Over the weekend I went down to Tokyo to take a tour of the university my son plans on attending, and afterwards my wife and I stayed in the Tokyo Hilton to enjoy a change of scenery. Like the Park Hyatt, made famous by the film Lost in Translation, the Tokyo Hilton is gaishi-kei (“foreign capital,” i.e. owned by a foreign company), which made it just a little different from a hotel operated by a Japanese company. My wife was the first to notice the differences when we got to our room, which was designed with Kyoto-esque sliding paper shutters on the windows instead of curtains as you’d expect in a normal hotel. I thought the effect was quite cool, but my wife didn’t seem to agree with me. It turns out that 50% or more of the guests in the hotel are foreigners from overseas, and the hotel had tailored its decor to appeal to them more than to Japanese locals, who don’t necessarily view their own country in the same kakko ii (cool, good style) light that foreigners do.
The Hilton Tokyo designs its rooms for gaijin.