Little Boxes

What does it look like, if you want to stack people?


I look more closely. Well, … there is a light, …


… but it does not look cheerful.


I would like to have a look inside. At the entrance a variety of signs hail me, some printed, some written by hand, some in a peculiar form of English, that basically say the same: Get lost, if you do not work in this building. Cameras appear to be especially unwelcome. There is a guard, just in case …

The more common way to stack people in Tokyo looks like this …


… or on a smaller scale:


The concept also applies to private homes …


… and makes cars look really big.


Many windows are opaque, shuttered or blocked by drying laundry. There seems to be a need to shield the little private space there is from the outside world.


I stop in Osaka for the night. Time to experience a capsule hotel. I have to sign a form with the house rules on it. There is a penalty on taking any luggage into the capsule. I have to store it in a locker. When I open the locker I find a pyjama. I get it: I am supposed to wear it during my stay. My clothes too go into the locker.

I join the uniformed guests. Different shades of ocher dominate the interior. I feel trapped.

There is a cafeteria, a big library that consists exclusively of mangas, a large washroom and several rows of comfortable deck chairs that face a wall of TV screens, all showing different programs with the sound turned off, all this under the ever watching eyes of a multitude of surveillance cameras. I do not linger and go straight to the capsule.


I climb in, …


… look out …


… and happily leave in the really early morning light.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s