Disappearing mountains, getting totally lost, hookers, massages and naked men

Did that grab your attention?

I’m staying in a capsule hotel in the famous Shinjinku area. What can I say about this? The facilities are top notch – sauna, bathing area, Internet (that I’m using now) massages, restaurant, sleeping lounge etc. But the accommodation – tiny! The capsule just fits me in length and has enough room to swing a mouse, if you’re careful. The “door” is just a thin, roll-down blind. You can hear the snores of the people around you. They’re laid out in rows of two – I took the one on top. It’s like how I imagined being in spaceship might be. Or a coffin…

I thought I’d tackle the strange idea of Japanese baths today. Luckily, I met an English¬†random (traveller-speak for random man/woman you meet on your travels) taking photos on the streets who lived here at explained the etiquette. In short, you get naked, go to the edge of the big bath, sit down on a small stool, shower yourself down and wash thoroughly, and get into the very hot bath. With lots of other naked men. And watch the baseball, apparently.

I can’t say it’s my usual choice of bathing, and it’s best not to stare at the “views” but it’s certainly different! Of course, would have preferred lots of naked women, but it’s men only. Also, no tattoos!

Last night was interesting. The Shinjinku area is Japan’s Times Square. Quite frankly, it makes New York look tame. Ridiculously easy to get lost in its streets – lights everywhere ! –¬† and I had to get some help getting back to my hotel after numerous wrong turns. I also got approached from the legions of hookers offering me a good time. Despite almost being shoulder-barged by one, I escaped with my honour intact. Honest!!

I got to Tokyo from Osaka via another bullet train, hoping to see Mount Fuji which it allegedly passes near by. Weather was cloudy, so could I see it? could I heck! Damn. Really wanted to see it, too.

Before I went out, I had another first – a foot massage at the capsule hotel. Not bad – although it was more reflexology I think and hurt in places!

Ended up the evening staying up to 3:30am in an “English” bar watching the Chelsea and then the Liverpool match. When we scored late on I jumped up and celebrated…and realised no-one else gave a toss. Still, the Argentine-American next to me that I talked to understood footy, and congratulated me as I left.

So, off to Oz tonight. Quite excited by it, but totally unprepared again! Wow – another continent. Japan was fantastic. I’ll try and blog the missing days later and upload more photos.

Speak to you soon.


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