the lovely hotels
Valentine's Day is fast approaching, which means aptly named chocolate will be sold by the ton in the coming days. It also means that the nation's love hotels can expect their busiest weekend, with couples - married, not-yet-married, and adulterous - making their way to these popular establishments.
A love hotel is, as the name suggests, a place where people go to be lovely to each other. This may involve serving your partner a cup of tea with a slice of cake, or perhaps giving a compliment such as: "That's a really nice shirt you're wearing."
A really nice shirt.
Because Japan is generally not an openly compliment-giving society, the love hotel is used as a place for discreet mutual exchanges of such behaviour.
Many Japanese houses are small with paper walls, so an overheard compliment could be cause for embarrassment. Fortunately, in a love hotel, couples can talk as loudly as they like, without fear of others overhearing them as they give praise. As the well-known Japanese proverb goes: "In a love hotel, a loud compliment is a nail that can stick out happily for a change."
Love hotels are usually equipped with various appliances to enhance lovely behaviour between couples. For example, many rooms can be found with vacuum cleaners - a perfect opportunity for a man to exhibit loveliness, as in: "You take a rest, dear. I'll clean the room."
A room being lovingly cleaned.
Some love hotels even have large mirrors in the rooms, enabling the man to watch himself as he indulges in a spot of light dusting, while his partner compliments him on his style, for example: "You really know how to dust, don't you."
The woman will also want to please the man. She sometimes does this by cleaning the bathroom, which the man can actually watch from the comfort of his bed, as some hotels have not a wall but a window between the two rooms. It's these unique touches in the design of the rooms that make love hotels so popular.
And should you be planning on spending some time in one of these places, don't forget to take a box of tissues with you. With all of that compliment giving, things can get quite emotional. So there'll be plenty to mop up.