0

A Yen For Romance

Experiencing The Iconic Japanese Love Hotel


 

takeoff_tile“Irasshaimase,” a discreet voice greets us from somewhere above the crystal chandelier as the glass doors zip open, allowing my husband and I to skulk into the gleaming lobby. There is, however, no one in sight. The decor is unassuming, the lighting is muted, and the music, subdued.

Furtively, we look around the room until we see a radiant row of panels across the room, blinking invitingly. We tiptoe over the marbled tiles, seeing ourselves reflected in polished mirrors everywhere we look. We have never done this sort of thing before.

The panel depicts many different rooms in different themes at different prices. The Black Leather Room is the most expensive at $210 for three hours, too dark for my romantic tastes and it would take us far too long to work out what all that apparatus on the wall was for anyway. Besides, our idea of an anniversary celebration leans more toward M & Ms than

S & M.

Panel number two, though, now we’re talking: a huge oval soaker tub for four and acres of marbled bathroom the size of my home, a round bed, and oh goody – a karaoke bar with mirrors and lights. That will give us something to do with the other two and three quarter hours of our allotted time for love. The price is better too: $90 for 3 hours. We could stay the whole night for $300, but how much love can a couple married for 25 years stand? We decide three hours should do it, push the button under the picture, and watch the panel light go off while a room card slips out. Simultaneously, the nearby elevator doors slide open, the disembodied voice says, “Arigato Gozaimashita” – thank you – and we slip into the elevator. The muzak plays on in the elevator, covering the sound of the doors closing silkily on our beating hearts.

Second floor. A red light is blinking off and on at a doorway, indicating the entrance to our romantic fantasy. We slip in the key and – tadaima – we enter “The Mirror and Marble Love Dreams With Your Sweetheart Room.”

In crowded Japan, couples frequently live with their parents in tiny apartment rooms, and children stay at home until they marry. Love hotels, rented short term and conveniently located in every city, thus make discreet romance possible. The one we chose, Hotel Vista, was circumspect from the outside and classier than most. The parking area lay behind high walls so license plates couldn’t be recognized from outside. There was, however, no place for our rusted and tattered bikes. I guess lovers don’t usually cycle to their clandestine trysts.

Inside our room, thankfully, was everything we could possibly need: room service, a well stocked bar, bubble bath, lotions, sleep shirts, slippers, shampoo, toothpaste, douches, and a sex toy dispenser.

A wall-sized TV with multiple screens previews all of the sexy videos we have the choice of watching, but there seems no way to turn it off. The champagne glasses sparkle, the Jacuzzi tub beckons, and the inviting bed awaits.

Cutaway to the moon rising…

Later, back at the “Love Dreams” hotel room, I’m completing my karaoke debut while my lover paces outside the door, checking his watch and reminding me that we will be automatically charged another $90 if we go over our time limit. A machine inside the entrance to the room ticks loudly like a time bomb. It wants to be fed for our stay.

So, while he curses and fumbles as he tries to decipher how to insert the notes, I try out some of the creams and powders and prepare for my exit. The yens are accepted and digested in the nick of time. We slip out without seeing a soul, the music blanketing our footsteps and the mirrors reflecting our dazed and dissipated faces.

“Sayonara,” the plush voice whispers as we leave the Vista, feeling once again like teenagers caught in the back seat.

Panel number two, though, now we’re talking: a huge oval soaker tub for four and acres of marbled bathroom the size of my home, a round bed, and oh goody – a karaoke bar with mirrors and lights. That will give us something to do with the other two and three quarter hours of our allotted time for love. The price is better too: $90 for 3 hours. We could stay the whole night for $300, but how much love can a couple married for 25 years stand? We decide three hours should do it, push the button under the picture, and watch the panel light go off while a room card slips out. Simultaneously, the nearby elevator doors slide open, the disembodied voice says, “Arigato Gozaimashita” – thank you – and we slip into the elevator. The muzak plays on in the elevator, covering the sound of the doors closing silkily on our beating hearts.

Second floor. A red light is blinking off and on at a doorway, indicating the entrance to our romantic fantasy. We slip in the key and – tadaima – we enter “The Mirror and Marble Love Dreams With Your Sweetheart Room.”

In crowded Japan, couples frequently live with their parents in tiny apartment rooms, and children stay at home until they marry. Love hotels, rented short term and conveniently located in every city, thus make discreet romance possible. The one we chose, Hotel Vista, was circumspect from the outside and classier than most. The parking area lay behind high walls so license plates couldn’t be recognized from outside. There was, however, no place for our rusted and tattered bikes. I guess lovers don’t usually cycle to their clandestine trysts.

Inside our room, thankfully, was everything we could possibly need: room service, a well stocked bar, bubble bath, lotions, sleep shirts, slippers, shampoo, toothpaste, douches, and a sex toy dispenser.

A wall-sized TV with multiple screens previews all of the sexy videos we have the choice of watching, but there seems no way to turn it off. The champagne glasses sparkle, the Jacuzzi tub beckons, and the inviting bed awaits.

Cutaway to the moon rising…

Later, back at the “Love Dreams” hotel room, I’m completing my karaoke debut while my lover paces outside the door, checking his watch and reminding me that we will be automatically charged another $90 if we go over our time limit. A machine inside the entrance to the room ticks loudly like a time bomb. It wants to be fed for our stay.

So, while he curses and fumbles as he tries to decipher how to insert the notes, I try out some of the creams and powders and prepare for my exit. The yens are accepted and digested in the nick of time. We slip out without seeing a soul, the music blanketing our footsteps and the mirrors reflecting our dazed and dissipated faces.

“Sayonara,” the plush voice whispers as we leave the Vista, feeling once again like teenagers caught in the back seat.


 
Filed under:

Sign in to comment.