Japan in a capsule hotel
This is part 3, read first part 1 and part 2!
It doesn’t take long to reach the small street where my hotel will host me for the night, but it’s long enough to make me feel lost. It isn’t the worst sensation ever, since I feel like a rolling stone (Bob Dylan would be so proud of me) and I reach my capsule hotel safe and sound. They greet me, they ask me politely to remove my stinky shoes and I’m ready to go upstairs.
I pass in front of the female section of the capsule hotel, then the Premium Capsule rooms and finally, I reach the male not-so-premium section.
As soon as I start exploring the capsules, I notice that:
- A. I forgot my shoes and the rest of my belongings at the reception
- B. I need to ask some questions.
The whole situation ends up with me using all the hand gestures I know and thanks to my Dory attitude, I have to come back downstairs (bowing 4 times) to collect my things more than once. This means repeating the points A and B above, but then I’m out in the open!
Saturday Night in Tokyo
For a moment, I forget I’m in Japan; the neighbourhood I’m staying in (Shinjuku) is perfect for a tourist to fit in. There aren’t many Japanese around, but a lot of British and American tourists. Soon I find out that the Asian girls around don’t want to offer me to enter a restaurant or sushi bar but to follow them for a ‘massage’ in some strange motels.
I would like to have a massage; I’m so tired that I’m dragging my legs like they are made of wood, but I think this ‘massages’ hide more than a good shiatsu technique. After a while, I’m pushed inside one of those places that say “I’m a touristic place, but let’s fake you don’t know that I know you know it”. The pros are that they speak English here, the service and the food are excellent. Cons: nothing; I’m happy with my face deep inside a miso soup bowl they gave me as a welcome dish.
Back in the capsule hotel
I’m tired, have a full belly, and am ready to sleep now. So I’m back in the capsule hotel, and it’s a world in miniature with people snoring and watching videos or playing games on their phones.
Pro-tip for anyone going to stay for a night in a capsule hotel:
Carry the earplugs with you.
It’s vital. Otherwise, you need to go to one of the masseurs and stay there for the night (but it costs more than a pair of earplugs, that’s for sure).
Or, as I discover now, you can download an app with nature sounds and some relaxing brainwaves. My experience in the centre of Tokyo was more similar to a videogame set in a rainforest, than the actual sounds of a capsule hotel. I always associate the tragopan satyra birdsong with Tokyo.
The capsule hotel is quite similar in almost every aspects the one every cabin crew long haul experienced in a CRC (crew rest compartment). It’s slightly more comfortable than a CRC, like a tiny little room and the best part is the toilet. Every time I went there, I found out a magic elf tidied up and cleaned the mess that inevitable was there (more than 20 adult males in a room aren’t that easy to manage).
Ready, steady, go
I wake up from my forest dream, ready to discover what the Japanese capsule hotel offers for breakfast. I eat a banana and steal another one for the trip ahead; then, with my backpack (and after a few bows to the receptionist), I leave to discover the city. It’s Sunday morning and it’s hard for me to realise there are the same streets packed with tourists and masseurs I walked in the night.
I didn’t sleep much in the capsules, but the spirit of the forest in the App I used provided me with some unexpected energies. I even catch the right metro and direction in less than a minute. Wow, I have to pat my shoulders.
I’m ready to explore the famous Imperial Palace in Tokyo!
Yes, it’s shut, epic fail.
The best part is that going there in the morning, I used the free wi-fi to check the Italian football calendar, the temperature in Madrid and how to create a parrot origami.
Now, I know how to make a parrot origami, I know that Cagliari (my favourite football club) already played and lost (the time difference is huge), and I’m in front of a closed construction.
I didn’t think about that not even the Colosseum in Italy is open 24/7.
Nein. I didn’t think at all.
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