Friday, August 2, 2013


Hiroshima, Japan -- Well, we are spending our last weekend in Japan. Before we make it on to Thailand and Cambodia, Hiroshima is our last stop, where we will spend Shabbos in the place of the first atomic bomb detonation. But, before that, we spent one last night in Kyoto, not in the comfort of a ryokan, but in 9h, a capsule hotel!
Our stay in Kyoto was a bit polarizing. It was great to see the ancient history of the beautiful temples and the old way of life including staying at ryokan, but it did have an air of inauthenticity. Staying at 9h certainly verified our feelings as we once again got to experience the modern Japan in full force. 9h is a capsule hotel that seems more like an apple store. The walls are all brightly lit, shiny white with black accents and Helvetia font icons. It is called 9h because guests stay for exactly nine hours. The perfect model of Japanese efficientcy, you get 30 min to get ready for bed, as well as when you wake up, bookending your perfect eight hours of sleep.
9h lobby
When you enter (and promptly take off your shoes like everywhere else), men and women ride up on separate elevators to their respective floors. You take your key and open your corresponding locker to find everything you will need for the night--a toothbrush and toothpaste, toiletries, towels, and even a set of pajamas that match the decor. Putting them on, I felt like I was in a Post-apocalyptic sci-fi or something out of an Orwell novel. (I love scifi so it was awesome).
do you like my fancy pajamas?

Sleep chamber

Opening the door to the dark capsule room, it looked more like a laundromat. --We also did laundry that day, in a very futuristic Japanese laundromat. It had machines that dispensed the soap washed your clothes and dried them all within one hour using the same machine. Of course, even in the laundromat you had to take off your shoes.--I climbed in my one by one by 2 m capsule, and read my book for a while before trying to go to sleep. My pod came equipped with a lighting system that glowed slowly until it dimmed, putting me to sleep. And then awoke me promptly with a flash of light at the time you set the alarm to go off, no sound involved as not to disturb the other guests in the surrounding capsules.
my pod

In the locker room, I found another 20 something-year-old man, dressed identically. In our gray pajama bottoms, we looked like soldiers of a futuristic army. We rode the elevator to the six floor together, a pair of young mirror image men, leading mirror image lives, emerging from identical cells to start our mirror image days... At least that's how I imagined it.

1 comment:

  1. How amazing! Sounds like the sci-fi film "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Are you sure you're still Ben? and Bets?