I'm not sure what the owners of the Pearl love hotel expected to happen when they opened up for business on some unknown back road deep in Ibaraki. Perhaps they were hoping that urbanization would instead come to them.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term 'love hotel', they are like those hourly motels in North America except that the ones here are cleaner, showier, and much more open about their intended purpose. There's no taboo on love hotels in Japan, they are everywhere and considered completely acceptable.
This is the view from the courtyard, looking at the first of about 7 rooms. You'd be right in assuming that no one's been here for a while... Getting into buildings was not unlike a trek through dense jungle without a machete. Luckily it's still early spring, or no doubt MJG and I would've had to contend with hordes of spiders as well.
Generally speaking, love hotels in Japan are built on the idea that gaudier is better. Hotels modelled after castles, mansions or futuristic SF-style buildings are the norm, and the rooms take the excess to even higher levels, designing rooms to resemble princesses' bedrooms, Roman villas, rustic cottages and what have you. In fact, if you can imagine it, no doubt it's available somewhere.
The Pearl never went for any of those frills though, (a possible reason for its abandonment?), working instead from the idea that if people want to get it on, they can manage just fine without things like karaoke, pulsing lights, rotating beds and vibrating chairs.
It's lack of exciting decor might have just been a sign of the times though. With all the antique and analog equipment lying around, and the massive amounts of growth over all the buildings it was obvious that the Pearl has been around for a long time. Maybe back in its heyday, just four walls and a funky bed was enough to satisfy the adventurous spirit?
The Pearl boasted 6 mini bungalow-rooms, which as I mentioned before looked to be about as exciting as one's parents' bedroom, but there was one suite, which may have once been considered fairly groovy. It's doubtful it could compete with today's ostentatious styles of course, but just like how life evolved from the oceans, perhaps its primitive form was the precursor of the outlandish love hotels we see today?
Notice the contrast of the blue and yellow striped couch with the diamond, flower panelled red walls. I wondered if the designer was not just colour blind, but actually blind.
And the bedroom. One circular bed that takes up the whole room, with some mirrors placed here and there for added effect. Actually the bed was smaller than it looks, and had I lay down here (god forbid) my feet would've been hanging over the edge, another clue of the age of this place. Japanese people have grown in the last 50 years.
The suite had a red tiled bathroom, a blue sink and gold tubs which suited the garishness theme of this place well. Small tubs though, barely even big enough for one person. Go figure...
Nearby there was a small water tower that one could climb up to get a bird's eye view of the Pearl....
If you look cafefully near the center you can just make out the two story suite, the only building not yet completely swallowed by vines.
Is there a lesson to be learned here? Well I thought it was common knowledge, but besides never getting involved in a land war in Asia, and never going up against a Sicilian when death is on the line, you should also never build a love hotel on some unknown back road deep in Ibaraki. When will people learn?