Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Looking For Love in All the Wrong Places

Across Japan there are places called "Love Hotels." They are rooms that you can rent for blocks of time for, well, you can figure out the rest.

According to the Lonely Planet guide to Japan, they are also a great deal if you are looking for a cheap place to sleep, as they have an all-night rate of roughly 60 US dollars. Not bad for a nice hotel room, and as a bonus they often have "themes."

Well, we decided that since it was my last night in downtown Nagoya we should try out one of these places. It would be as cheap or cheaper than a regular hotel and would make a better story.

We walked around Nagoya for a while, passing several that were full. I was getting tired of walking (it was almost 1 am), so I suggested we go inside and wait for a room to open up.

Inside, they had little cubicle-style waiting rooms which included a loveseat and a tv. We put our names into the cue and settled in to watch some Japanese television.

Time ticked away and before long it was 2am. We decided that maybe we should give up and find some other place to stay. James went to use the bathrooom and I stayed in our waiting room watching tv. James returned from the bathroom and when he came around the corner, there was the largest spider I have ever seen climbing the wall right next to him.


James slowly backed away from the wall.

I slowly reached for my camera.

I am preparing to take the shot when James suggests that he put his hand next to it, so we can see how big it is in comparison.

"Don't do that, you'll make it mov-"

But he is already reaching his hand toward the spider. The spider immediately jumped OVER the television and landed on the couch next to me with a THUD. I tell you, this was a really heavy spider. I'm not usually squeamish, but this thing freaked me out.

I took this as a sign that we should get out of there. No way that I was going to sit back on that couch with the spider stalking me.

I snapped this picture (see how the spider is almost as big as the coke bottle?!?!) then picked up my backpack and headed out into the hall. As I did so, ANOTHER spider, even bigger than the first ran toward me from the far end of the hall. I jumped as it ran under my feet and, I hate to admit it, I screamed.

I bolt out in the direction of the exit. James is kind enough to inform the other couple that a giant spider has just run into their waiting room and is now under their couch.

Or at least that is what he thinks he said.

What he actually told the man was, "A giant bee just ran under your couch." (James still makes a few mistakes in Japanese.)

The man looks at him quizzically. "A giant . . . bee . . . (pausing thoughtfully). A giant bee you say. And it just ran under the couch. (again, he pauses thoughfully, as though really trying to imagine this picture.) Hmm. Thank you."

I'm already halfway down the hall when James catches up to me. We decide to get a cab and when we tell the cabbie we are looking for a love hotel, he informs us that you can spot one with available rooms because it will often have a young woman standing out front looking around for a "date."

We eventually find one and it is a pretty nice room, though without a special theme. Just lots of adult movie channels and a catalogue of costumes you can rent.

But as a bonus, it was spider-free.

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