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Life in Auckland

月曜日, 9月 27, 2004

they're called 'capsule hotels' for a reason

capsule hotel 'room'
capsule hotel 'room',
originally uploaded by yuutamichael.
While in Osaka I had the chance to experience the Japanese oddity of a capsule hotel room. To describe the experience briefly I'd probably just say "dehumanizing."

There's more to it than that of course. This capsule hotel, like most, was a men only affair and once you're given your locker key and room number you fined yourself in a world of men wearing tiny, revealing bathrobes and vending machines that provide too varied a selection of food.

The capsule itself is small, and although the TV has a slot for coins you actually have to pay beforehand. The showers also pay, 100 yen (about a dollar) buys you 5 minutes.
You tread around this place ill-fitting sandals and associate mostly with Japanese business men and occasionally foreign ruffians like myself who are there more for the experience than the neccessity.

The bed itself is small, definately not as long as I am tall. They're piled two or three high and there's a little ladder on the side. There's something like a pull down window covering on the front that gives you an approximation of privacy.

The main advantage being though that when you walk out the door of the hotel, and in this case bath house/massage parlor, you're in the epicenter that is Osaka night life. And it bears noting that Osaka, a city that puts the 'butt' in 'butt-ugly' during the day is a site to behold at night. Many of the main thoroughfairs are walking arcades that are surrounded on all sides by buildings with monstrous artistic growths depicting clinging lizards or crashed space ships. The population is loud and every ten feet there are well dressed men inviting you into one type of club or another.

Kinda makes going back to a 2 meter by 1 meter room kinda gloomy. It only makes sense to think that you get nothing that approximates natural sunlight but the reality is much more soul starving than that. I could almost feel myself getting paler when I woke the next day, sometime near check out time at 10 o'clock. You check out every day regardless of how many days your staying, which for me was three. I stored my baggage at a nearby coin locker and moved back into my confining abode every night.

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