It was late in the evening when I finally touched down on Japanese soil. As this was my first time to Japan, I was doubtful of my navigational skills and concerned that I’d miss the last train into Tokyo or get lost trying to find my hostel at nearly midnight. To avoid any problems, I decided to spend the night at First Cabin at the Haneda Airport, then get the train into the city tomorrow.
First Cabin is similar to a capsule hotel but allows male and female guests (many capsule hotels are only for men). The hotel is cute and models itself after an airport and airplane. Each capsule or room accommodates one person and you have a choice between two different sizes of rooms. The capsules are lined up next to each other and separated into sections or gates. Men and women have their own gates.
Inside your cabin you’ll find a bed, pajamas, nightstand, hanger, slippers, body towel, face towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, television and headset. Shared bathrooms are down the hall, and again, men and women have separate facilities. First Cabin provides everything you could possibly need. Inside the showers, you’ll find shampoo, conditioner and body soap. Along the vanities there are many beauty products for your pleasure, including make-up remover, lotions, hair dryers, curling irons, tissues and q-tips.
This was a great experience for me (I’ve wanted to try a capsule hotel and this is probably as close as I’ll get to one) and a good start to my Japanese adventure.
Before I knew it, my flight to Japan was upon me. I took the LRT to the KL Sentral, the main bus terminal, and then caught an airport bus directly to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport‘s low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT). It was all a bit hectic and a new experience for me but I planned for plenty of time if there was a detour or longer route about which I didn’t know.
When I arrived at the LCCT, the mass of people and sounds overwhelmed me. The chaos overloaded my senses as there were so many people (travelers, hawkers, vendors, taxi drivers, shuttle buses, etc). Having checked the night before, I already had my boarding pass on my phone. I just needed check my bag in and wait for my flight. I picked up two chicken burgers from Marry Brown – one to eat and one to take on the plane. Then, it was a matter of sitting and waiting for my flight.
The Air Asia flight to Haneda Airport went off without a hitch. I enjoyed the old school procedure of walking on the tarmac to board the plane and not through a breezeway. I’m not sure if this was due to the airport’s layout or if the plane was too small for a breezeway. Still, it felt like a novelty to walk out to the plane, even though the heat was sweltering.
Not surprisingly, the plane was full. I suppose the prices were just too good to pass up. On my left, I met Kelvin from Penang. He was traveling with his family to visit his sister in Tokyo. Sarah from New Zealand sat on my right and was just backpacking Japan. We were all excited to arrive in Nihon and explore the country.
To prepare for my trip to Japan, Voon and I went to her local grocery store for supplies. I needed some snacks for the plane because I booked with AirAsia, a budget airlines that didn’t include meals with your ticket.
As I browsed around, I came across something that made my jaw drop. Searching for some shampoo, I had stumbled across the feminine hygiene section and saw sanitary pads bundled together into books and attached to the shelves. Was this some kind of multiple choice test?
The books were obviously sample products to tell shoppers of the options they had for their sanitary pad needs. However, I just found it to be completely hilarious.
Judging by the wide-ranging brands and styles, I guess girls might need help deciding which one to use. It sure seems as though Malaysians know how to deal with any kind of menstrual flow that’s out there. Interestingly enough, there were definitely more pads than tampons for sale, and I didn’t find any sample tampon books. I wonder what, if anything, that means?
After finding so many “manuals,” I had to take a closer look to see if they really helpful. After a few minutes of browsing, I must admit that they were. They gave you the true size and texture of the pads so you didn’t have to guess. Each brand had its own bible, if you will. It was just incredible.
I know that each country has their own way of doing things and that it may not be the same as my home country. But, this bible of pads is honestly the most surprising and amusing difference I’ve come across thus far. It had me laughing for ages and ages afterwards.