Capsule Reconsider Your Choice of Hotel

A few weeks ago I went to Osaka to catch up with my friend from Takarazuka, Crazy K.

To save money we looked for a cheap hotel. Because Japan’s urban areas are some of the most densely populated in the world, the main way hoteliers can reduce their costs is to reduce your space. In the case of our particular hotel they reduced it to this:

Capsule Hotel
Our hotel "rooms". Believe it or not, these are the extra wide capsules - we paid $2 more for that little piece of relative luxury.

It was a bizarre mix of high-tech and high school. After checking in at reception we were given keys to our metal lockers where we could stash all of our stuff. We then refreshed ourselves in the communal baths, bought drinks and snacks from the onsite vending machines, watched TV in the 1980s communal lounge, and then retired to our $25 coffins to die sleep.

The capsules were actually surprisingly comfortable, and I would’ve slept quite well if I hadn’t foolishly consumed caffeinated coffee at 11pm, and if drunken salarymen hadn’t entered loudly at 3am triggering a half-asleep and justifiably grumpy capsule occupant to start shouting “Oi”, “Ooi”, “Ooooiiii”. How considerate.

The next morning I witnessed a quintessentially Japanese sight. A crumpled businessman emerged from his capsule, got dressed outside his high-school-style metal locker in a shirt, cufflinks and a fine business suit, and styled his hair for a power meeting, thereby transforming himself from a shrivelled drunk to a successful business professional in just 5 minutes. It was like I was witnessing the accelerated metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. Well maybe not a butterfly… perhaps just some kind of ultra-efficient grey moth.

This is Japan.

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4 thoughts on “Capsule Reconsider Your Choice of Hotel

  1. Crazy K is with us now and has told of this fantastic night out!! I hear now and again the mortuary have a spare bed too, but make sure they don’t put a tag on your big toe!! Sounds, I was going to say ‘like fun’ but i’ll change that to ‘different’ Tim.

  2. Marjorie Russell

    where did you put the boys to sleep by the way?? did they have their individual cells or did you have the joy of a little wriggler by your side??

    1. I had the joy of having the little wrigglers tucked into bed 200km away, back at home. (Thanks Nicewife!) These coffin-hotels are usually men-only affairs, although some of them now have segregated accommodation for women.

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