capsule hotel

Just before I moved here to America, I went to stay with my old university flatmate Andy, who moved to Japan just after we graduated and has lived there ever since. We had a pretty fantastic time – he was a great host and I really appreciated being there with someone who spoke the language and knew his way around.

One night we went down to Osaka and wandered through seemingly endless malls/tunnels/bizarre entertainment and shopping districts till late at night, stopping for the occasional beer or sake. That night we stayed in a capsule hotel, and the memory was brought back today when I read Tokyo on One Clich� a Day in Slate’s diary. It sounds like the writer didn’t have such a plush place as we did – in ours once we’d checked in we went down to the basement to a variety of steam baths, hot tubs and regular baths. You could even pay to have an old woman clean you (which we didn’t do). We were provided with swimming shorts, bathrobes, towels and flip-flop shoes. Sleeping was actually quite comfortable too, and it was quite nice after the crowdedness of most of the rest of Japan to have a little capsule to myself. Only flaw was that the guy in the cube below me snored SO LOUDLY, and that they didn’t serve coffee in the morning. When I found that the Starbucks round the corner didn’t open till 11 in the morning I almost lost my mind. But later that day we travelled to Kyoto for a wonderful walk around the temples in the snow. Magical.

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