How to Use a Japanese Love Hotel
by Scarlett Clare
1. Research hotels. If you’re planning on engaging in hotel exploits in Osaka (which you should be, because it has the best LH district in Japan), you’ll be confronted with dozens and dozens of establishments with names like Pink Lips, so you want to make sure you’re choosing the best.
2. Choose Hotel Pamplona, because your boyfriend enjoys the connotations of bulls, and it has the most creative themed rooms.
3. Don’t be gay (sorry). Japanese society still largely ignores the existence of same-sex-sex, and Love Hotel receptionists are within their rights to refuse you entry.
4. Be as Japanese as possible. If you are a tall, freckled redhead like myself, this means speaking Japanese as fluently and casually as possible, to prevent the receptionist from looking too closely when she raises the ‘anonymity curtain’ to check for any breaches of No. 3.
5. Peruse room themes. You do so by looking at a lit panel of available rooms (occupied rooms will be darkened) and making a selection on a keypad.
6. Choose ‘classroom’ theme, because a) it has a blackboard, b) it has desks, and c) you’re an English teacher.
7. Pay approximately $30 American dollars for two hours of ‘rest’ time.
8. Get into an elevator that smells suspiciously delicious with a Japanese business man and his much younger companion. Avoid eye contact.
9. Identify your room by means of the bright red light flashing above the doorframe.
10. Enter your room. Take off your shoes, we’re civilized here.
11. Inspect the room. Enjoy, and gradually become disgusted by, how precisely it matches the very rooms in which you teach.
12. Notice the discrepancies, including a vending machine which dispenses $40 vibrators and $3 red lace crotchless panties.
13. Buy red lace crotchless panties.
14. Become intrigued by the school locker in the corner.
15. Get in the locker.
16. Get locked in the locker.
17. Shriek “YOU’RE DOING BONDAGE WRONG.”
18. Get allowed out of the locker.
19. Peruse the television for porn. Find only game shows and college basketball. Are forced to watch college basketball for a while.
20. Get on the bed. Try to avoid thinking about why the mattress has a plastic upper.
21. Notice very obvious splash marks on the wall. Try not to be offended when boyfriend remarks “Someone had a better time than us.”
23. Fix your hair in the mirror above the bed.
25. Inspect the bathroom for toiletries. Find condoms (banana and grape flavor). Steal condoms.
26. Use the jacuzzi in the bathroom. Become amused by a sachet that turns the water pink and scents it with cherries.
28. Shower again.
29. Embrace smelling like cherries for the rest of your life.
30. Exit the room. Descend in the elevator. Stand in line at reception behind the same businessman you ascended with, as he hands over a quantity of money which you wish you didn’t know means he bought a butt-plug from the vending machine in his room.
31. Pay for crotchless panties, looking as nonchalant as possible.
32. Glance again at the screen advertising available rooms. Notice that a new one is free: “Mad Scientist,” which includes an operating table, restraints, and exposed pipes.
33. Decide to come back another day.
34. Go eat fish and chips in a pseudo British pub, where you will be complimented on your “fruity perfume.”
Scarlett Clare is 24 and lives in Japan. Red hair dye is hard to come by in Japan, but apart from that she likes it.