Archive for March, 2010

Love Hotels: A 5-step guide
March 8, 2010

In Japan, most young couples still live with their parents. So where are they supposed to have sex? In the local Love Hotel, of course. Here is a 5-step guide to your first Love Hotel experience.

1. Choose a Love Hotel.

Generally, the name, location, and presentation make it easy to differentiate a LH from a regular H. Hotel Angel, with multi-colored flood lights, tacky cupid statues, and NO WINDOWS should strike the clueless gaijin as a bit different from Comfort Inn.

Hint: Walk inside. If there is no staff present and/or a LED-lit waterfall flowing through the tiny lobby, you’re probably in a Love Hotel.

2. Pick a room and a timeframe.

Most love hotels use a touch-screen system for reserving a room, eliminating the embarrassment of bumping into hotel staff with that questionable drunk hookup you met at the techno club. Rooms vary greatly in size and features. You can choose to stay for a “rest” (about 3 hours) or overnight.

A small room should be about 3000 yen for a “rest” and 6000 yen for an all night session. The deluxe rooms, more than big enough for a threesome (or all out epic porno orgy), often come equipped with massive plasma TVs, an equally massive jacuzzi, a sauna, massage chairs — even a miniature swimming pool. Well worth the extra money.

3. Pay up

Once you reserve a room with the touch screen, proceed to the elevator. Generally, reserving the room temporarily unlocks the door to the room you chose. Track it down and enter. There will be a payment machine built into the wall of the genkan (entry way, similar to a mudroom in the U.S., this is where you remove your shoes). Slide in your cash or swipe your credit card, and the room will unlock.

IMPORTANT: Love Hotels are meant for sex. This is not a hotel where you can drop off your bags and head to the bar. Once you are in, you are IN. Once you leave, the door will lock. But don’t worry, everything you could possibly need can be brought to you (see next step).

4. Room service!

Unlike most mainstream hotels, Love Hotels offer dirt cheap room service. A bowl of ramen or a basket of chicken will cost about the same as it would in a standard Japanese restaurant. The refrigerator will probably be stocked with beer and shochu for just a tad more than it would be at conbini.

If you splurged on a deluxe room, this is where the fun really begins. Deluxe rooms generally offer free goodies. Board games, a humidifier, expensive shampoo, massage oil… there should be a folder full of complimentary items available for you in the same spot that you found the room service menu.

And of course… the costume selection. Most Love Hotels offer a free costume for female guests. Have a school girl fetish (so that’s why you became an ALT…)? There are about a dozen school girl uniforms to choose from. Nurses your thing? Office lady? Superhero? Done, done, and done.

Note: Condoms are always provided free of charge in Love Hotels. However, they are not always the highest quality (or proper size), so bringing your own is a good idea.

5. Get down to biznass.

You got your Scrabble, your bottle of cheap champagne, and a Sailor Moon outfit. Now’s your time to shine. Be as loud as you want, as messy as you want, and use the ceiling-mounted mirrors to your advantage. Ganbatte!

Love Hotel video from Babelgum that I couldnt embed or get to work with Vodpod. NUDITY, BE WARNED!

Convenience store booze bazaar
March 6, 2010

Back in the States, the availability of alcohol varies greatly. New Jersey has liquor stores, Pennsylvania has beer distributors, and New York has cases of beer at the convenience store.

However, in the land of beer vending machines, alcohol is easier to come by than anywhere I have previously experienced.

There are 3 major convenience stores operating on literally just about every street corner in Japan: Seicomart, Lawson, and 711. In Japan, convenience stores are called コンビ二, or “conbini,” the shortened and katakana-ized form of convenience.

My favorite is Seicomart for the low prices (although 711 admittedly has better food). All of them, however, have a vast selection of alcoholic beverages.

This Seicomart, in Bihoro, had a wine and whiskey selection to rival many liquor stores back home, alongside 2+ gallon jugs of sake. The staples, such as Smirnoff, Beefeater, and Bailey’s were also in attendance.

Next to innocent bottles of Coke and green tea lies the beer/wine cooler section. While I (sadly) haven’t seen 40s in the conbini, there is a plethora of Japanese beer, shochu, and Smirnoff Ice-esque drinks. Sadly, for the cost of 4 beers here, you could enjoy a 2 hour nomihoudai at a local bar. Who sets the insane price of beer over here?!