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July 29, 2005

I become a Pod Person

Guam was great. But I'll get to that in a moment...First, let me update you on the quintessentially Japanese experience of staying in a capsule hotel.

After work last Thursday, I grabbed my stuff and walked up to the train station. True to form, I packed too much...I don't know what my problem is. After all the traveling I've done, you'd think that I could pare down what I bring, and survive. But anyway, that's my problem, not yours.


I rode up to Shinjuku, about 10 stops up on the rapid express, and following the directions I downloaded, made my way through the crowded streets to the Big Lemon Capsule Hotel, little more than five minutes away. I took the lift to the 7th floor reception area, got out, and walked on in. Promptly, the guy behind the counter started waving his hands in front of his face which I took to mean "Irashaimase!" Actually, it meant, "Don't come in here with your dirty shoes on, stupid gaijin!" So, I took them off, and put them in one of the lockers by the door.

Once I'd "gomenesai'd" my way out of the initial faux pas, I bought a ticket (3800 yen) for a capsule overnight stay, and gave it to the attendant. He in turn handed me a purple shirt, a pair of pink shorts, and a green towel, and let me stash my bags in the corner. He then led me to another set of lockers where I changed into my new "capsule suit."


After changing into my suit, I found my way to cube number 572, and took a look at the new home for the night. About four feet by four feet by seven feet, it had a thin mattress, pillow, blanket, sheets, and a small console TV radio combination. I couldn't figure out how the sound on the TV worked, but that was ok. I took a few pictures in and out of it, and then went to look around.

My cube...

There was also a bathroom with a lot of disposable personal hygeine items like razors, teethbrushes, soap, shampoo, etc. Basically, everything you needed was there...It was set up so drunk businessmen could stumble in, get a cube, sleep a couple of hours, and get up, clean up, buy a new shirt and underwear (there was a vending machine for that), and go back to work. Ingenious.

Moseying up to the 8th floor, I found a TV room with lazy-boy style chairs (rentable overnight for 1200 yen), a big screen TV, a tatami room, and a bar. Grabbing a stool, I fumbled out some Japanese food related words, and somehow got some soba noodles and a beer. I ate, drank, and watched tv for a while, before, in anticipation of an early morning, retired to my capsule. While heading back downstairs, I passed a sumo-like guy in a cube, snoring away. I couldn't resist snapping a shot of him with my camera phone. Hard to believe he fit in there...


Then, I peeked out the window at bustling's an area with quite a few bars and other late night establishments, and upon waking and heading to the station at about 5 AM the next morning, people (mostly younger folks) were still out in force, getting ready to go to work.


My foot in my cube...


I cubed myself, closed the curtain, and got a pretty decent nights sleep. At about 4:30, I got up, and made my way to the onsen (hot bath) room, got myself a stool, and washed up at the low shower. Then, I got dressed, got my things, and headed out.

Posted by djf on July 29, 2005 01:07 PM
Category: Other Travels...

Oh my gosh...this is hilarious! You had me in tears! You look like a new patient at the Cuckoo's Nest...I love it! Glad you got outta there safely with all your belongings. Say, did they let you keep those duds as a souvenir? Did you feel a little bit like you were going to be transported to another dimension? Maybe hypersleep like Aliens? Thanks for the giggles! Be to you and Melody.

Posted by: Lisa on August 5, 2005 04:04 PM
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