Only In Japan

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Love Hotels 2

The love hotel industry has been flourishing in Japan for at least 30 years; but as the market reached saturation, sometime during the Eighties, competition for the horny couple got much more intense. As usual though, competition has profited the customer, and there has never been a better time to take that special someone to a love hotel.

But concretely, what did the love hotel industry do to woo more customers?

The obvious first thing they did was to increase the quality of the service and the rooms available to the customers. One day when my favourite haunts were all full, I had to go to one of these old love hotels from the 80's; well it was very clean (as usual in Japan), but it felt pretty much like a regular hotel from the 80's with a new big-screen TV. None of the nifty gadgets I had grown used to: no sex-toy vending machines, no Karaoke set, no Playstation, no slot machines or tanning beds, no Jacuzzi bath...
Surprisingly, we managed to have fun anyway.

But the main revolution in the love hotel industry was the introduction of the theme room. To get an edge on the competition, hotels began to create rooms catering for particular sexual fantasies (the office, S&M dungeons, cars, classrooms, commuter trains...) as well as "exotic" rooms: Hawaii-themed rooms are everywhere, but you can also find a Provence-themed hotel here in Osaka, and I am sure all popular resort and travel destinations are covered somewhere in Japan. After all, they do have an Alcatraz-themed hotel in Gunma...

And then come the "cute" rooms: Japanese women LOVE anything cute, so inviting them to a "cute" room increases your chances of getting a positive answer, right?
Yes, right. And as a result, Teddy Bears, Hello Kitty, anime, Merry-Go-Rounds, Christmas angels in a Christmas wonderland... The whole gamut of children-oriented pop culture is represented in Japanese love hotels. I don't really understand how that puts people in a sexy mood, but to each his own I guess.

As an aside, a famous love hotel in Osaka has a S&M Hello Kitty room. No comment needed...

This abundance of choice also means that numerous websites are devoted to love hotel tourism; and most local entertainment magazines feature articles on the latest rooms/hotels, right between the "new restaurants" and the "cinema schedules" sections. There is no better proof of the respectabilty the love hotel has acquired in Japanese society... So if you have a chance, no need to feel embarassed! Choose the night's theme, and just go for it... It's money you won't regret.

Just avoid that schmaltzy Christmas Wonderland hotel. It really sucks.

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