After a long flight from London Heathrow to Beijing, I found myself running through the airport – full speed – to terminal E34. Finally, what felt like miles later, I made it onto the plane to Nagoya.
My luggage, unfortunately, did not.
I was bright eyed and bushy tailed as I walked through security; I received my alien card, and even spoke a few Japanese words to an actual Japanese speaker for the first time!
At the luggage collection, my good spirits and eagerness left me standing alone as I realised no more bags would come through. I was alone with my rucksack and only the clothes on my back.
The air-hostesses were kind and caring, and told me their sympathies as I cried in public for my lost bags. They had everything I owned in them. I was especially worried for my laptop, since there was talk that I might not see it ever again when I receive the rest of my luggage. All hope and excitement for the next year was replaced with anxiety and stress immediately.
It was disappointing that I couldn’t enjoy the first night in Japan and, instead, my night at the capsule was spent fretting whilst taking obligatory pictures in between tears.
I placed my lonely backpack in my locker and changed into the provided pyjamas. At least they were clean, unlike the clothes I would have to put back on in the morning, despite wearing them the entirety of the previous 24 hour journey. Shoes are not allowed to be worn outside the changing room, and the slippers provided were cool and roomy – perfect for my swollen feet after the flight.
Next, I took myself to freshen up. One thing the UK should start investing in is Japanese toilets. Not only is using a bidet severely underrated, but these toilets sing to you. I was reminded of my high school toilet-paranoia, where it was mandatory for your friends to come with you to keep the hand dryer on so that no one could hear you going about your business. Although, I guess singing toilets would remove this friendship ritual, and so how would you know that your friends are really your friends…
I was very appreciative of the amenities that came with the hotel since I had nothing. Towel and bath mats were provided, as well as: (very fancy) shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face cleanser, face toner, hair bobbles, kirby grips, ear buds, cotton pads and hairdryers. At least I could be clean.
The capsule itself wasn’t as futuristic as I expected, but was still an experience.
Japanese autumn is not like UK autumn, and the heat was starting to play with my head, so I was very grateful of the fan in my pod. There was a plug to charge my phone, and an LED torch for after I had turned off the main light. The duvet was thick, and would have been ideal if I had arrived in winter. The pillow, however, was filled with beads, and while it looks deceivingly comfy, it is actually impossible to sleep on. Even if I hadn’t been stressed to the point of insomnia, I doubt I could have fallen asleep on what felt like a bag of pebbles.
I watched an episode of Gilmore girls to calm myself, slept for less than a total of two hours, and checked out of the hotel at 5:30 am ready to start my adventure.
My luggage and ALL its contents were delivered two days later. The silver lining was that I didn’t need to struggle with two 20kg suitcases on the trains to the university.
While my capsule experience was circumstantially underwhelming, at least I can say I’ve done it – although next time I would definitely chose a real bed.