Weeaboo Wednesday: Love Hotels

June 10, 2009


Generally we view Japan as a society of polite, and reserved people. Over the last few weeks, Sarah has shown us just how untrue that is. The truth is that Japan is host to a profound separation between public and private spheres (in-groups and out-groups). That separation produces some pretty hilarious results for us gaijin to laugh at. While that certainly doesn’t explain all of the weird things to come out that country, it certainly helps us understand the phenomenon that we’ll be examining today: the love hotel.

Love hotels are exactly what you think they are: motels that serve the modern, on-the-go couple looking for a quickie. They generally feature hourly rates, entertainment like karaoke and video games, and a comfy place to bone at will. Some of the places even have really nice websites. So yeah, today we’re talking about these strange little places called love hotels. Hit the jump for a journey into strangeness.

Chains and a spider bedspread... yeah, alright.

Spider bedspread? Chains? Ceiling mounted roulette table? Oh yeah, this is gonna be a fun night.

The function of love hotels is actually very simple. They’re a spontaneous getaway spot for couples (new and old; married and not) to get together for an evening or a few hours of fun. They’re equipped to serve people who weren’t planning on staying away from home. That is to say, that they’ll supply you with all of the toiletries (among other things) that you’ll need for your overnight stay. Some of these places even have a virtual buffet of all-you-can-view censored porn (as is the standard in Glorious Nippon) waiting for you on their televisions. Truly, they are places meant to meet your needs.

Of course there is a darker side to these odd little places. Prostitution is rampant and so are all of the problems that come with it. All that poopy business aside (we at the Sqlog are fans of looking the other way if it serves the cause of humor), some love hotels offer their clients enhanced means of deceiving their spouses and loved ones. One such device is a noise filter that can simulate the sound of traffic, a busy subway station, or a crowd. The purpose of this is to lend credence to your over-the-phone excuse for not being home on time. When you tell your spouse that you’ve been caught in traffic, the sound of car horns and engines will be there to back up your claim. This leaves you free to relax and enjoy your stay (assuming you’re capable of getting past the fact that you’ve just gone to Mission Impossible levels to lie to your spouse about fucking someone else).



I know it seems as though I’ve described to you a terrible place of deception and loveless intercourse. Really though, I have to wonder if a place that offers couples a judgment-free place to have fun can really be all bad. I suppose that that the telephone sound filter device is a pushing that moral boundary a bit. At the same time though, these places serve as a total retreat within a densely populated, isolationist society. For the most part, love hotels are clean, well managed, and pretty swanky at times. So next time you’re in Japan, visit one, and experience the  morally ambiguous magic for yourself.


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