To Capsule or Not to Capsule

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Let me set the scene for all you international travelers. We were stuck in Narita(Toyko) International Airport with 16 hours to kill waiting to connect to Dallas,TX USA aka close to a full day layover. We actually had to fill out immigration forms in order to sleep in a terminal which turned out to be terminal 2. If we don’t fill out immigration forms, we have to leave airport and stay in expensive hotel hoping we wake up in time to get back for our flight to Mark Cuban city(wonder what the Sharks would have thought about this claustrophobic form of lodging).

A friendly guy from Chicago, Illinois USA made us aware of a 9 hour Capsule Hotel essentially located in terminal 2 as you can see advertised in the below picture. You will observe that the cost of staying in a 43 inch by 87 inch cylinder(Yao Ming’s head would be hanging out the end) for 9 hours was 3900 Japanese Yen or approximately 36 USD.

So we hightail it over there only to be informed the cost is 5800 Yen or around 55 United States Dollars, the clerk mumbling something about seasonal demand. I told the attendant, who had nothing to do with the price gouging, that the establishment was guilty of false advertising which certainly did not phase him. Also, for you couples, it is one person per pod/capsule with male and female sleeping areas segregated.

 

57 USD to sleep in this capsule for 9 hours
57 USD to sleep in this capsule for 9 hours

To be sure, there is definitely a demand for this type of short term lodging given unbearable layovers and flight delays, but we decided to rough it in terminal 2 on the padded surface elevated about a foot off the floor that you see in the picture below which was equipped with fixed separators or you might call them pillows.

There were, of course, multiple security cameras and an occasional security guard patrolling the area. We were conveniently located adjacent to a bathroom that was being cleaned and maintained due to the low foot traffic that time of night.

Also, you have to read the excellent coverage given to this topic by  Suzy Strutner who produces the analogy “Human Recharging Station” noting that a capsule has the appearance of a giant battery charger. I guess depending on libido levels, everything looks like a battery charger to a woman. Sorry, could not pass that up Suzy. She also points out that all capsules are WiFi equipped with a selection of soporific music to induce around 7 hours of sleep before you take your shower all of which is designed to assuage the agony of a long layover.

Finally, as agitated as I was at the deceptive advertising, one has to remember that Tokyo is the most densely populated area in  the WORLD with circa 35,000,000 people. In their eyes, a capsule hotel is a solution rather than a problem. Country bumpkins from the United States, like this writer, might not get that but demand drives everything and ultra cramped hotel quarters were engendered by just that!

Flat padded couch like sleeping sitting area for layover passengers in international airport

Flat padded couch like sleeping sitting area for layover passengers in international airport

 

 

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