how to stay in a capsule hotel

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Go to Tokyo and decide on a neighborhood to stay in Tokyo. I picked Kabukicho, very close to Shinjuku station and known for its nightlife (ie: Red Light District). My plan was to start with the Folkcraft museum, then Shibuya crossing, then on to Shinjuku for the evening. Day two was Yoyogi Park, the Meiji shrine, the fashion street and the ukiyo-e museum. Shinjuku is central and close to all these stops.

Find a capsule hotel. Julie, the French girl studying here who speaks Japanese, helped me find one online.

Arrive, put your shoes in a locker and check in. If you’d like, ask for the all-female floor. In this hotel, it was the top floor and had an extra key code for security.

Go to your floor and find your capsule. I was in the corner on a bottom row. Occupied capsules have their green lights lit up. Because it was the middle of the week, there were lots of empty capsules.

Realize your capsule has just enough space for your body but not your backpack. Find your locker, and discover a towel and cotton robe and pants to use for the shower. Lock away the goods you don’t need.

Head down to the lounge and use the wi-fi and order something from the lounge chef. Then order it again in 30 minutes when your food never shows because you don’t actually know Japanese.

Bedtime! Return to your floor, shower, use the fanciest most technologically advanced bathroom you will ever see (including a button that makes the sound of running water to give you privacy) and head to bed.

Pull down your shade and lock it under the catch. Turn out your light and we’ll see you in the morning!

day to night

Today, I made my way from mountainous, quiet, country-life Fujino to, um, pretty much the opposite of that. Tokyo!

My destination was the Japanese Folk Craft Museum, to look at the textiles, pottery and other works on display. For such a plain entrance, the inside is pretty amazing.
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Next up: Shibuya. I stopped at the statue of the loyal akita Hachiko, who kept returning to the station to meet his master long after his master had died. (I seem to remember a Richard Gere movie, but don’t quote me on that.)
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Then up to look over Shibuya Crossing, where 100,000 people move through every hour. I was there on a Tuesday afternoon, so I suspect this is a picture of a slow time.
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I made my way to 8 stories of crafting goodness. Don’t worry everyone, I didn’t buy everything I wanted (such as washi tape in every color!). Check out the washi tape stairs in Tokyu Hands.
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Finally, to East Shinjuku, for neon lights and active streets. If you’d ever like to confuse your brain, may I suggest moving from a quiet mountain house through one of the busiest train stations in the world and end the day in an area known for its nightlife? Sorry, mind. I’ll get back to meditative work in a day or so. But let’s enjoy the energy of the city for one more day!