日本での一年間

March 14, 2012

Staying at a Capsule Hotel

Visiting Tokyo is not cheap. A cheap room barely larger than a closet in a business hotel might cost $6oUSD, depending on what part of town you stay in.

One option for visiting on the cheap is to stay at a capsule hotel. It’s a bit difficult to plan because few capsule hotels have English websites. Also, many capsule hotels do not allow women. The number of places that allow women is on the rise but still accounts for only a fraction of capsule hotels.

I stayed at a capsule hotel in the Asakusa neighborhood of Tokyo for a few nights in November. The hotel had a women only floor.It was not the most glamorous place to stay, but at 2,200 yen (~$28USD) a night, it was cheaper than most other accommodations.

Front desk of the hotel. I had to check in every night and check out every morning. They did not allow me to leave my luggage in the capsule, even though I was staying in the same place. Check-out was 9:30 am. An alarm went off at 9 am every morning and then someone would come onto the PA system to inform us that we must leave within the next 30 minutes.

Inside the capsule. Just enough room to crawl around and have my suitcase sit next to my futon while I sleep. They provide linens and a yukata (summer kimono).

See more pictures after the jump.

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January 20, 2012

Tokyo Sky Tree Rising

The Tokyo Tower (which looks rather similar to the Eiffel tower, but is slightly taller at 333 m and a different color, red) has been a symbol of Tokyo for decades. But there is a new tower coming onto the scene. It’s called the Tokyo Sky Tree and it is currently under construction near Asakusa. When completed it will be 634m tall. 634 may seem like a random number, but it’s not. One way to pronounce the numbers 6, 3, and 4 is Musashi. Musashi (武蔵の国) is the name of the ancient province that included present day Tokyo. The Sky Tree will be used as a communications tower and have two observations decks. The tower is scheduled to open in February 2012. I took the following photographs in late November 2011.

The Tokyo Sky Tree in the distance behind one of the buildings of Asakusa's Sensoji temple.

The Sky Tree next to another Asakusa landmark, the Asahi Beer HQ

It took me about 40 minutes to leisurely stroll from Asakusa to the Sky Tree.

January 18, 2012

Smork

On a trip to Tokyo last month, I came across an interesting word that I had never heard before. The word is “smork” and I saw it twice.

The first time was at a small bakery/cafe and the word “smork” was written on a sign taped to the table that my friend and I were sitting at.

No Smorking allowed!

The second instance of “smork” was found at a clothing store inside Shinjuku Station. In fact, the store is called “Smork by Language.”

Smork by Language, a clothing store in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

I believe the only explanation for this is that the owners of the bakery have some sort of dispute with the clothing store owners. Anyone have any other guesses? 😉

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