November 6, 2012

Capsuled in Kyoto

Today started great and just got better.

It began with an amazing package:
Good things come in huge packages

But of course

Well I'm clearly throwing a big party when I get back to Tokyo which will include the following:

Taco Bell Dinner (there were 5 boxes)
S'More dessert
And an international Kit Kat tasting (all those bags below are filled with various Kit Kats)
Also included was this helpful guide to Japan. And yes, Momofuku has his own chapter.
Of course, no care package is complete without a poster of yourself

Once I had safely hidden my booty from Kelly and Yurika, I packed my bags and set my sights on Kyoto. My first stop was Yokohama Station, where I needed to exchange my Rail Pass order for an actual pass. I first went to the wrong ticket counter but when I asked the woman where the correct one was, she was unable to tell me. So instead, she left the counter and said "one moment please." It was then that I realized she was unable to walk without the aid of crutches, but before I could say anything, she had disappeared and then reemerged a few seconds later on my side of the counter. She walked me a few hundred feet to the correct office. The people here are so helpful, it's unbelievable.

Kyoto, here I come!

I didn't have a place to stay in Kyoto but I assumed I would figure something out. Couchsurfing only proved successful for my final night here so I decided to check off goal 68 and stay in a cubical/capsule hotel. A few minutes before arriving I found a website listing cheap capsule hotels and decided on "First Cabin" which was a new concept that combined the price point and size of a capsule hotel with the luxuries and comforts of a first class seat on a plane. Doesn't sound like a great combination but it is!

When I checked in I was given an access card and directed through a sliding glass door. As I walked down the halls, motion sensors activated different lights and sounds; I was in the future. I made my way down to the gentleman's floor where I discovered a long hallway of pods:

A hallway of dreamers


My very humble abode. The 4th wall is a curtain that can be completely drawn in either direction
The storage beneath the bed locks for security
I suppose these PJs are the First Class touch. 
Next to the bed is a hanging set of headphones which allow you to enjoy TV in private
And you'd want to be in private because there's a lot of animated porn
Room with a view

I only had a moment to admire my accommodations as I had planned to meet with Stephen and Rob, who are Aziz's friends visiting from the UK. We spent some (naked) time together the previous day at Odaiba Onsen and discovered we'd all be in Kyoto at the same time.

Kyoto felt very familiar as I had first visited in June, but now that I've become more comfortable navigating subway lines and asking for directions, the city felt even more pleasant. It is such a welcomed change of pace from Tokyo.

The three of us wandered down various streets, including one hailed by The Lonely Planet as "One of the best streets in all of Asia." Very difficult to figure out why they deemed it so as it was completely empty. Maybe Monday nights aren't the time to explore.

Also, a side note: If you're creating a series of guide books to help tourists, why would you call it Lonely Planet? Why not "Welcome Planet" or "Comfortable Planet" or really any other adjective other than Lonely.

To compensate for the lackluster street, we went into an arcade so they could show me the wonders of Japanese air hockey:
Double pucks
Every few moments about 20 mini discs fly onto the table. It's the equivalent to "multy ball"
 Stephen and I also played a game called Speed of Light which is one of the most pointless and asinine games ever developed. Essentially you position yourself so you're surrounded by touch lights and then hit them as fast as you can when they flicker on. Fucking stupid.

But I won, and that's what matters:

While Stephen and I were making asses of ourselves, Rob was smooth talking the locals with his "Oh, we're lost" bit

The night ended in a pretty upscale bar which was playing Love, Actually, though it was hard to hear over the mix of Lenny Kravitz songs. The entire bar seemed to have their eye on the three white boys, but we befriended a gentleman who spoke pretty good English. He had lived in Seattle for a few years so I decided to go speak with him some more. Turns out he's a software engineer at Nintendo and has been working on the Wii U, which comes out in two weeks. He gave me his card so I think I may quit blogging and start emailing. Maybe I can see their HQ? Maybe they will point me in the direction of some Birdo merchandise?!




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