Heading back from Nikko we’re catapulted back into the frenetic modernity of Japan and it’s hectic railway network.
Even the usually dry train literature is exciting to me. It helps that it’s super cute and colourful too.
The bullet trains have magazines advertising lots of intriguing, and in some cases, unfathomable, things for sale including these colourful, decorative bento boxes.
The man finally gets to live the dream as a train conductor, meanwhile you get a taste of exactly how cramped the trains can actually get.
Then it’s onto our lodgings for the evening – a capsule hotel. As we’re in Japan it would be a crying shame not to try out one of these curious little places.
We opt for the Booth Net Cafe and Capsule in the heart of manic Shinjuku.
Men’s and women’s capsules are separated so we head off in different directions!
Each tiny little capsule is like a small plastic box, with just enough room to sit up in. But it’s not as claustrophobic as I had feared.
There’s no door, just a pull down rattan blind and you get a plastic pillow!
Getting cosy for the night has never involved so much contortion before!!
As well as the capsule hotel section, the net booth cafe is also a haven for manga lovers.
It’s literally shelf after shelf of the colourful comic books. Completely bonkers.
The word “manga” comes from the Japanese word 漫画, made up of the two kanji 漫 (man) meaning “whimsical or impromptu” and 画 (ga) meaning “pictures”.
In Japan, people of all ages read manga. They come in a broad range of genres: action-adventure, comedy, historical drama, horror, romance, science fiction, fantasy and porn!
Manga stories are typically printed in black-and-white, although some full-colour manga exist.
In Japan, manga are usually serialised in large manga magazines, often containing many stories, each presented in a single episode to be continued in the next issue.
After our surprisingly comfortable night, it’s onto the train again and waving goodbye to Tokyo (sob) and onwards to the gorgeous Japanese alps.