Unity is strength

My training in the capsule hotel is complete. I am now an effective member of Japanese society. Unity is strength.

The breakfast was again adequate this morning. It met our nutritional needs. The surface in the sleeping capsule was hard, which encourages us to be strong. Softness is weakness.
It was difficult to return the uniform and wear Outsider clothing again. Yesterday, we did this as well, to partake in the Tenjin Matsuri Festival. The procession of boats was very orderly. Order brings unity. Unity is strength. There were very many stands of delicious food. Strangely, people eat fried eggs for snacks. There were also, perhaps, more people going through the transit system than I’ve ever seen but it all worked somehow. I attribute this to the resolve and unity of the Japanese people. Society above all.
We also went to the beach earlier in the day. It was great, since the heat was unbearable yesterday (and every day). We didn’t get a chance to go surfing but just getting in the water was awesome.
Today, I am going for a final, easy day in Kyoto. I will return to Haneda airport tomorrow morning.
Unity is strength,
C208
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Capsule hotel night 2

I wore the supplied pajamas today. Everyone wears them. Unity is strength. My designation is C208. I do not know why I ever needed a name. Names are for the Outsiders.

The shower and bathing facilities were enjoyable. C208 is now clean. Cleanliness is honourable.
It is very late. C208 is in the designated relaxation area. The clothes from the outside world are being cleaned. The drying device takes very long and consumes many coins. Yen is not needed here. Yen is for the outside world.
C208 is very tried. Soon, I will go to the capsule. The capsule is unity. Unity is strength.

Flexibility is key

Upon arriving in Osaka yesterday, we found a poster for a big festival, which spans today and tomorrow. In fact, it’s one of the top three in Japan! Well, having already seen some of the Gion Festival (also one of the top 3), we don’t want to miss this one either!

Today was to be the beach day, with tomorrow being the hike from Magome to Tsumago, two post towns along the old samurai trail between Kyoto and Tokyo. I asked 明美 and she said tomorrow’s the better day for the festival. Some Internet research confirmed this, given there is a huge boat show (maybe the world’s largest) and fireworks display in the evening.
So we decided to switch it up. Beach tomorrow. Get back in time to enjoy the festival. Gonna try to get in some surfing at the beach, too.
Anyway, the hike was terrific. The Kiso valley is such a beautiful area. I finally also saw some old village-y kind of areas, which I imagined old-style Japan being, which I haven’t really seen until now.
Also, as we arrived in Tsumago, there was a local festival going on, with a big street procession, going down the main/only road in the village. There were lots of food stands and it seemed everyone in the parade was at least somewhat drunk, yet still forced to carry a giant float thingy. It was a fun random occurrence, which came from being flexible in our plans.
We are on the way home but still a ways away. Gonna do some laundry, go in the sauna, and take a hot bath. Job well done – successful day. Tomorrow will be great too.

A night at a capsule hotel

So we spent our first night at a capsule hotel. Definitely weird, awesome, and terrible all at once.

After you surrender your shoes and check in, you get a locker, where you can put your stuff. Then you can go to your capsule and enjoy the various facilities, including a bathhouse and sauna.
The capsule itself was big enough but still a bit closterphobic-feeling. It was like sleeping in the bottom bunk, which I always try to avoid. The mattress was not very padded and the pillow was a bag of rocks. Still, it was okay, except for the noisy people in the morning.
I didn’t use the sauna because I got home too late last night. I did meet up with Bert and Andreas (and later Elon) in the common area, where they have reclining chairs and four different TVs, two of which were showing strange Japanese pornography at night.
There’s also a manga library and a bunch of slot machines. I put 100¥ in as my first gambling experience. I guess I lost. I don’t know why people play slot machines. It was very boring.
They also provide towels, toothbrushes, hair brushes, soaps, and pajamas. You don’t need to care for much. I think this place is aimed at the unprepared and the useless people in society. They sell a passable breakfast. Toast in Japan is awesome; it’s thick, like Texas toast.
Anyway, it was all good overall. Definitely worth the wacky experience. After all, I always say that you only need a bed in the end.

Onsen

Yesterday was the spa day. We went to the famous onsen in Matsuyama, apparently the most famous in Japan. It was nice and relaxing but it did not last as long as I would have hoped. Germany definitely has the better spa experience, from what I can see!

We also checked out the castle there from the outside. It is up on a big hill, so you can see around town. It was a nice walk.
The cool thing is that the best way to get to Hiroshima today was by boat, so we got to enjoy the sea a bit. If only I didn’t feel so sick from that poisonous sushi.

Sushi

Well, the day finally arrived: I tried sushi in Japan. In fact, it was my idea to eat it tonight. I tried to keep an open mind, especially since there was no seaweed, but every second felt like a violation of my very soul.

It was a horrifying experience, so far past my comfort zone that I think will experience post traumatic stress disorder. I was, however, surprised to find there truly is no taste to fresh fish. But that didn’t make it better: I knew what I was eating. It’s probably combining into a super fish and swimming around in my stomach as we speak. So disgusting. I even bit one up to the tail.

So I’ve done it. I’ve tried sushi in Japan. It didn’t taste bad (unlike tempura, which tastes like deep fried ocean) but it was a horrifying ordeal, which I hope never to repeat. I’ll never be the same again after this harrowing experience, and not just because I began it by spilling a fresh, hot bowl of miso soup onto my pants.

21/07/14 – never forget.