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Saturday 14 May 2016
Tokyo, Japan

The Capsule hotel experience

(later on 14 May...)

- So clearly I was staying in a quiet part of town as I soon discovered the Saturday Tokyo crowds while venturing toward my capsule hotel along a busier stretch of Shinjuku (the party side of town). People in Tokyo have an innate ability to walk in crowds withouth ever physically making contact with anyone else. It's quite remarkable... and then the huge lumbering gaijin comes along with his 30kg backpack and ruins the party. I'm sure I was ticking off many people trying to make my way in the subway but you'd never hear a word of complaint! If I bumped into someone they would blame themselves for having been in the wrong place initially.
Then there's the "walking line" as I call it. Essentially everyone walks in a straight line, and with determination and little space from the person in front, so this means that if you are walking somewhere and you want to stop to pull something out of your pocket, you gotta get off the street buster! Want to suddenly turn right and go 5m over there? You gotta take a long gradual curve repeatedly saying "Sumimasen" (excuse me) and zig zag through several walking lines. I'd say to get to that place 5m away you'd need to walk about 15m.

This is what you get living in a city of 13 million.

- The subway is full of people staring intently into their phones. Volume all completely off of course, and it's frowned upon to use your phone or disturb others on the subway. Can't eat or drink either. Dying for water? Wait till you leave the subway...and even then, wait till you get to a vending machine and drink it there (walking and eating are a big no-no too). But talking of the phones thing.. the Japanese are addicted to their smart phones. While walking, or standing in the subway, or at a bar/restaurant, the smart phone is always the focus of attention. I seemed to be the only one actually looking at the people, or even striking up a conversation.

- For a city as clean as Tokyo, there's a distinct lack of bins in the place. This may well explain why it's so clean as no self-respecting Japanese person would throw their rubbish on the ground for someone else to pick up. You're essentially expected to carry home any rubbish you make during the day! Very frustrating for a foreigner of course... but perfectly normal to anyone here I've asked about it. Most didn't even notice the lack of bins!

- Capsule hotel. I was impressed.. the hotel (Anshin Oyado Shinjuku) is essentially a spa. You leave your shoes at the front door, put on the freshly-sterilised sandals they provide, put your outdoor clothes in the locker and put on the brown top and bottoms that everyone else is wearing (felt like I was in a cult). Then you are free to get free drinks like ice-matcha or coffee or even sweetcorn soup from the vending machine (of course) 24-hours a day. Then off to the onsen to get completely starkers and jump into an artificial hot spring (making sure to scrub up before and after with the free towel and luxurious shampoos etc). Then shave with the free disposable razors and brush your teeth with the free disposable toothbrush before crawling into your own capsule with duvet and pillows and free TV and even a free tablet computer to use!

Not bad for €45 a pop, in fact I'm already considering staying here for my last night/day in Tokyo to relax before I head back home.

- Explored Akihabra.. wasn't blown away by the place. The street itself is fairly uninteresting but you really need to head into the shops/arcades that line it to see what's there. There was one retro gamer store that had old 1990s SNES models and even older NES games. Some rarities too. The arcades were packed as predicted though!

- Ramen! Can't get enough of it!

- Had the best damned sushi I've ever eaten later this night.

 

Phew what a day!

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Gig in Japan

Travel blog by peterforan

 


My first foray in the Land of the Rising Sun. Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Sumo-wrasslin and most-importantly wasabi Kit Kat!

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