Checkout times during Japanese working days are early. The next morning the chief of the capsule hotel is rudely awaking us. We pack our stuff and laugh when we hear the swearing of a young businessman next of us who must have had a similar night out and is now running late for work.

We grab the Hakuba coach leaving from Shinjuku Station. It is here that the true monstrosity of the metropole shows.
The ride out of the city over an endless stretch takes hours until it eventually transforms into a scenic mountain highway that leads into the Japanese Alps.

A few hours later we watch the iconic blood red sun blissfully go downsetting in the valley. We are gaijin in this country, but feel strangely in place. The can in our hands that has ‘Brewed for good times’ printed boldly below its label only strengthens this feeling.

Tomorrow we’ll be riding Hakuba.