Thursday, January 07, 2010


"Tokyo_ For Alsukshi Nakanishi, since Christmas, home is a cubicle barely bigger than a coffin_ one of dozens of berths stacked two units high in one of central Tokyo's decrepit "capsule" hotels. "It's just a place to crawl into and sleep,"he said, rolling his neck and stroking his black suit _ one of just two he owns after discarding the rest of his wardrobe for lack of space. "You get used to it."
When Capsule Hotel Shinjuku 510 opened nearly two decades ago, Japan was just beginning to pull back from its bubble economy, and the hotel's tiny plastic cubicles offered a night's refuge to salarymen who had missed the last train home. Now, Hotel Shinjuku 510's capsules, no larger than 6.5 feet long by 5 feet wide, and not tall enough to stand up in, have become an affordable option for some people with nowhere else to go as Japan endures its worst recession since World War II" (New York Times, 2 January )RD

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