Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Disneyland and sleeping in a capsule

We spent the day yesterday being big kids at Tokyo Disneyland!

We thought we had planned out our trip so that we would have our Disney adventure on a weekday, when no-one else was having their own Disney adventure. Turns out the one day we set aside was a public holiday. Still, the crowds weren't as bad as we had expected (although Ben didn't get to go on Splash Mountain or Space Mountain like he had hoped thanks to almost 2hr wait in lines. Sad face Ben - he had remembered these from his first Disneyland visit as a ten year old boy)
We DID get to go to Tom Sawyers island on a raft, a jungle cruise skippered by an amazingly theatrical Japanese man that most anime cartoons could have been modelled from, a slot car race track, a 3D movie theatre playing Captain EO (a little known Michael Jackson, George Lucas, Francis Coppola collaboration - watch it if you have the chance, you won't regret it!), the It's A Small World ride and the Smith Robinson families tree house. Also sampled the best in popcorn flavours - 'solt' and soy sauce and butter.

We had checked out of our hotel in the morning to move to a capsule hotel. I wasn't particularly thrilled from the beginning about this prospect but was ensured that it would be a 'Japanese experience.' It was.
We had managed to find ourselves a double capsule hotel (most segregate men from women through different elevators and floors) but ours was couples friendly. We checked in after Disneyland and was shown to our locker (our bags needed to stay in the foyer as it's a fire hazard to keep them in the halls of the capsule floors) where towels and our hotel issue pajamas were kept. We broke the rules here by foregoing the pjs, preferring ours to the brown short set.

The capsule itself is the size of a double bed with cream plastic walls and roof. The power switch is just outside so you can switch it on just as you are crawling inside for the night. There is a small TV set encased in more cream plastic suspended from the ceiling to one side. It was high enough for Ben and I to sit up without hitting our heads but certainly no room for jazzercise. There's also an alarm system and radio and the whole thing closes with a pull down wooden blind. Photos of the capsule are on my camera and I'm typing this from my phone so I'll try add some in later.

After ramen for dinner at a nearby restaraunt we crawled into our capsule for the night. Neither of us slept particularly well, I guess not suprisingly. We felt perfectly safe, it just wasn't all that comfortable. Bathrooms are shared between the two floors of capsules - one for men and one for women. In one room is a spa bath and two hand held showers attached to the walls and in another is a row of sinks and mirrors, hairdryers, curlers, creams and soaps. Basically, you could arrive with nothing and still walk out presentably the next day.

Shinkansen back to Osaka this morning - we're staying at a house we found on AirBnB that's run as a sharehouse by a woman called Noco. Noco and her partner, Ghandi are basically Japanese hippies who run a great bar about ten mins walk away and have set up this sharehouse with traditional Japanese rooms for travellers to stay. It's lucky the house is lovely - lots of rugs and lamps and wooden floor boards - because the area isn't fantastic. We had a short wander around and mostly found old Japanese men with various bandages and ailments sitting out the front of shops and more men standing behind closed restaraunt doors chatting to each other.

Mt Fuji behind clouds from the Shinkansen

We did manage to entertain ourselves fairly well with Japanese BBQ for dinner (for those of you playing at home this is so remarkably similar to Korean BBQ that they serve it with kimchi) followed by a couple of beers at Noco's bar - a small room crammed with fish tanks, fairly lights, musical instruments, lamps and cozy couches.


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