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Why would you pay to live in a morgue?

Osaka Travel Blog

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First Capsule Hotel Experience!
Random Observation/Comment #: I’m not allowed to try on shirts at some of the stores. It’s probably because Americans sweat blood, violence, and motor oil, while Japanese tend to sweat haikus and flower arrangements.
The Capsule Hotel: I’ve heard so many horror stories, which is why I feared for my life in the beginning. However, the place that I stayed (LINK) near Dotonbori gave me a wonderful first impression. I was not really in the capsule for most of the night, nor was I that sober during my time sleeping in the capsule, but the amount of things you can do in the hotel for the price you pay is actually quite the bargain. Not only was the capsule much larger than I had imagined, but there was also a very lengthy list of accommodations for the random business traveler or JET (Japanese Exchange Teacher) on a weekend.

I don’t think any of the websites actually prepare you for what to expect, so let me try to explain how the capsule hotel industry has tried to gain your trust in a peaceful stay. The automatic first thought about this industry exudes a certain coolness factor to the college graduate traveling around and living life. But I could imagine it as a horrifying weekend for the parents to hear their son (and hopefully not daughter) say “I think it’s a good idea to stay at a capsule hotel… Oh, safety? I don’t know. I think they have some safety or something around here.” I did the grown-up thing and just left my parents an email after already deciding for my own and paying for the night. Revolution! The time difference really didn’t give them much input into my decision-making process, but I’m sure they would have reinforced my initial doubts and made it harder for me (and waste 2 more minutes of my time weighing choices) to eventually decide on staying.
Thank you for understanding.
So, after properly informing your parents, friends, and loved ones of your stay without them making a big difference in your decision, this particular capsule hotel simply requires your name and passport number to register. I think they want you to put your American address just in case you get eaten by the capsule monsters. This warning is, of course, outlined in the Japanese contract that you sign with blood (just kidding, the contract is in English and it tells you the checkout time and such). With your payment for the night comes the designated capsule space and corresponding locker space. Your shoes are taken off and put into a locked set of lockers in the front of the building. This key is kept by the front desk so your shoes are not imprisoned along with yourself in the hotel while you try and break the locker open with everyday items like a mop and a coat hanger (that didn’t happen at all).
When you leave, you return the locker key and receive the shoe locker key of which you leave in behind. This just means that the only thing you need is that receipt to get your locker stuff and claim your “bed.”
The locker comes with a set of shrunken PJs (LINK) and a safe space to keep all of your valuables. Of course there are no pockets in these shrunken PJs, so I risk the chance of losing my wallet in my left hand, more than the locker key around my neck. Unless you don’t mind the walk, I would suggest just not buying anything while you’re in the place anyway. Although, I did find the few coins I took out to be useful in purchasing beer from the vending machine. Yes, I know. Don’t we all want beer dispensed from a vending machine at our whim? It’s stationed right next to the instant noodles, so any college graduate (we have stomach-linings evolved to support consistent supplies of beer and instant noodles) can basically live in front of that vending machine forever (as long as they keep refilling both).

Other attractions in this basement include a set of sports channels on LCD TVs, lounging chairs with full lounging features, massage chair (100 yen for 10 minutes), massage service (3000 yen for 30 minutes), manga library with full series (yay for Love Hina), pachinko machine (for the addict), video game area (also for the addict), sauna, onsen, and late night cafeterias. I think if you have a good imagination, this sounds like an executive stay at the Belagio, but really these attractions are all cramped into the basement and second floor. They’ve optimized nicely and put in what I consider to be the essentials of a fun stay.
This capsule hotel has found the balance of exceeding the expectations of any initial false assumptions of a capsule hotel without overly impressing me to suspect that they’re trying to cover-up for something worse, like the capsule vampires.
Now I know these capsule werewolves may sound scary, but they’re all a huge myth. Sure, your capsule may feel “safer” with a “door,” or even a “lock,” instead of that questionable straw flap, but not to worry – it is common knowledge that capsule dragons can’t fit their wings through the opening. Perhaps to ward off such capsule demons, you can hit them with the pillow filled with small beads or carry a large metal pipe, but I highly doubt this is necessary (the pillow is hard enough to do damage). If this fails and the capsule gnome still charges with blind rage, you may be able to subdue the capsule beast with 10 minutes of television for 100 yen. Don’t worry, the little air conditioning vent will keep both of you cool with recycled air in the confined space.

So you ask, “What about the girls?” Well they have their own capsule space, away from the giant capsule amoebas with the other girls. There’s a rumor (that I just started) that all of their capsules are pink and covered in stickers and stuffed animals (only the kind with animals in other animal costumes).
The only bad thing I can say about this hotel (besides the whole part where you live in a capsule), is that you can hear absolutely every little echo, rustle of sheets, snoring, sleep talking, moaning, 4AM sex, etc. (it wasn’t me). The light sleepers and claustrophobic are not advised to stay here. They would definitely lie awake thinking about those capsule ninjas. And if there’s anything I’m sure of, I know that capsule zerg feed off of these fleeting thoughts.
When you’ve been targeted, the capsule orcs will keep you awake all night. The only solution is alcohol. Drink lots of alcohol. FACT.
Anyway, I have digressed. I thought the whole capsule hotel would be filled with English speaking tourists, but the majority of faces were Japanese and they looked more like salesmen than travelers. I could be completely wrong, and I didn’t bother asking them in my broken Japanese where they were from like some weirdo, so please take the previous comment with that in mind. It’s not like they came with their families or they were taking pictures of the different capsules for a story like I was. Another possibility is that they were just dropping off their things and going out to drink until 4AM like I did.
However, I doubt this applies to the middle-aged Japanese guys I saw because they seemed comfortable and settled in the little bathrobes by 10PM. No matter the purpose, it’s a good choice to spend 2700 yen a night for all the manga, TV, and an open overnight sauna. My night/morning did not include these additions, but...
~See Lemons Excited for the Next Adventure
P.S. Capsule creatures are fictional… except for the ninjas. Beware of the ninjas. :D – this was immensely fun to write. The part two will be posted tomorrow.

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Random Observation/Comment #9: I can’t see my hair in the bathroom mirror when I stand straight.
The first thing the professor asked me is “What do you want to do?” The only response I could think of was “everything and anything.” I’m not sure if he took this as indecisiveness or flexibility, but I intended it to be 100% pure, unfiltered, unabridged passion with no added artificial preservatives. This excitement was withheld as I sat at the edge of my seat waiting for the choice of assignments. Instead of showing me a set of cards and having me pick randomly, he gave me a chance to speak with my fellow researchers and other professors at different research facilities strewn across campus. This gave me the opportunity to explore my own interests and meet peers with similar excitement towards the subject.
Frankly, it was an excellent management decision.
The first day was very concise in introductions, but throughout the week, it felt like a series of blind dates. They were setting me up with different types of attractive projects, which all gave me an erection. My only method of determining which project was better, was to time how long it took for me to peak – and oh yes, each eventually led me to ecstasy. I use this symbolism for a select group of my friends/readers :D.
For example, the female android at the center of most media (ADD LINK) took about 10 seconds after it was turned on. She followed my movement, spoke to me, smiled when I smiled, and had sensors which made her flinch in the cutest way (splurge). If you were as enthusiastic as me about this dream come true, you would probably react the same way (or at least exaggerate the reactions in a similar fashion).
Unfortunately, she did not need any more assistance in algorithm improvements or functionality, so we parted with only memories of our brief but meaningful time together.
All of the project overviews and goals that I will mention have been thought of by most researchers in this field, but the unique solutions to these problems will not be divulged in any of my segments. Basically, tapu sikureto details :P.
CB2 (Child-robot with a biometric body), also known to me as the ugly big gray baby, was another random date. It’s a combination of a lot of existing ideas into creating a child developing robot. It packs close to 200 sensors and 50 actuators, allowing it to run on hydraulics instead of external motors. The baby follows two-person conversations, makes baby noises when you pat its head, and has an incorporated amount of baby fidgeting.
The baby can roll around, stand up with the correct amount of assistance, and use optical color detection to follow people. If the thing wasn’t so ugly, it might actually pass for an oversized child. There is much room for improvement, but the base product is fully constructed.
Another notable cool project is the artificial voicebox. It mimics the human throat by making vowel sounds with different deformations of the air column at different segments. It said the vowels perfectly with the same constant air source. I do like the idea of working on a robot with a throat… (that was for James who wanted me to make a sex robot).
Every researcher in each lab is doing something unique to contribute to one of the projects, so there are about 50 different types of algorithms utilizing all corners in the vast topics of AI, stochastic robotics, and signal manipulation.
Honestly, the amazement factor covers too large of a range of emotions to describe. Just when I thought one thing was the coolest thing ever, another project or algorithm comes along to sweep me off my feet – giving me a pleasure that made me forget about the other projects. Each of them has a place in my heart. They made me feel as if they were the first to take my virginity. Lol.
~See Lemons Build Robots

Random Observation/Comment #8: Jay-walking is highly frowned upon. Eff that. I’m a New Yorker - jay-walking is second nature. I’m the Juggernaut, bitch.
I didn’t have the case of the Mondays. There were plenty of essentials that needed to be taken care of. For one, my apartment room did not have any pots, bowls, chopsticks, cups, soap, or garbage bags. These items were luckily available at the wink of my eye and purse of my lips. Contrary to popular assumption (mostly from my close friends and classmates), I did not seduce the receptionist to get the best supplies available. All the supplies were the same – I checked. She spoke English decently, but I couldn’t tell her age.
This seems to be one of my largest dilemmas in this community.
heavenly
I can’t assume they’re all older than 18 because they honestly don’t look, sound, or dress that way. And many of my friends might say “…and? When that has that ever stopped you?” To that I reply, “f*ck you and your presumptions about my questionable morals.” That’s wrong. They’re under-developed as it is, so you might not be able to tell the difference. Ooo… Burn! But the pursuit is still a negative. I am haunted by the terrible advice of friends who want to laugh at the expense of my willingness to experiment.
I developed a pretty solid rule for determining female age in this country: If they look 16 and are not wearing school uniforms on weekdays, they are probably college students. If they look 18 and they’re wearing skirts with knee-high socks, they are probably 22-year-old research or master’s students (also major JAPs).
And if they look 21 and they’re wearing dress pants, they are 28 and in a sexless marriage. (No offense even if it is true).
The added polynomial age to the appearance age does drastically inverse at some point. I am not quite sure of the exact age, but it might be an overnight phenomenon. You wake up one day, and your youth disappears. You are 45 and you look damn near 60. The hump begins to form, your pace slows, you’re limping, and dinner grocery shopping has moved up to 9AM. What happened to all of the years between the extremes of looking like a hello kitty wearing teenager and looking like a walking zombie?
They have been given the gift of youth, and it is a pity to see them waste it with the layers of makeup and artificial enhancements to their hair, eyes, lips, cheeks, and nails.
met some JETs
They look more like dolls than the flawed beings that actually roam this Earth. If your cheeks are polished enough to see a glare, then you’ve a) spent too much time before leaving your home, and b) hidden the beauty of nature. My rant can continue, but I have digressed enough.
Rent is ridiculously cheap here and I get my own room. I think I would pay close to $600 if this apartment was in the city, but I’m paying about $250. There’s a small balcony overlooking a little pond, and also enough room to fit a small kitchen, bathroom, foyer, bed, dresser, and two desks. Stories of the so-called “prisons” in other campus dorms were described to me in great detail. Let’s just say I am very fortunate to have my own bathroom. I think this would only happen in an International dorm because Japanese culture barely raises their voice or dares to Jay-walk, let alone steal.
I mean, who the hell doesn’t jay-walk if there are no cars in clear sight right and left?!? (Notice it’s not left and right because they drive on the wrong side of the road… what a bunch of amateurs.)
To exchange yen for rent and spending-money for the rest of the month, I had to go to the bank. Do not make the same mistake I did. Bring your passport to the bank when exchanging money. They do not accept color copies of passports or drivers licenses, nor did they understand my plea that I live 20 minutes away.
The walk to the bank was during rush hour so I was basically the salmon swimming upstream. At least I was sure that all of these students were of college age. Their walking pace rivaled that of a New Yorker. The sound of the marching footsteps drowned out the few voices that conversed.
Umbrellas were carried by women to keep their pale complexion, signifying a different taste in beauty. Once again, it seems their goal is to look the least Japanese as possible – bleached hair, pale skin, rounder and larger eyes, and fuller lips. Believe me when I say that the view was blinding. These girls were very pretty, but their objectified goal of beauty did not fit mine.
Everything worked out well with the exchange, but it was already noon when I got back to meet with the internet service company representative. A salesman was sent to my door and offered some very expensive Internet plans. The one that I wanted to get was 160Mbps for $60 a month. I would normally splurge and just subscribe so I could exploit this speed, but the contracts are binding to a minimum of 6 months.
Osaka Castle
Even if it was cheaper, I would have to pay the guy in cash so he could use his credit card to pay sign up for the service. Mendoksai. Damn. Could you imagine 160Mbps? I might have considered it for a minute longer if I had brought my external hard drive.
The first day I arrived, I was given very vague directions to get to the research lab, but everything wound up working out because I had a map and balls of steal. The events unraveled nicely due to my high expectations for getting completely and utterly lost in finding my way there. I was not pessimistically viewing the situation, but rather probabilistically calculating my chance of success. In fact, I was so sure that I would fail that I prepared myself to be disappointed, frightened, and in a panicking state.
Oddly, this layer of confidence in my failure made me unbelievably calm. There was just nothing I could do to help myself in this situation, so I did nothing and I arrived safely and in a timely manner.
I arrived to my meeting with Professor Ishiguro, and very quickly fell into my position as the new guy. The resemblance between himself and his android really is frightening. I was directly thrown into a corner with an internet connection and a few English speaking fellow researchers. Martin, Richie, and Cyril were my first acquaintances, and I must admit, they gave me positive reinforcement of an enjoyable stay.
Martin is a Canadian who is fluent in speaking Japanese. His friendly nature mixes with an oddly familiar sense of humor, both combined to form an interestingly mellow aura.
I catch the “for sure” and Canadian “Eh” sometimes, but he often uses Japanese pause terms like “Ee”, “Eto…”, “Ano…”, “kore wa …”, etc. Although he has grown accustomed to speaking without eye contact (sometimes like me with my wandering gaze), he has been very helpful with meeting new people and teaching me everything about Japanese culture.
Richie is a very tall, fluent Japanese speaking Irish. He looks like Jake’s brother when he doesn’t shave for a month, but with a red rabbinical beard and a slight Irish accent. Sometimes he even puts the same inflections on sentences as I have observed Dave to, which is very strange when I hear him speak Japanese. He emits a strong presence with a matching unique sense of humor, supported by a great deal of knowledge in almost every subject.

Cyril is a stylishly dressed, expert cellist from France. There is a bit of a French accent in his English, but we understand each other when discussing fencing, metal cello (Symphony & Metallica), and origami. His routine is concrete down to the hour: same few favorites for lunch, same few favorites for dinner, a set time for cello practice, a set time for grabbing snacks (chocolate pocky with a 500ml can of coke), and a routine of making a small paper crane from the dinner’s receipt. In no way was I stalking, nor am I imposing any negative judgment. Instead, I am merely stating that my conclusions were based on very clearly portrayed characteristics in his (and everyone else’s) methodical actions.
The initial set of personalities and cultural backgrounds made me realize that this was very much an international research facility.
There are individuals of every background that are each brilliant in their own ways. I feel the advance of my studies to be constantly surrounded by different nerds (used in a flattering sense – or at least I take it as flattering) who have very different yet familiarly acceptable quirky personalities. The truth is that I feel comfortable socializing with these people. Maybe it’s the idea that I might not be the nerdiest one here, but I’m sure there is another less selfish explanation. Whatever it may be, I’m glad to be a part of this research facility. (I use glad because I may regret any other level of excitement or gratitude when I am assigned a project beyond my capacities. When this happens, and oh it will happen, I will start imagining them with whips and a completely new feeling surface.
)
~See Lemons Content

First Capsule Hotel Experience!
First Capsule Hotel Experience!
heavenly
heavenly
met some JETs
met some JETs
Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle
lazy otters
lazy otters
theyre so cute
they're so cute
big fish
big fish
yay turtles
yay turtles
penguin
penguin
dolphin
dolphin
awesome
awesome
delicious...
delicious...
turn on SL flash to keep the back …
turn on SL flash to keep the back…
awh...
awh...
takoyaki!
takoyaki!
IMAX in osakako
IMAX in osakako
tako!
tako!
that old lady is provocative
that old lady is provocative
the fifth ave of Osaka
the fifth ave of Osaka
Mini!
Mini!
Osaka Apple Store
Osaka Apple Store
How are you going to wear that?
How are you going to wear that?
Yes.
Yes.
Bling on your nails
Bling on your nails
Manga!
Manga!
famous.
famous.
Osaka
photo by: yasuyo