Weird Places: Japan | Our weird-places episode no. 4 is about a country: Japan. For the western mindset Japan can be quite weird. Japanese people eat raw fish in the morning. They publicly celebrate the phallus. They nap on cockroach cushions. They PRETEND to sleep at work. They drink snake wine, they eat shrimp ice cream … Here is a list of things about Japan that really baffle foreign tourists.
Slurping is a good thing. Noodles, especially buckwheat noodles (“Soba”), need to be slurped loudly when eaten. That indicates the food is delicious, which is considered to be a compliment to the chef. Such behavior would insult any other chef outside Japan.
The smallest hotel room in the world you find in Japan. So-called capsule hotels can be found accross Japan. They feature sets of extremely small capsules designed for an overnight stay. To a western tourist this is extreme torture. A YouTuber named Miss Mina checked it out ->
Inemuri = Napping during work hours. In Europe, if an employee is falling asleep in the office, this will most likely earn him a one-way ticket to the exit door. Japanese business culture is different. It recognizes the hard working employee. Means: you work so hard that you are forced to take a nap – an “inemuri” (napping on the job). But rules do apply! One must remain upright. It is said that some people even fake “inemuri”, to make the boss believe they are working hard. Welcome to Japan.
This 4-minute video clip we found on Vimeo. It brings you is a short but cool collection of moments and memories of a railway journey through Japan. The makers experienced a culture that balances its rich tradition with a futuristic present. Filmed by Vincent Urban, Alex Schiller and Alex Tank.
Where to stay in Japan
Let’s try a crazy capsule hotel in Tokyo. Here is our recommendation:
Living in a Box –
the 9h capsule hotel in Tokyo Shinjuku
Sci-fi fans might like that. The Nine Hours Hotel (9h) in the heart of Tokyo will be your time travel into the future – when space is so precious that you literally accept any shelter as long as you can at least stretch our legs. For doing just that, 9h offers you a capsule or pod or box, you name it. The 9h Hotel has been welcoming guests since January 2017. It is rated 8.7 at Booking.com. That’s kind of oookeee.
The 1.5 star hotel is definitely clean, got super friendly staff and is located in a strategically excellent spot.
Your shelter will an inch or two wider than the size of a single bed = roughly 3 feet wide and 6 feet 3 inches long. That’s 122 by 190 cm. You can sit in your pod, but you cannot stand up. A bit weird was the mandatory daily check-out at 10am. Only by 1pm we were allowed to check back in. At least they allowed us to leave our luggage in the lockers during that time.
Of course, all capsules are air-conditioned in summer and heated in winter. Bathroom facilities (including showers and high tech toilets) are shared. Since there is no space for your luggage inside your capsule, lockers are available for stuffing your stuff somewhere else.
According to internet burps, this property is “one of the top-rated locations in Tokyo” and “guests are happier about it compared to other properties in the area” and “couples in particular like the location”. Still we doubt it. Mentally and physically healthy couples for sure do not like to sleep separated while on vacation. And if such kind of shelter is top-rated, then we feel sorry for Tokyo.
But let’s talk about the location. 9h indeed sits on a convenient spot. Shinjuku Subway Station is kind of in walking distance (15 minutes or 3 minutes by tram). Also the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, a popular park in Tokyo, can be reached on foot within 25 minutes. Tokyo Dome is approximately 25 minutes away via train. Shopping and local food? Yessir! There are many dining options very near to the property. Guests can reach a convenience store and grocery store via a 3-minute walk.
To sum it up: It was an interesting experience. For living in a box, the comfort was ok! We stayed two nights. The sci-fi vibes everywhere (graphics and interior design) were pretty amazing.