant. We went there at our first evening just to grab a drink and relax. Last night we almost spent three hours there talking. Not only their food and drinks but the vibes are really special.

S) For me, I don't think it's a place. It's more with the people. For two nights, we had a party with the Shitamachi people. Whenever we are all together, that is my favorite because Kamata has become more life to me.

How did you cross paths with Shitamachi Bobsleigh?

S) I was on a social media. I had seen there was a post that the Japanese team rejected the sled made by Shitamachi Bobsleigh. The post said, “Anybody else wants this bobsled?” For me, yeah we need a bobsled. So I brought it up to Jazmine and said we should look into it. Then she took it to our president.

What's your goal as a bobsledder?

J) Our goals are pretty high expectations because we are very competitive. So we want to be as physically fit as possible. We know that the Shitamachi group will have the best sled as possible. Our goal is always win. No matter what level we are, we want to be the best to win.

Surf Fenlator-Victorian

Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation made a partnership with Shitamachi Bobsleigh in 2016. Shitamachi Bobsleigh is a passionate local volunteer community based in Ota Ward where more than 100 local factories take hands together to make a sled for Team Jamaica.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian & Surf Fenlator-Victorian

“I think that KARIO KAMATA is the place to show you the real face of Japan.”

This is your last question. Any message for travelers who want to visit Japan?

J) Obviously my recommendation would be Ota Ward, Kamata, and Kario Kamata. Also I think when you're a traveler, you're always looking for not only something different but also something that makes you feel at home. This is the place. It's different, exciting, and in the great area. You feel so comfortable that you can almost stay here all the time. Especially if you're a business person, I would think that after being in business in the cities, you just want to be a little bit out and relax and have your own time. I believe that this is the spot to do that.

S) Stay in KARIO KAMATA! I would always suggest to stay here because you're close enough to get to everything but you're far enough to remove to see people of Tokyo and to see how life really is. You're close enough to go to the beach from here but also you're close more into the cities.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian & Surf Fenlator-Victorian

For reservation, click here.
*Jazmine and Surf stayed at ROOM 502 for this trip.

The key chains

The key chains designed for room keys at KARIO KAMATA are made by Showa Seisakusho, the Shitamachi Bobsleigh community members. The logo and room number are engraved in the test piece. You will feel passion of Japanese local factories through such appealing key chains.