Tokyo: The largest city in the world, the center of Japan, and the first stop of my adventure. So far I have only seen it in the dark. My main concern in any country is to first establish a home base. I found my train from the airport with the help of three different people. I found my hostel with the help of three more. That’s not all. So far I’ve needed help opening two doors, flushing the toilet, and understanding what part of the street I can walk in. But the most bizarre yet is my capsule style hostel. Let’s just say I learned the hard way.
BUT WAIT! I’m here to make sure that none of my readers look dumb in Japan. I am going to outline the proper steps of how to correctly follow Japanese hotel ettiquette. Trust my expert knowledge of about 5 hours being in Japan. I am typing this from my coffin, I mean, capsule #337. Follow these easy-ish steps and you’ll practically look like a pro.
1. Walk in, and take off your shoes. Hold them as you register.
2. Place shoes in special shoe locker and take a pair of slippers for your use.
(be sure to grab the largest size since you most likely wear a size 10.5 and the largest they have are like a size 7.)
3. You will receive a towel and a yukata, or lightweight robe. Take these to the locker room.
(Do not take them to the capsule room where everyone is sleeping or you will be yelled at.)
4. Leave your shit in your locker and strip down to nothing.
5. Take your locker key and towel and proceed to the gender appropriate bathroom.
6. Use the toilet. Press every button and have it scream at you in Japanese. DON’T press the button that just says, “No.”
7. Discover that none of the buttons flush the toilet, but the handle on the side does.
8. If your bathroom is like mine, firstly you will notice that there is a big tub in the middle of the room full of naked men. Ignore it for now, hang up towel, and go to an open vanity. The vanities sit about 1.5’ off the ground and there is a little stool.
9. Sit in the vanity stool naked with guys in the bath behind you watching, as well as guy at the vanity next to you.
(You will know you are sitting correctly if your knees are level with your nipples.)
10. Next proceed to wash yourself with soap and shampoo and use the hand-held shower head to rinse while you sit uncomfortably in your room full of sausage.
11. Once you are washed and rinsed, relax in the big bath with the guys. But make sure you do a test to distinguish the hot and cold tubs. Relax in either one.
Remember: underwear is NOT allowed. So you’ll have to show your bing bong and chickadees.
12. When you are finished soaking, get out and dry off in front of everyone.
13. Try out the dry sauna. But beware: the crappy one at the YMCA you might be used to is like child’s play compared to this one. Don’t forget to grab a fresh butt-pad by the door to sit on. Stay in for about 2.5 minutes or until your fingers go numb from minor heat stroke.
14. Wash/rinse/dry off at your vanity one more time.
15. Now it’s time to brush your teeth and then engage in a smoke. Apparently it is customary.
16. Ditch towel in dirty bin and return naked to your locker.
17. Change into your yukata. Go to the mirror and take a picture for instagram.
18. Go to your capsule room, find your capsule and climb in.
19. Close screen and take off your robe, but firstly check that your capsule screen isn’t transparent and that you have an admirer watching from across the hall.
20. Check to make sure that you’re laying at the right end so you don’t just end up sleeping in a bad breathe cacoon.
21. Turn off the light and ignore the farting sound coming from other capsules.
22. Fall asleep thinking about how cool cultural differences are.
23. R.I.P. in your coffin capsule.