Oct 272003

A little bit more to nibble on.

Now what?

Well, lets see. The capsule hotel experience was interesting. The place must have been built around the late 80’s and never updated since then. I felt like I was in either an episode of Space 1999 or something similar.

One starts (after registration) to put one’s clothes into a small locker and putting on a small pair of boxers and a yukata. Things like a wallet were left at the front desk. If you wanted money for a vending machine, I guess you planed ahead. You became, in a sense, anonymous. Except I was a tall, white foreigner. (Actually there were a few because the place was in the lonely planet.)

The sleeping arrangements were, for me, a little too small. I could sit upright without banging my head, but they were 180cms long and about a metre wide. I am 180cm top to bottom, but there is also the space required for the pillow thingy to fit in as well. Not that the pillow, or matress were any good. The capsule was made from moulded plastic, with a strange green tinge to it. Think beige, but green. The “door,” if that’s the right word, was a rolldown screen. These didn’t look like part of the original design, they also let too much light and sound in. The lights were never turned off in the hallway.

Speaking of the hallway there were 650 sleeping capsules, two high down several corridors, over three floors. Other floors had a “rest area” where they had lots of beds laid out. A sauna floor when everybody got down and got naked. A floor with a TV and restaurant. Each table of the restaurant took one person. This was not a hotel where “groups” stayed. They also had a some massage areas. The one on the sauna floor had a crusty old woman doing the work. I guess so you wouldn’t get too excited since you were naked. The same floor also had a barber. She was cute, and was the only other woman on the “all naked” floor. (Okay, it wasn’t all naked, but the Japanese don’t have such a taboo over nudity as Westerners do.)

The massage area on the restaurant floor was a little less seedy, but I was afraid if I went and had one, it would cost about AU$30 and I’d have a ????.

I stayed there two nights, got about 5 hours of horizontal rest. It was better than staying at a karaoke place. They had a good washroom, which made a change from the usual.