Just kidding, I wasn't trapped. But I did take advantage of an extra night on my lonesome in Tokyo when Francois headed back to Manila a day earlier than I did. I decided that you only live once (there's that term again, durnit) and why not try a capsule hotel? So I checked out Agoda, found Shinjuku Kuyakushomae (right? Say that 10x supafast), paid the equivalent of PHP 1,200 (or like USD 30) and got myself booked for one night.
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae is a bit tricky to find (near a postal office in Shinjuku) and takes some doing to spot it since it's not a typical hotel at all. If you're looking for a hotel lobby... don't. The reception of this capsule hotel is on the 4th or 5th floor so you get into an elevator, wondering what the hell you're getting yourself into.
Once you get off the elevator, you're in a madhouse of lockers, people and tons of bags. Be warned that you can't check in AT ALL until the check-in time so you have to surrender your bags in the lobby, unless you want to lug it around Tokyo. Also be warned, the lobby person is kind of snotty and so not Japanese (Japanese people are the politest people in the world. They will say sorry to you for you bumping into them).
Once you do get to check in, you get a key to put your shoes in and a little care package of pajamas and slippers. For the love of God, embrace that kimono pajamas like anything because I swear to you, it was one of the most comfortable things I ever tried on for sleeping! (And yes, I stole it. So there, snotty concierge person).
If you're a female, then you also have to lean over the counter so the concierge can whisper the access code into your ear in a whisper. I thought this was super weird at first but really, this is the best thing for your security and peace of mind if you're a woman. Unlike the men's floors which go from 5th to 7th, people can move in freely (including women, if you really wanted to). But the women's floor is totally secure with the bathrooms and capsules strictly for females only.
I admit to a little trepidation every time the elevator opened into each floor and all I saw were men walking around in their bathrobes like cult members in plain white surroundings. I was thinking "this seems... super crowded. And sort of like Heaven if God didn't want to interior design."
And then it opened to the women's floor, decorated in bamboo with muted themes and looking like a spa. And my first thought was "suck it, men."
You get a little place where you can store your bags (it basically looks like a hotel storage) before you head to your assigned bunk. And then you climb into your little castle and it looks like this:
It's surprisingly NOT claustrophic! I mean, granted, I'm 5 feet flat but even someone who's like 5'6" could do okay (no supermodels in this establishment). There's a ton of space that another me could probably fit in comfortably side by side to me. It's also completely a bed. Now if you're like me and you wouldn't say no to a bedroom with a floor made entirely out of bed, then do go and book a capsule. There's a teeny tiny little rack to fit smaller items, a radio and an alarm clock (handy since there are no windows in this place at all). Unfortunately, everything is in Japanese. So challenge your tech skills and decipher the little things on your own.
Once you're down instagramming and taking photos of your little palace, go to the bathroom. I tell you, Japanese bathrooms are a thing of art. I went inside the bathroom, a bit wary of locker room showers and entered into a little luxury palace. In the sink area, you have rows of every single kind of body product and some I didn't even recognize. Exfoliant? Body scrub? Body wash? Body thingamajiggy? The Japanese obviously are very concerned about your skin regimen. And of course, you have the regular normal stuff of blow dryer, cotton buds, shampoo, conditioner, soap, everything.
And then the shower areas are another awesome thing. It's so much roomier than it looks. Your shower stall literally has another room that serves as your tiny little hallway/entryway/doorway/place to store your clothes. And the toilets have all the important things like the flush, the little button to mask the shocking sound of your pee, the deodorizer, the butthole washer and other washers (there are so many) and all the wonderful assorted things that you never thought you needed but realize you do.
When you tear yourself away from the bathroom and your peaceful little capsule bunk, the rec areas are pretty amazing. There's a restaurant and the wonderful, wonderful vendo machines of Japan. You can get softdrinks, coffee, wash your laundry, get ice, get ramen, anything in those little boxes.
If you do get a chance, DO BOOK THE CAPSULE HOTEL. If not to feel like a thrifty traveler, then book one just so you can marvel at how little space you actually need when you travel.
Abbi is a 28 year old petite human bean, blogger, amateur photographer, permanent humanitarian, avid traveller, culture addict, giant bookworm and impossible foodie.