Photos: Restaurant in Kyoto
Kyoto Love House
I take the shensen bullet train to the ancient capital: Kyoto. I find a room in a ryokhan, traditional Japanese hotel with a rice mattress on the floor. After seeing the Golden Temple, I go for dinner in the historic Gion area, near the super expensive tea houses where geishas perform traditional tea ceremonies. As I am neither dressed for a geisha tea house nor wanting to spend much money, I go into a Japanese grill and order one of my favorites: grilled saba (mackerel fish). I know enough Japanese to say saba and Kirin Sapporo beer, but there is an English menu to help me. I watch with amazement at the Japanese chefs twirling food on the grill with their speedy hands. The people next to me try speaking to me in English. All I understand is that they are celebrating a birthday.
After the cooking show and delicious grilled fish, I walk around the Gion and spot a mikado (geisha in training) quickly walking in her slippers and socks to a teahouse.
Yes, I have seen a real mikado!!
Then, I see the most beautiful Japanese man I have ever seen. I just stand on the corner pretending to look at the mikado, but really admiring the gorgeous local man.
I continue walking the old district until I see two of my favorite words on a sign: Piano Bar. I have to go in.
The elegant piano bar is owned by a female pianist who sings Western and Japanese music. I sit at the bar, next to the only customers there: two middle aged Japanese men who speak good English. Without a menu, I order a tea and get my green tea with a selection of fruits including a huge strawberry, crackers and salty nuts. The two Japanese men treat me to a glass of their red wine from California. One of them owns a French café in town. The other lived in the US and plays the drums. They both request songs and sing quite well. After talking for a while, the French café owner asks me, “Do you want to come with me to the righthouse next door?”
What lighthouse could there be in downtown Kyoto? There are no major rivers here and we are not on the coast.
I look at him strangely and ask him to repeat his question.
After he repeats himself several times, I realize that he is asking me if I want to go to the “love house” next door. Maybe they’re called love hotels in Tokyo and love houses in Kyoto. I wanted to burst out laughing, but I controlled myself, trying to save face. Never has anyone have to repeat their invitation for a one-night stand so many times until I could understand what they were saying. I felt sorry for the guy. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever have such a non-chalant invitation before either. Without the usual flirting or non-verbal communication, my suitor surprised me with his suggestion. In the same casual tone, I gracefully declined.
Maybe I’ll see the interior of a love hotel or “love house” room on another trip to Japan. And, I definitely hope to have more than just a “comfortable experience” or I may need all 440 TV channels☺ Now I get it! If people don’t have a “comfortable” time, they need lots of TV channels to entertain them. Hmmm, maybe I am not so rost in transration after all.