Would You Live in a 5-Foot Condo? Some Japanese Do

You think you've got it bad?

Japan is enduring its worst recession in decades. So what can you rent in Tokyo for $640 a month during the downturn? Not an apartment, but a berth -- a tiny shelf in a "capsule hotel."

Built for "salarymen" who missed the last train home after staying out drinking, capsule hotels are now the homes of last resort for Japan's unemployed, according to the New York Times. Each 6 1/2-foot by 5-foot "room" contains a bed, a TV, and a pair of coat hooks. So what if the place looks like a microwave oven museum? For the hundred or so Japanese who rent the cubicles long term, it beats living on the streets.

Cubbyhole-living may sound rather drastic to most Americans, even those losing their homes. The American dream house isn't a capsule -- it's the whole hotel.