I arrived in Tokyo around midnight. As I scrambled to pick up my train pass, subway pass, and pocket wifi, I realized I had already spent an extra hour at the airport more than I intended. After I finally sorted out the Subway to my hostel I embarked on my Japan adventure.
I was expecting an empty subway with maybe a few homeless people sleeping on it like San Francisco, but Tokyo is not San Francisco. The first thing that struck me upon entering the subway was how unbelievably clean it was; I looked around and saw seats that I would actually sit in. Gone was the usual array of blood, vomit, and other human liquids that had soaked into the seats. As the train began hitting the first few stops, on the way to Shinjuku Station, men and women in very nice suits began to drunkenly stumble into the train from various bars. It was Friday night and it seemed like they were just getting started. The man across from me from sat slumped over breathing heavily; slightly jerking back to reality every few minutes. I waited for the projectile vomit but it never came.
I looked around the train at the other drunken people; it was surprisingly quite and orderly. No one was being belligerently loud and no one was being obscene. Instead people were engaged in quite conversation, reading manga cartoon books, or playing games on their phones.
After a few train transfers I finally made it to Shinjuku station, a station bigger than the town I live in. As I walked to the Ace Inn Capsule hostel I became painfully aware of the sharp ache in my right foot. I had decided a few weeks ago I would stop snowboarding to avoid injury before my trip to Japan, at the time it seemed like a smart idea, right? Well somehow, within 6 hours of my flight, I managed to severely hurt my foot hanging out in a park in San Francisco with friends. I just hoped it would subside and I wouldn’t have to deal with it the whole trip.
I arrived to Ace Inn and I was wide awake, 16 hour difference and it was 2 am, what is the point of sleep. I dropped my bags and began to explore the streets around my hostel. Oh the hostel, let me tell you about it. It is what you called a capsule hostel and it’s basically little pod beds you crawl into and sleep for the night. Imagine sleeping in a motor home above the drivers and passenger’s seat, very little room and if you wake up to fast you’ll hit your head.
In most countries, including the USA, walking around at 3am is a good way to get jumped and robbed, but not in Tokyo. Tokyo is the safest city in the world, and the cleanest city I’ve ever seen. Even the pigeons are well groomed.
As I sit here watching the sun rise I wonder what my first day in the Empire of the Sun will be like…