Women make men do stupid things sometimes, and last night I fell prey. Despite my vow to avoid Roppongi until my bank account recovered, I found myself there again last night, irresponsibly enjoying the company of a female friend. And, once again, I was forced to pass the night after the trains stopped running. This time, however, I actually needed some sleep so I decided to try something new in the process.
My prime motivation was cost, and I knew a capsule hotel would be the cheapest option. There aren’t really any capsule hotels in Roppongi though, so my friend tossed me in a cab and told the driver to find the nearest hotel in Shibuya. He did not disappoint, and after a short ride I found myself standing on the curb in front of a narrow, unassuming 10-story building. The lobby was half carpet, half tile, with the divide running right up to the middle of the counter, and fortunately I had enough wits about me to stay on the tiled side. The nightly price seemed a bit high for a hole in a wall, but after exploring the building I understood that the fee paid for more than just a bed. I checked my shoes, and proceeded up to the locker room to undress. At first I just assumed I would sleep in my t-shirt and boxers, but inside the locker I found a simple cloth garment. I believe it was a yukata, although I’m not sure if that’s the right word. Essentially a robe, this particular yukata ended at about mid-thigh. On my way up to my capsule on the ninth floor, I checked out the showers and relieved myself in the most high-tech toilet I have seen so far.
Overall, the place was very clean and comfortable. The only thing lacking is privacy, which I was well-suited to handle. I did confront one surprise, however, when I walked into my capsule area on the ninth floor. I was greeted with a pungent odor when I stepped out of the elevator, and as I turned the corner I met an equally disturbing image–a big, hairy ass. A man had passed out in his own vomit on the floor in front of his capsule, and his short yukata failed to cover his nether regions. Unlike me, he was not wearing his undergarments. Averting my eyes, I proceeded to my capsule… if I spoke better Japanese I might have tried to help him, but I needed sleep badly.
The interior of the capsule was furnished with a convenient array of accessories, including an alarm clock and a radio with headphones. My only gripe is that there was no circulation fan, and it got a bit toasty after a while. The novelty of the experience actually made it difficult to sleep at first, but I was exhausted. I had to check out at about 5:30 in order to catch the trains back to base in time, so unfortunately I couldn’t take advantage of the amenities, but I will certainly make use of this uniquely Japanese establishment in the future.