|ラーブ ホテル||Japan: Lodgings: Love Hotels|
You'll find "Love Hotels" all over Japan, places designed for folks to shack up and get it on. The rooms offer a fantasy of luxury and escape from crowded tiny apartments where families or neighbors might spy on licit or illicit physical pleasures.
You can tell the love hotels by their bright-lit neon signs with funny names, often English inflected: Hotel Elmer, Hotel Carrot, Hotel Charm, Hotel Princess, Hotel Chrystal. And the signs out front will list two or three prices: short stays, long stays, overnight stays.
In the lobby, you won't see any people. Only a large room menu on the wall. If a photo of a room is lit up, the room is available. You like that room, press a button next to the photo. A faceless person behind dark glass hands you a key after you hand them your cash.
While they might seem to be somewhat sordid for a foreign visitor, in Japan they are only somewhat perverted; mostly "futsuu" - normal, a fact of life for high school students on up to older middle aged folks, all wanting some privacy in a country with tiny dwellings and still some rice-paper walls.
The bulk of Love Hotel rooms are simply "nice;" the accentuative touches include bevelled edges, many mirrors, large TVs with Karaoke, big bathtubs, the Golf channel. But occasionally you'll find a hotel with a roman temple build around the bed. Or a bath and shower designed to resemble a mountain stream. Perhaps a circular bed under a functioning carousel. Fun lodgings! Adding kitch fantasy to utility pleasure quarters.
After a few nights in expensive tiny business hotel rooms, staying overnight in a Love Hotel made financial and experiential sense. I had lived in a neighborhood dense with Love Hotels, Uguisudani in Tokyo, but I always had a Mansion to call home. So in February 2002 when I needed some cheap short term lodging I went looking in my old 'hood.
Love Hotel Links:|