Read the media these days, reports Spa! (Sept 4), and you'll see how appealing love hotels have become. Some are praised for chefs on the premises who prepare gourmet meals for guests, and others offer all kinds of amenities, from deluxe bathing facilities to being driven from and to the nearest station in a Ferrari.
Less is said, however, about a trend that goes in the opposite direction.
"From the time they enter the rooms, they might vacate in less than half an hour," says Ryota Ono, a janitor who cleans the rooms at a love hotel in Shibuya. If you were to use the analogy of a high-class resort hotel, then Ono's place would be the equivalent of one of those stand-as-you-slurp noodle counters.
"I go into the room and there's not so much as a wrinkle on the bed sheets," he says. "At first I thought about calling the 'delivery health' operator to ask, 'Did the customer reject the girl you sent and ask for a substitute?' But there was a used condom and crumpled tissue in the waste basket, and the shampoo envelope was empty, so I figure they engaged in sex while they were in the shower and left together right after."
This development, the "fast-foodization" of love hotels, so to speak, may be linked to the desire to cool down and wash away perspiration during the miserably hot summer. But still, why do the couples leave so quickly, even though they pay for the use of the room for one or two hours?
According to Ono, trysts by such couples are particularly common in late afternoon or early evening.
"Not that I'm complaining," he adds. "Since I don't have to change the bed sheets, I just mop the floor and make sure there are no hairs in the drains. But the rooms have been turning over so rapidly, I get no chance to take a break."
Spa's reporter asks "Ayaka," a lady employed by the outcall sex business, what she thinks is going on.
"In my line of work, there are times when we finish up pretty quickly and vacate the room, but in general that's fairly rare. Even if they finish up with the sex, they feel they've paid for the room so they might as well put it to use."
Takayuki Machida, a 10-year veteran custodian at a Tokyo love hotel, says the time guests spend in the rooms has been shrinking, from an hour or less, and sometimes even less than 30 minutes.
"They wear white cotton shirts or polo shirts, with proper slacks, and I sense they are salaried workers following the summer 'Cool Biz' dress code.
Perhaps even more puzzling, Machida noticed that Wednesdays are particularly busy days.
What, then, is behind this mysterious trend in quickie rolls in the hay?
On a Wednesday Spa! assigned several teams of reporters to a love hotel district from the hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., to see what was going on. Out of some 30 to 40 couples, about 30% exited within one hour of entry, with 10% leaving within 30 minutes or less. The males, dressed as "Cool Biz" salarymen, appeared to be in their 50s and 60s, with the females approximately the same age.
An receptionist at a hotel in Ikebukuro was of the opinion that the short-stay customers tended to be younger, in their 30s and 40s.
The explanation, the magazine theorizes, may be linked to the "Work Life Balance" that the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) proposed in 2016, by which 67.8% of members agreed to adopting a day each week with no overtime work. Among government employees, Wednesday has become the day of choice.
In many cases, the workers are meeting their own spouses and after sex, use the time to freshen up and then head for some other venue, such as a restaurant. It seems this makes more sense than taking the train back to the suburbs, where there are few places to eat or play, either horizontally or vertically.
At least that was the case with one civil servant, who admitted to using hotels for a quickie with his spouse two times a month this past summer.
At any rate, the love hotel operators are delighted with their unexpected summer windfall; but are no doubt wondering if demand on Wednesdays will slacken with the cooler autumn weather.© Japan Today