Posts tagged ‘akihabara’

Sleep at a Capsule Hotel!

Ever thought about spending a night in a coffin? That’s what most people imagine a ‘capsule’ hotel to be like. Cramped living quarters. Loud-snoring men. Communal baths. None of my friends who’d stayed ever had a particularly good review. “It’s… an experience,” they’d say. Yet, for my most recent trip to Tokyo I found myself intrigued by the idea of sleeping in a room no bigger than myself. At less than $40 a night it’s the most affordable means of getting a good night’s sleep.

Akihabara’s Capsule Inn is just a 5-minute walk from the station. Once you’re checked-in, they give you a wristband strapped with two keys: one that will open your personal locker a la Jr. High gym class, and one that will open the room which houses the capsules. It’s a well-planned facility with women lodged on the top three floors and men relegated to the lower five levels. If you catch a man in the upper levels you know he’s up to no good.

The capsules themselves have no doors. I assumed there was a translucent air-tight hatch, so for the longest time I stood in front of my bunk trying to find the lever to open it. After realizing I could just jump in, I spotted some wood blinds to pull down for privacy. Inside, it’s surprisingly roomy — with at least 5 inches of space above my head when sitting upright (though I’m tiny). You also get a built-in TV and radio for those restless, jet-lagged nights.

The communal bathroom and shower facilities were well-kept and equipped with all the fun stuff like shampoo, soap, combs and hair dryers. And while you’re waiting in line you can surf the net, free of charge.

Of course, there’s no extra frills like a continental breakfast or a mint on your pillow. And there’s slight inconveniences like having to leave big luggage down in the lobby at all times, and having to leave the premises by 10 am even if you’re staying another night. But for $40, I’d say it’s worth it. With all the money saved, I can spend more on cool gadgets, ramen and massages. Longer lasting than a panoramic view of Tokyo, wouldn’t you say? \(^D^)/

Himawari

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JPBizDirect, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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October 3, 2008 at 8:41 am 3 comments

For a Cheap Motel, Stay at a Cafe

You’ve been running around Tokyo with blistering feet. On top of that, your Akihabara shopping spree has left you penniless — and you haven’t even booked a room for the night. What do you do? Head to the nearest Manga cafe, of course!

It’s a one-stop haven for all your geeky needs. Pay as little as $3 and you get a private cubicle with a high-speed computer for shopping, gaming, chatting and whatever else people do online. Shower rooms, free non-alcoholic beverages and phone chargers are provided at no additional cost, so there’s really no reason to go home.

And as implied by its name, manga cafes are loaded with comic books. That was the original idea: To provide an affordable way for kids to catch up on their favorite graphic novels, which are $3 to $4 a copy but can easily add up when there’s over 100 in a series. But as video games got bigger, so did the demand for privacy between man and machine. (Don’t you hate it when mom nags about dinner just before a boss battle??)

Moreover, manga cafes are a lifesaver for when you’ve just missed the last train. A 12-hour stay costs no more than $30 — half the price of a seedy Tokyo business hotel (though just as stinky). There are no beds, unfortunately, but some cafes supply comfy recliners.

Serving as a home away from home, manga cafes have become the populationbreeding ground for the nation’s ‘working poor’ population, so it’s not usual to see men milling about in suit and tie. Teens love it because they can spend the night with boyfriends/girlfriends… just holding hands, of course. There’s little privacy to do much more.

Of course, many a gaijin have also found their way here. It’s a novel approach traveling on a shoestring budget. You’d be the coolest tourist ever IMing your friends from a manga cafe. “Hey! Guess where I am?!” you’ll greet to your friends in Baltimore, followed by, “Ugh, I think the guy in the next cubicle farted.” Definitely something to write home about. (^_<)

Himawari

—————————————————————————
Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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September 26, 2008 at 8:25 am


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