So this is where the J-magic happens.
I was adjusting the sleeves on my lab coat in front of the bedroom's wall mirror--a large, opulent device performing its reflective duties in full view of the grand poster bed, and teal pool glow. While the director and crew went over shot placement and set up studio lights and camera booms, I casually fiddled with the soft pink dimmers, and browsed the sex toy catalog on the marble coffee table. It was all just too funny. As I was playing with the dimmers on the room light, pretending I was on the holodeck of some starship brothel, a portly audio tech wobbled in with a wireless mic in his hands, and a puzzled expression on his face.
So, we were shooting the experiment's re-enactment at a pool after all. It just so happened to be that the most feasible place in Osaka to shoot a pool scene, was in a typical Japanese love hotel.
Where people pay for a themed room in which to have sex.
It's a simple concept really. Take your lover / hooker / best friend's wife to the hotel, press the button of the room you want, slide your money under the opaque teller's window, and then head upstairs to pound the morning / afternoon / night away. Or just the hour--depending on how much money you think sex with...
[ please choose from the following: ] is worth.*
[A] ...somebody you just met
[B] ...somebody wearing a schoolgirl's uniform
[C] ...-out waking the entire neighborhood
[D] ...someone on a Hello Kitty-shaped bed
We were in the master suite on the roof. The most decadent of all rooms in this silly den of iniquity. The Flava-Flav royal honeymoon suite, towering above an entire hotel of lesser honeymoon suites. While this particular one had an "island resort" theme to it, I've since heard of other themes involving certain cartoon characters, hospitals, classrooms, medieval castles, pirate ships, the Taj Mahal, and other such exotic getaways.
The shallow pool lay under a massive, retractable moon roof, and ran the entire length of the suite, with full two-way windows into the bedroom, shower room, and adjacent sauna. How the camera crew planned to keep television audiences from seeing the palm trees and sandy beach slide show projected along the walls, I had no idea. But I wanted to believe they could. Just as I wanted to believe that the pool had been thoroughly flushed and refilled since its last "use." The professor Cussler stand-in seemed terribly concerned that props would be putting gel or syrup into the pool he'd soon be swimming in, to most faithfully recreate the experiment. So we're standing waist-deep in a pool attached to a suite in an Osaka hotel tailored towards having as much fantasy animal sex in as short a time as possible, and he's concerned about touching a little jello?? His wife must be a Japanese nun.
Silly me. Here, I was contracting an advanced strain of scabies just from the uncomfortable thought of what people had been doing a few hours before, in the very spot I had been instructed to leave my socks. I know how to say "I only touched the doorknob" in Japanese, but I've yet to learn "Does this look infected?" or "Will it fall off?" Sure, I had my lab coat, and all three of my lines memorized, but I still felt woefully unprepared.
Later that evening, while scrubbing my hands and face with toilet cleaner and burning my socks, I wondered how places like this managed to exist within a country globally reputed for being sexless and reserved. But maybe love hotels function for a different purpose--rather, not for killing a quick hour, or getting back at an old ex, but instead, a higher calling:
Little Shinichiro: "Mommy, where do babies come from?"
Mommy: "Well honey, when two people love each other very much, and are dressed up as pirates..."
So this is why the birth rate is so low? My grand J-train epiphany that night in front of the sink:
The trouble it takes to produce optimal circumstances required for copulation in Japan far outweighs the benefit. That, being a child.
Aah shit, that wasn't very intelligent.
* Kindly feel free to insert** your own "bang for your buck" pun in the comments.
** Heh heh heh. "Insert."