[The American Years]

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Greetings from Japan, where Capsule Hotels actually exist.

Most of us are familiar with the feature or travel story with the tiny coffin-like quarters with a TV built in. It makes the wacky news circuit because it fits the American idea of the crazy Japanese lifestyle. Just like stories of American excess, stupidity, and violence make the news here. (Sometimes there's even a story of excessive stupid violence, the hat trick!)

They do exist, and serve a certain market. Mostly the drunken businessman who has missed the last train home. Cab ride home, maybe 6000 yen? Capsule hotel, 4000 yen. Use the difference to buy the angry wife a nice little something.

During my brother Daniel's visit, we found ourselves needing to extend our Tokyo weekend by a day. We checked with the hotel we had booked for Saturday through Monday, and there was no room at the inn on Friday. The capsule hotel seemed so crazy that it just might work.

And it did work. Even with the 2 meter length of the capsule. I measure in at 1.97 meters in length. For those of you not familiar with metrics, the 3cm difference in length is either just over an inch, or about 17 miles. I get the conversions all mixed up.

The capsule hotel.

The capsule hotel with me in it.

Any questions?

(Yes, this was staged for effect, but I couldn't help it. I'm big in Japan.)



sara - The Estrogen Files said...

I'm here, not going to hell, leaving a comment...

The kids couldn't get over the idea of a teeny tiny hotel room and rolled around laughing at the feet sticking out. The 8 yr old girl promptly asked when we could stay in one!

Joseph said...

The thing that gets me is that a lot of people actually LIVE in these things! I have 2 friends in Osaka who have lived in them for 6 months - but even more incredible than that was that, they, and 4 others in that place lived in their capsules with their partners!

When there's two of you living in a coffin you know that land prices have become too high!



alvord said...

These were actually quite comfy. And surprisingly quiet since we were sleeping stacked with 20 other men, and only separated by a wood screen at our feet.
The discomfort was the stiffling heat. I found this often to be the case in Japan. If they are going to heat a place, they don't mess around.


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