Sunday, June 8, 2008

Akihabara-The Electric City 4/14

We arrived 18 hours later in Tokyo. I fell in and out of consciousness the entire flight. Airplane sleep is the worst. Once you are tired enough to fall asleep a bump or an unfamiliar ding wakes you up and the cycle repeats and repeats until you arrive at your destination.

Upon our arrival, Katie and I grabbed our bags and went through customs. We were both eager to get to our capsule hotel and crash. We were both exhausted and hungry. Although, the plane ride made us both rather queasy, we were still hankering for some nourishment. We found a little noodle house crowded with businessmen and children playing on their hand held mini-nintendos. (We were in Akihabara known worldwide for its small electronics, manga, and anima.)

Our interaction with the cook was the first attempt for us to communicate with a non-English speaker. We ordered, paid, and congratulated ourselves for what we thought was a successful interactive. We ended up with curry instead of soothing udon. Since the meal was cheap (470 yen) we decided it would be more of a hassle to try and correct the order. I'm so glad we kept it. The curry ended up being the best in all ranges of ethnic curries I've ever had in all my 20 something years of being a curry fan. It was neither spicy or greasy, but rather light with a bold curry flavor that perfectly matched with the soba noodles it came with.

With our bellies full, we walked a couple blocks to the capsule hotel. For 3700 yen a night we thought we were going to be staying in a shithole. We were pleasantly surprised. We took off our shoes and placed them in a locker before walking up to talk with the clerk. The clerk spoke perfect English and was accommodating and friendly. As for the capsule it was way larger than I had imagined. I thought for sure I was going to be suffocating in a little claustrophobic box. The capsules turned out to be clean, comfortable, and spacious rectangular tubes with a personal TV and radio.

We took a shower to erase all the gunk of our travels. The shower stall had 3 spickets aimed to hit each vocal point of a naked body. There was complimentary Shisedo shampoo and body wash. After the shower I used the kimono-esque robe and slippers they gave us. I went back to my tiny yellow submarine, shut the blinds, and feel asleep to a game on the TV of Japanese ping pong. I woke up to find Katie up and ready to go. It was 6am and we had about nine hours of sleep. We were happy, refreshed, and ready to embark on our first day of exploration.

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