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For some people, love is a fleeting notion. It's like trying to grasp a bubble floating in midair. The second you touch it, POW, it bursts away into nothingness. Others find that love comes easily and, as a result, they mistreat it like a guy with way too much money who spends freely knowing there will always be more. I see love as a something precious. We don't all get to love or make love. Right now, I know at least a dozen people who are sitting at home alone and feeling unloved. Even I have days like that. The lonesomeness can creep up on you and take you by surprise.

In Japan, they've made a whole industry out of love and loneliness. In many neighborhoods, you can find hotels that can be rented by the hour and are there specifically for people to find companionship in one another's arms for a brief amount of time. I found this one on a Tokyo hill between Yushima station and a shrine that houses the gods of strength and knowledge. It was sitting there among the residential apartments, unassuming except for the gigantic yet vulgarly plain sign that read "hotel." Judging by the location, I assumed this place was mostly frequented by parents who wanted to find time away from a tiny apartment, where the whole family has been shoehorned into cohabitating. There are also several universities near by, so there must be a clientele of students who commute back and forth from home and live with their parents.

As I walked by this hotel on the hill, I noticed how plain-looking it was. Love hotels are usually festooned with all sorts of decorations. This one was unassuming and, if it wasn't for the gigantic sign, one might even walk by it without noticing it was there at all. Maybe it looks different on the inside. Each room might be decorated in various themes to help stimulate lovers' imagination as they explore one another. Whatever the case, the hotel serves as the place where two people (or more?) can escape into each other for a while. That is a beautiful thing.


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