|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Love hotels letting Japanese use ball handling skills during World Cup 2006,06,19
Shukan Shincho 6/22 By Ryann Connell
Japan's World Cup campaign may have got off to a disastrous start against Australia on June 12, but Shukan Shincho (6/22) reports the soccer extravaganza made the same night a bountiful one for love hotel operators as Japanese put their ball handling and dribbling skills to use off the pitch.
Part of the appeal of love hotels as choices for viewing the game came because they have now largely shed the rotating bed and wall and ceiling mirror image they once had in favor of becoming havens of cutting edge video technology.
"Just about everywhere is pretty gorgeous," the editor of a magazine devoted to adult entertainment services tells Shukan Shincho.
"Of course, love hotel rooms now nearly all have large screen plasma TVs, karaoke functions and 5.1 surround stereo sound systems. There's now nothing special about TVs built into rooms with Jacuzzis in them as well."
No longer mere bonk bastions, love hotels have become hot spots for people to belt out a tune or watch a movie with a sound system every bit as good as a theater could produce.
And the World Cup is helping spread the image of love hotels as places to enjoy some fine sounds.
"People have different tastes. The game was on a Monday night, which is normally a bad time for the business, but on that day we got several phone calls from the early afternoon on from people asking whether we had rooms free for the night," the operator of a love hotel in Shibuya's Maruyamacho district tells the weekly.
A love hotel area in the Korea Town of Shinjuku-ku's Okubo district has become a favorite spot for watching World Cup soccer games since Japan co-hosted the event four years ago.
At that time, throngs of South Korean fans flocked the area, using its love hotels and those in the nearby Kabukicho district.
"It was incredible four years ago," a local retailer says.
"All these excited South Korean supporters created such a stir some stores shut down for the night. But it didn't have much effect on the love hotel business."
And it seems the World Cup will make sure love hotels flourish in the area again this time around.
"We didn't have any special sales campaign or anything, but on the night of the Australia game, we were booked out," a Kabukicho love hotel operator says.
Love hotels now are made more in the style of hotels found in resort areas and they use their state-of-the-art video equipment as a sales point.
The Kabukicho hotel's rooms cost up to 19,800 yen for an overnight stay and attracts plenty of fans cheering on Zico Japan.
"We had so many couples waiting for cancellations I thought of screening the game in the lobby, but I decided not to in the end," the operators tells Shukan Shincho.
"We couldn't have the fans getting all excited before we could give them a room." (By Ryann Connell)
June 19, 2006