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I-Pod Freedom Chevalier has enjoyed over twenty years success as an award-winning stage performer and a pop/country vocalist. Since retiring from live performance in the mid-nineties, she has worked continually in various written mediums. Captivated by the images of tea houses in Kyoto that her father would bring back from his visits, what started as a way to keep his memory alive after his death has become a genuine love of a culture that has loved her back.

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ou’ve bought your tickets and made a list of what to pack. But, where will you stay? Accommodations in Japan are varied and can range from £360 for one luxurious 5-star night at the Park Hyatt Tokyo (remember Lost In Translation?), to Osaka’s (in)famous Diamond Hotel, often referred to as the “cheapest room in Japan” at £4.50 per night. But you want something different, something unique, something exclusive to the archipelago: the capsule hotel. The capsule, or pod hotel (カプセルホテル), can be an inexpensive (between £10 and £25 per night) way to rest up from the day’s adventures AND a brilliant tale to tell your friends. Capsule hotels predominantly consist of several floors. Each floor houses a slew of casket shaped rectangular pods resting side-by-side, stacked two capsules high. Inside you get a mattress, TV, and a lock box for valuables. Some have Wi-Fi and built in computer ports. Initially designed to accommodate hard-working salarymen who missed the last train home, they have evolved into a unique cultural experience.

How it works Upon arrival, remove your shoes. You’ll be given slippers to wear, a yukata (robe), and your key. Some places provide a wristband to identify you as a paid patron. Off you trundle along a corridor of double decker pods to locate your “room”. While the majority of capsule hotels are men only, those that cater to women designate separate “women only” floor(s) for safety and comfort. You’ll change out of your travelling clothes for the night in one of the dressing rooms, and wash in the shower room (some have a sento or onsen). Tired and clean you’re ready to snuggle into your 2m x 1m x 1.25m roost for a well-deserved rest. Onsite vending machines offer the opportunity to purchase toothbrushes, shirts, ties, underwear… and food.

While the thought of a pod conjures up images of outer space transport for many, the capsules are more Earth-Like than you may imagine, feeling more like a summer camp experience than stasis chamber. Inside the capsule you have access to individual control over your unit’s lights, television channels, porn (that’s the big red button that costs an extra ¥400), and radio. They have an alarm clock so you don’t oversleep, but many hotels utilize an announcement system to remind clients that it’s time to get up and start moving. That’s when you hand back your yukata, wristband, and settle your account.

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Love Japan Magazine Issue 2  
Love Japan Magazine Issue 2  

Welcome to the second issue of Love Japan Magazine! Written by fans, for fans, Love Japan is a celebration of Japanese culture, covering lif...

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