|カプスル ホテル||Capsule Hotels|
Dwellings in Japan are typically personal spaces. Dense, perhaps small, they're not for sitting around with friends. There are restaurants for entertaining and being social, baths for cleaning up and unwinding, coin lockers for storing things temporarily away from home.
Tokyo in particular is built to support people working away from home. A number of "Capsule Hotels" around the city, near train stations, absorb men who miss the last train home or just aren't sober enough to stumble home.
In the spring of 2002, I spent about five weeks transient in Tokyo, living in capsule hotels. Since I had a temporary office at the Foreign Correspondents' Club, I found myself able to put off finding a place to live for a number of weeks. I would work and fraternize at the club and out in Tokyo, and then when it came time when everyone else went home, I would just ask at the train station for the nearest Capsule Hotel. Usually there's some place to sleep costing less than 4000 yen nearby (about 30 dollars). According to my math, that would be what I would pay for a place I would leave my things and sleep otherwise. The primary drawback here? My belongings were stored in a locker on the other side of the city.
Thin white fiberglass. Narrow mattress on the floor. Electronics console in the capsule wall, TV above your knees. The capsules themselves are about the minimum amount of space required for human dwelling. You can sit up and read, lay there and watch TV. At the end, you close a thin curtain between you and the ten to seventy other men sleeping in the same area as you. Wearing earplugs helps cut the noise. Sometimes there's a hole providing some air circulation.
Flexible, at times strange, commendably modular and self-contained, they are, none-the-less, after two weeks, a bit downpressing.
Detailed Coverage of the Capsule Hotel Fontaine Akasaka
around the yamanote
note: they will tell you what time checkout is - 9, 9.30 or 10. often the showers or baths are closed a half hour earlier, for cleaning.
shinjuku - the green plaza
Omori - Mizuho Capsule Hotel
shinbashi capsule inn
Shinbashi Business Inn one and annex
Capsule Hotel Shinbashi