• Short Summary

    The pressures and strains of living in Japan's crowded homes and cities encourage the Japanese to constantly search for new ways to escape from it all.

  • Description

    The pressures and strains of living in Japan's crowded homes and cities encourage the Japanese to constantly search for new ways to escape from it all. Two years ago it was the bowling alley that provided a relief from everyday pressures -- now it is the 'Love Hotel'.

    There are approximately two thousand such 'Love Notes' in Tokyo alone, more in the business ???on of Osaka, but for obvious reasons no government official can provide a complte list of these places of entertainment, for it is difficult to define exactly what is of is not a 'Love Hotel'.

    Such a hotel is basically a place where for a consideration you can take the 'friend' of your choice. There is no prostitution involved,; although the manager of the plushyear-old 'Meguro Emperor' Hotel in Tokyo shown on the film does admit that he keeps a few telephone numbers handy just in case a customer has been stood up by his steady.

    As in most parts of the world, Japanese hotels and inns have always been available for the ardent lover. The situation in Japan, with the younger generation living with their parents in very small aprtments, has always been more critical,l and recently the concept of the 'Love Hotel' has grown up and fast taken profitable seed, if you'll excuse the expression.

    These are hotels caering only to this fly by night trade, and equipped with all the necessaries to make your stay an interesting one. Intrepid VISNEWS reporter Yoshiko Tomiyama takes us to the Meguro Emperor, Tokyo's newest, plusbest and most successful 'Love Hotel'.

    Perhaps to stress the point that the clients are escaping from the daily drab round of everyday existence, the Meguro Emperor is stationed in front of Tokyo's smelliest and dirtiest canal. Inside there is a different world.

    The door opens automatically and triggers a tape which says in dulcet tones 'Welcome. Please ask for anything you desire'. A suitably black-curtained receptionist assigns a room. The client notes that credit cards can be used, but the manager says that his customers rarely take advantage of this service. Something about the signature.

    There are 30 rooms in the Meguro Emperor, nine of them are 'Specials. A night in a special costs ???24,000 (GBP 35 or $85), which surprisingly enough is only a little above the Tokyo cost of a good hotel. Two hours costs half that.

    Each special room has a special flavour, but the basic theme of the hotel, as can be judged by its pseudo-gothic asterion, is late medieval. The family that owns the hotel (there was previously a bowling-alley on the same site) imported 19 suits of armour from Spain, but most of the fittings are electronics 'Made in Japan' . Loudspeakers play 'Lubsoundo' and timed vapourizers spray out French perfumes. A press of the button starts a video-camera and tape which records every movement on the bed for 20 minutes, then plays back. The management says that the tapes are automatically erased soon afterwards.

    One swtichboard at the head of the bd conrols lighting and sounds, marked 'Mood Number One' etc. Another panel controls a vibraor and pulsator built into the centre of the bed. Another controls bed-curtains and overhead mirror-panels. Some beds - the round ones - go round at the touch of another switch.

    Each room has a tv set with two channels of blue movies. (Piped from a central stock of 20 video-tapes). The movies are previously censored by the strict customs.

    The hotel cost ???800,000,000 (GBP 1 1/4m) ($3m). to build, and the manager claims that they have already recovered half that in the first year of operation.

    Most of the clientale are businessmen with expense-accounts, and often a conference will book rooms in the hotel for 'relaxation' after heavy negotiations. The hotel is busiest during the week. Young people soemtimes go there to escape from parents and grandparents who often share the same home or even room,l but usually the prices are too high. Foreginers are few.

    The manager said that sometimes older people would come to the hotel, not realising what it was. He added that they usually stayed anyway. 70 was the maximum age they'd had there so far. Asked whether he was worried about his, the manager replied "Oh we don't worry -- we have a house doctor".

    Each room is equipped with a refridgerator containing 'revitalisers' -- usually highly-priced bottles of Korean Ginseng (carrot juice of a special encouraging type).

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    Media URN:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
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    Available on request
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