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Love Hotel FAQ

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A more exotic aspect of Japan is its “love hotels,” private hotels that couples can go to in order to spend a few hours of “quality time” together. Based on “private inns” that were common in the Edo Period and official facilities set up during the Allied Occupation, love hotels are a huge industry in Japan. Below are some common questions foreigners have about love hotels.

Q. What are they? How much do they cost?

A. Basically, hotels where couples can “rest” for 2-3 hours, or “stay” overnight. The cost is usually around $30-50 for a few hours or $80-130 for all night.

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Q. Who uses them?    

A. Everyone from couples in their 20s to married couples who live with their parents or children. Recently there’s been a lot of use by “silver” couples who are still genki, and hotels are starting to embrace these customers by creating ‘barrier free’ hotel rooms. Though there’s no doubt an occasional connection to “delivery health” and other thinly disguised prostitution-esque services, the hotels are surprisingly professional and legitimate.

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Q. Can foreigners use them?

A. Sure, no one cares who uses them. If you’re coming to Japan and want to give one a try, it would probably be a lot of fun. They’re quite common in Tokyo, such as the Spain-zaka area of Shibuya or Uguisu-dani station. If you’re outside a major city like Tokyo they can be harder to find, as they’re usually placed on the edge of town, hard to get to if you don’t have a car.

Q. What will I find there?

A. Competition has forced the hotels to become quite creative, and they offer different themes to couples, with everything from Disney and Hello Kitty themes to rooms with various costumes you can try on to at least one “Hotel California” style establishment. In addition to a vending machine selling ridiculously cute toys for couples, there’s lotion and a condom, too, but the J-List staff tells me it’s common sense to never use condoms from a love hotel as the previous person might have poked a hole in it as a joke. There are often exotic baths that can be as much fun to play in the main reason for going.

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Q. How is privacy handled?

A. Since no one wants to see anyone else when visiting one of these places, hotels get creative here, too. You park your car in the space reserved for the room you want and go right into your room. Payment is handled by a machine that unlocks the door after you insert payment or else a pneumatic tube that delivers your payment to the front desk without you seeing anyone.

Q. How big is the industry?

A. At around $42 billion, the love hotel industry is around twice the size of the entire anime/manga industry. Being such a healthy area of the economy, it occasionally attracts interest by international hedge funds, but they usually can’t get around the idea of investing money in a taboo industry. Incidentally, Nintendo famously operated a love hotel for a few years before settling on their current product line

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“You tell your boyfriend, if he says he’s got beef That I’m a vegetarian and I ain’t scared of him”

Apparently there are some changes in Japan regarding gender roles, creating the modern social phenomenon of  草食男子 soushoku-danshi or “herbivore men” (the tendency for young Japanese males to have less ambition in life and to prefer a quiet evening in front of the computer to pursuing girls) and 肉食女子 nikushoku-joshi or “carnivore women”(more aggressive about getting what they want and more than happy to ask a man she likes out).

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One woman describes this : “Men of our generation are terrible…more interested in reading men’s fashion magazines and working part-time jobs than dating. They have no drive, no hunger.”

In September 2010, 36% of Japanese males, aged 16-19 surveyed described themselves as  “indifferent or averse” towards having sex, although an astounding 59% of females aged 16-19 stated the same feels towards sex. In a country already struggling with low birth rates, this is not bode well for the future. It is seen as the men breaking free from the pressure to be “manly”. It is assumed this change has occurred because  Japan hasn’t been in a war for over 60 years now. This is compared to the United States who has been in and out of wars since 1945, and has a steady supply of ‘manly’ war veterans. Although, the erosion of sexual boundaries, isn’t necessarily a new thing, Japan had a group of herbivorous men in the Edo Period, when the peace lasted 260 years under the Tokugawa Shognate. Image

The soshokukei boys are described as having the following characteristics:

• They are not as competitively minded about their jobs as men in older generations.

• They are fashion conscious and eat sparingly so they can stay thin and fit into skintight clothes.

• They are chummy with their moms and often go shopping together.

• They are not interested in dating girls, having relationships, or even having sex (choosing from a plethora of “self-help” toys instead).

• They are very tight with their money and often carry several retailers’ “point cards” around, declaring that those who don’t pinch pennies are stupid.

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Mr. Kunio explained these findings by stating, “The findings seem to reflect the increasing shallowness of human relations in today’s busy society.” A hairstylist sees it a bit differently, “It’s not so much that men are becoming more like women. It’s that the concept of masculinity is changing…Back then (1980’s), Japanese men had to be passionate and aggressive, but now those characteristics are disliked. Our members have very mild personalities. They simply enjoy what they like without prejudice. They are not limited by expectations”.

This shift in personalities is even more apparent in their ‘Sex in the City’ style show called Otomen (Girly Guys), where the lead character, a martial arts experts, secretly sews, bakes, and crochets clothes for his stuffed animals. Image

Amy Chavez from ‘Japan Times’ is full of advice for these herbivore men to change them back to the old ideal of ‘men’.  “When duty calls, they leave their computers for a few hours, chase some female lions, fight for one who is really hot, and goes home with them to live happily ever after.”

She even has advice to increase they’re manliness: 

-“Gain some weight. A lean look is fine, but not that lean! Don’t leave your women saying where’s the beef? Eat manly stuff — hamburgers orchanko nabe. Eat till it hurts — because you can. You’re a man!

-Gain some muscle. Japanese guys are not big on muscle, which is fine, but you should still be able to move furniture and get the lids off of jars.

-Grow some hair. If you are one of the fortunate ones who can, I recommend you grow a beard. Beards will at least distinguish you from women.

-Change your stance. Stand up straight, for god’s sake. Then swashbuckle a bit. Swagger.” 

Any thoughts on how this will affect Japan in the future?

Listen to this NPR story on herbivore men

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120696816

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http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2011/01/13/no-sex-please-were-young-japanese-men/

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2011/12/17/community/herbivorous-men-wheres-the-beef/#.UUQHKhcqbUI

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2009/05/10/life/blurring-the-boundaries/#.UUQHMBcqbUI

Japanese Christmas Cake- A Delicious Sounding Insult

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The term ‘Christmas Cake’, although becoming somewhat outdated, is still used in Japan to refer to a single unmarried woman who is older than 25. It is said that no one wants to buy a Christmas cake after the 25th (no matter how delicious it looks), and in turn, no one wants to marry a woman after she’s 25 (no matter how beautiful she is). This term is not used for men. In sort, being unmarried after 25 means you are “past your due date”.

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A “Christmas Cake” woman is commonly used as a trope for characters in anime and manga as well. 

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ChristmasCake 

Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights Dies at 89

ImageBeate Sirota Gordon, a daughter of Russian Jewish parents, almost singled-handedly wrote women’s rights in Japan’s modern Constitution at the age of 22. She produced what became Article 24:

“Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual co-operation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis.

With regard to choice of spouse, property rights, inheritance, choice of domicile, divorce and other matters pertaining to marriage and the family, laws shall be enacted from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equality of the sexes.”

She also included women’s right to paid work, custody of children, property rights, inheritance, and to equal education. This she did entirely in secret until she wrote her autobiography.  Beate lived in Japan for many years and was horrified by how women were treated there. Women never came to parties; if their house hosted the party they served the men and ate in the kitchen alone. In public they always walked three to four steps behind men. They were usually married to men they didn’t know, could inherit nothing from their family, and could even be bought and sold.

Beate died on December 30, 2012, from what her daughter says was pancreatic cancer.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/02/world/asia/beate-gordon-feminist-heroine-in-japan-dies-at-89.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.economist.com/news/obituary/21569350-beate-sirota-gordon-interpreter-japan-americans-died-december-30th-aged-89-beate

Wish cute girls or boys would show you the time or weather? Japan’s got an app for that…

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This might not be anything new for some of you, but a website called bijin tokei/binan tokei OR bijin tenki/binan tenki can make your dreams come true, that is if you’re dream is to see a different cute boy or girl every 60 seconds.

For those who don’t know the translation is:
びじん (bijin) => beautiful lady
びなん (binan) => beautiful guy
とけい (tokei) => clock

てんき (tenki) => weather

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In this site good-looking ladies and guys tell you what the time or weather is currently. Each individual appears holding a hand-written sign, stating the time or weather, and is updated every minute automatically (the clock). That means that 1440 pictures are shown every day. (Although in the course of writing this, I’ve noticed that the website can be kinda lazy and use the same man/woman more than once). The website sometimes lists the individual’s birthday, height, size, occupation, or blood type. The makers of this website were kind enough to develop an iPhone/iPod Touch app so that you can take these fetching individuals with you wherever you are.

If you’re looking for bijin:

Clock

http://www.bijint.com/jp/

Weather

http://pc.bijintenki.jp/?

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If you’re looking for binan:
Clock

http://www.bijint.com/binan/

Weather

http://pc.binantenki.jp/

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Naughty naughty Osaka

Osaka sex club busted, detained Filipina hostesses

 

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Osaka sex club busted, detained Filipina hostesses

 

TOKYO (TR) – Osaka prefectural police on Wednesday announced the arrest of a club manager who had detained a number of Filipina hostesses to supply sexual services on improper licensing charges, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Jan. 30).

Officers from the peace preservation division took Akira Goami, 55, the manager of club Midori, which is located in Yodogawa Ward, into custody for operating a sex-club establishment in a region prohibited by the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses.

On January 27 of last year, a 27-year-old hostess at Midori is alleged to have provided sexual services to a 40-year-old male.

Goami also confined several Filipina hostesses during non-working hours at the club. Wages for the women averaged 50,000 yen per month.

Four Japanese men were also arrested for participating in the arrangement of fake marriages with the Filipina women. Officers are now investigating how the women became employees at club Midori.

 

http://www.tokyoreporter.com/2013/01/31/osaka-sex-club-busted-detained-filipina-hostesses/

Special Women’s Love Bar

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Last September a new type of bar opened for Japanese women in Shibuya. Love Joule (http://lovejoule.jp/) is the first “love and sex bar dedicated to women”, and despite it’s seemingly risqué label, Love Joule offers Japanese women the special opportunity to be open about their sexuality.

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 This woman’s only bar (males only allowed if they are escorted by a female) allows women to speak openly about their sexuality with other women without worrying about men being around, and helps them to overcome the stigma that surrounds female masturbation in Japan. This bar is apparently a favorite of the former adult video star Nayuka Mine and model Sayo Hayakawa. Don’t worry boys Love Joule invites men to check Koichi Matsumotos’ customized toys “just for men” if they’re feeling left out of the fun.

Sayo Hayakawa                                                                       Nayuka Mine

Nayuka Mine                                                                                                                  Sayo Hayakawa

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/01/love-joule-japans-first-bar-devoted-female-masturbation-opens-tokyo_n_1930552.html

http://www.tokyoreporter.com/2012/09/27/japans-first-masturbation-bar-for-women-opens-in-shibuya/

Gender Equality

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According to online responses, Japan is happy with their ranking as 101st in the world for gender equality. As Americans who view gender equality as everybody has to be able to do the same job, get the same pay, and receive the same expectations. Japan has a much different view on gender equality. Gender equality in Japan revolves around men and women being able to choose their lifestyle of choice, whether they want to be housewives or part of the working class, without the constraints of gender.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/10/28/japan-ranks-101st-globally-for-gender-equality-but-web-users-shrug/

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On the same token, it seems Japanese women are stepping out in the world and saying “no” to marriage in recent years; although the rise of singles has led to a new phenomenon of ‘parasite singles’, which has become a severe detriment to the Japanese economy.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2004-06-02-japan-women-usat_x.htm