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By refusing to accept that I needed only the one drink for the road home, the sake dens of Shinjuku had conspired to turn the soft grey evening sky into an over-optimistically bright sunrise. And this was my cue to find a bed for the what remained of the morning. I waved goodbye to my drinking buddies and escorted my travel companion down the road to Kabukicho. There was no point going to a hotel: I would be allowed just 4 hours sleep before checkout. The best proposition, I figured, was to find a Love Hotel where you could stay for any length of time no matter when you checked in.
It didn’t take long to find one in Japan’s largest red light district. Leaving my companion outside I ventured in and was met by the proprietor: a squat, unsavoury gentleman who appeared to think it necessary to wear Aviator sunglasses in what was already a pretty dingy reception. To his credit, I soon realised that he was in fact wearing ordinary glasses turned tan by his smoking habit.
Whilst keeping an eye on my companion outside, I negotiated a room for 7 hours. The proprietor, aware that I was somewhat distracted, then happily allowed me to retrieve my companion. We entered and stood in the lobby: just me and my suitcase. The proprietor looked at the case, then at me, then where he supposed my mate should have been stood, raised his index finger and said “One? A room for just one?” in an over exaggerated quizzical tone. I replied “Yes, is there a prob…” at which point he lifted his arms, showed me his dismissive jazz hands display to reinforce what he said next: “That kind of thing is not welcome here. Go, go try elsewhere”.
Perhaps someone out there with more experience in the world of the Love Hotel (or a more vivid imagination) can suggest why a single man was denied a morning’s stay?