February 19th, 2008 – by: Rubbertoe
In the last few days of my stay in Tokyo, I decided to chill out and not do much. Monday I got up late, just in time for lunch and I spent the afternoon walking around Ueno, a district not to far from my hostel. On my way back I walked through the familiar streets of Asakusa, where I normally have dinner, and I came across a big sign advertising a Capsule Hotel. I remembered reading about these ‘cheap as chips’ coffin-size sleeping rooms for short stays and intrigued by the idea, I decided to give it a go. The entire experience was pants! The unsettling excitement of sleeping in a box was far greater than the experience itself. The best part was just after I checked in, when I swapped my trendy (Newport’s trendy that is) shoes with a pair of dodgy green slippers two sizes to small and changed into a dressingown and shorts, which made me look like a right nutter escaped from a mental institution!
There were 7 levels in this hotel, and on every level a main entrance opened into a long dark corridor with two rows of 10 capsules per side.
As a keen landlord I quickly worked out that this place was making a fortune… I wonder how this idea would catch on in Wales? Maybe I could turn one of my houses into the first Capsule Hotel in Wales? Nah, a better idea would be to provide these rooms in pubs and restaurants so people can have a kip after a fat Sunday lunch, now that would work!
The room comes with a radio/alarm/clock, reading light and a TV, with one free channel and a money box for pay channels, i.e. porn (but I didn’t verify this fact). I don’t think I’ll be rushing to stay in one of these hotels again, but one good thing about this experience is that I had the best night sleep since I’ve arrived, I slept like a baby, like a log… like a baby log!
The next day was totally eventless, I packed my rucksack and made preparations to leave.
At night I joined some others in the lounge and met an English fella, who had just arrived and was eager to taste Japanese beer, though he was heavily jetlagged. We had a few Asahi beers and some Aussie girls joined us. I can’t quite remember how or when this sociable drink turned into a right piss up, but I regretted it the next morning when I got up at 5am to catch my flight. Good fun though!