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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Love Hotels Redefined

Back in the 1960s when the first of its kind love hotel named (not surprisingly) Hotel Love opened up offering consenting couples an opportunity to hide their love away for a night, or more than likely for a four or two hour “stay”, few realized that the the love hotel business could be such a financially successful one - worth, it is estimated around two- to ‎¥3-trillion yen (US$17-25 billion) a year.

My favorite chain of love hotels (I only ever stayed in one - once) was one called 5-5-5

That’s because the Japanese word for five is “go”. Hence, go-go-go… a wonderfully witty English turn of a Japanese phrase for a love hotel.

It has multiple (no pun intended) meanings. Come and go. Go, as in ‘hurry in’… stuff like that… but it’s true meaning is the one I described first.

Love hotels evolved into a bedroom away from home.

in Japan, it’s young adults are not supposed to engage in sexual relations before marriage… and while everyone knows that everyone had pre-martial sex, for the parents in charge of maintaining their daughter’s virtue and virginity, everything was pretty much “okay” (air quotes very much intentional) as long as things weren’t overt.

Parents didn’t want everyone in the community to be talking about the sexual proclivity of their “child”, so as long as things occurred in the cover of secrecy in areas and places designated as love hotels, it was “no harm - no foul”.

Let’s face it - if someone saw your adult son or daughter enter a love hotel, one could wonder aloud how that person knew - like… what were you doing there?

No one wants to be a snitch in Japan.

Love hotels, along with allowing its customer base to spend the night or for a couple hours of sexual bliss, began to design special themed rooms for the clientele.

Things like a Star Wars-themed room (Say hello to my little wookie) … a Tarzan-theme room (Me Tarzan - Uganda)… a Hello Kitty S&M room (think Monty Python… a little white pussy cat, please?)…  a Casino Room (always bet on Black - a line from Passenger 57)… a Mickey & Minnie room (ha-ha-hah - Mouseketeers have big ears!).

Unfortunately, most of the themed love hotels have been remodeled in recent years… so now it’s pretty vanilla.

By vanilla, you could still find a love hotel room similar to what I stayed in: the valentine room (honestly… we were tired and just looking for a cheap place to crash for the evening in Tokyo - and love hotels were cheaper than regular ones.)

This room had red satin all over the place… a heart-shaped Jacuzzi… no way are we going in a Jacuzzi where billions of sperm have been spilled… plus… what I can recall, a round bed - which I do recall falling off from while sleeping… as I’m pretty sure round beds in a Japanese love hotel were not made for larger gaijin (foreigner) to actually be sleeping in.

I was lucky enough as an unmarried man in his 20s to own my own place. Not being Japanese, I didn’t have to stay at home with the folks until I was married… and even if I was a single Japanese man in his 20s working in a city far away from the parental units… I would be sooooo busy kissing the boss’ butt that I wouldn’t have much time for any (my baby loves the) hanky-panky with the opposite or same sex (whatever yanks your crank, baby).

So… being an available bachelor… having my own place… I couldn’t speak Japanese to blab to anyone… it was easy to find different and willing partners for my proclivities.

But… while an estimated 1.4 million people visit a Japanese love hotel every day - that is still a significant drop from the good old days.

The main issue of non-issue is layered (pun intended).

Nowadays, more young people (20-29-year-olds) are moving away from the family home to find work… so, who the heck needs a love hotel for discreet encounters away from the parents?

The other thing is the general apathy of the young Japanese adult… who doesn’t want to get married or have a girlfriend or even be bothered to have sex. It’s not like that means everyone in Japan is uninterested in sex.

That’s ridiculous to think or believe.

It’s just a large number (still the minority of consenting adults) who are rowing that boat (stroke - stroke - stroke).   

So… with a decided downswing in Japan requiring private quarters to play with each others privates, love hotels are looking to cater to a different market - the gaijin.

And no… it’s not the standard goofy guy or gal teaching English, or playing the barkeep… no… I’m talking about the tourist trade - such as the large number of Chinese who are coming over to take advantage of the weak Japanese yen.

In fact, roughly 1/3 of all 20,000,000 tourists who visited Japan in 2016 were from China.

Touring or trying to figure out where to park the car when they win WWIII?

Consider that Tokyo will also play host to a (hopeful) 40,000,000 people with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Unlike the Japanese, not every foreigner trying to get his or her freak on is interested in using furry handcuffs, or swinging from a vine.

Actually, I don’t see why they wouldn’t. You are in Japan… you’re in a Love Hotel… I don’t see why people wouldn’t want to have some fun.

Of course… I might be naive here… but I suppose a love hotel could be used by professional escorts… I never thought about that before… just always assumed it was in use by horny, dating couples.

Love hotels are now billing themselves as ‘urban resorts’ in a hope of capturing the growing (no longer groaning) tourist trade.

Hey… after each sexual encounter at a love hotel - whether it was for the night or merely a stay, love hotel cleaning staff would immediately come after the guest come (sp)  and go… so there was a level of cleanliness.

I just wouldn’t use the Jacuzzi… do you really think they are cleaning out the jacuzzi after each tryst? My bet is they are just using a skimmer.

Somewhere living vicariously,
Andrew Joseph 
PSL Photo of the Tokyo love hotel: Hotel Romans... no wait... Hotel Romance... effing katakana. Photo is my own - feel free to use, if you wish.


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