|Japan: Lodgings: Love Hotels:|
When I lived in Uguisudani, there were many love hotels with many neon signs. But due to its placement and marvellous name, the Hotel Seeds was often a beacon for me to find my mansion as I walked back from Ueno Park or Nippori.
I stayed in the Hotel Seeds I (not the adjacent Hotel Seeds II) in early February 2002. Hours of walking through Yushima and Uguisudani looking at the lighted placards for an interesting room. Late Saturday night is a tough time to try to find something lively; most of the mirrors on the ceiling, spaceships and wagon-shaped baths were taken. The nearby hotel offering stone onsen-style bathtubs was all filled up.
The Seeds offered a few rooms remaining; our choices were between one with mirrors on the ceiling and a room with a blacklight in the bathroom. Ayako mentioned the blacklight painting so I punched the button beneath the picture of room 202 and the "obasan" (old lady) behind the counter handed me a key after charging my Visa card and asking for my phone number. I was given a Seeds Club frequent flyer card.
The room was large by Tokyo hotel standards - about twice the size of the average "business hotel" room. The TV was huge, maybe 36 inches. The porn and movies offered for pay-per-view by other hotels were here playing free. They had the Playboy channel and some Japanese adult channel called "Ruby" - all the private parts and pubic hairs on both were fuzzed out. Ruby had a series of short vignettes - my first experience watching Japanese porn. The usual hijinks it seemed, except you couldn't see any of the details. There were some particularly funny moments where people would be laying in a patch of digital censorship fuzz; all you could see was a woman's face, largely expressionless, as she made some helium-inflected squealing sound. For three straight minutes. Most American porn I've seen seems wildly theatrical by comparison; body parts, facial expressions, epithets are fully exposed for maximum stimulation. One video a man followed a woman with a remote control for a vibrator stuck inside her panties, interviewing her on camera as she walked with glazed eyes around a park somewhere in Japan.
I had just paid 14200 yen for a tiny room for two people at the Tokyo Green Hotel in Kanda. Here we got a larger room with more distractions for two thirds the cost. And free parking!
It was a fantastic deal on lodgings, if you're willing to check in after 11pm, leave with all your luggage the next morning at 10am. Maybe not being able to make a reservation would bother you. Or maybe the thought of all the accumulated human secretions in the mattress or toilet seat.
The surfaces were quite clean. The ceiling was adorned with some decorated glass that looked a little aged. There were two vending machines - offering canned beverages for about twice the street price, and a vending machine for all shapes of vibrators.
The high-point of the room was doubtlessly the bathroom. A shower and large tub in a dark-tiled room with a painting of a mountain scene in flourescent colors that glowed bright under the rooms blacklights. And in the morning, Ayako discovered a package of powder that would make the bathwater glow green like we were perched in some post-coital radioactive fluid.
A large bed with plenty of space to walk around it.