A Tokyo Hotel Is Offering Crying Rooms, and I Want One

by Laurie Ulster
Originally Published: 

I read about these crying rooms last night and was fascinated. For a brief moment I thought it was silly, but it only took a few seconds for the idea to sink in a little deeper. Suddenly I realized just how much I could have used this service during different periods of my life.

The Mitsui Garden Yotsuya hotel in Tokyo now has 12 crying rooms. They’re only available to women—which I think is sexist AND a bad business choice—and they feature warm sheets, tissues “as soft as cashmere,” warm eye masks, make-up remover, and a selection of tear-jerking films, chosen specifically to “tug at the heartstrings.”

I’m in!

A few years ago, my mother was diagnosed with aggressive endometrial cancer. She got progressively sicker for nine months and then was gone. She lived on another coast in another country, so visiting her wasn’t easy, but I went as many times as I could, juggling my own family and my job, along with frequent calls to her and to the rest of my siblings as we all navigated this new, terrible territory together. It was a hard year, and of course it got harder after she died.

During that time, I didn’t have a place to cry. I had to steal those moments, and they were never private, and so I always had to be ready in case somebody walked in on me. I cried in my office with the door shut, and jumped when the phone rang. I cried silently on the train, looking out the window, afraid to turn my head. I cried in the shower, where nobody could hear me.

I have small kids, and while they knew what I was going through, and knew that I was sad, I didn’t want to burden them with the rawness of my grief, which would be much too much for them to handle. And my husband couldn’t either. He did everything he could, but he is just not equipped to handle all the sad emotions of which I am capable.

I needed a place to let it all go, every sad bit of it, and a crying room, with clean, comforting white sheets and soft tissues and warm eye masks and sad movies would’ve been perfect. My husband would have been happy to watch the kids for a night while I did such a thing. Going to Tokyo would be a little far to travel for it, but if I could do this locally for $85, you bet I’d give it a shot. Hell, I could still do it now. Only caveat: I’d want to pick what I watched, and you bet your ass it wouldn’t be Forrest Gump (which is one of their offerings).

A few ideas, off the top of my head:

Terms of Endearment

Longtime Companion

Ordinary People


Life Is Beautiful

12 Years a Slave

and pretty much the entire run of Parenthood.

So yeah, I want the crying room. It sounds awesome.

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