Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Japanese clubs and brothels
When I lived in US, at one point it became really popular for American girls to travel to Japan for work.
"Agents" sprouted up everywhere offering "free tickets and accommodation" and "lots of money" to be earned.
The trend had to do with the fact that Japanese men like "western" girls, especially buxom blonds,as they are so different from Japanese women.
In most cases it was all pretty above board: girls went and made a lot (or some) money and safely came back.
Sometimes things didn't turn out that great, when girl's passports were taken away by club managers/owners and they were made to work until their airline tickets and accommodation were fully paid for.
A bit of a grey area was around actual entertainers (singers, for instance). Pretty blond ones were aggressively recruited by agents for work in Japan. They were promised a lot of money. Most of those girls were not extremely successful at home: they were lucky if they got "jingles for commercials" jobs here and there:mostly they were starving hopefuls. They were not working girls, however, and honestly thought they were going to Japan to sing in a club.
They were,in fact, expected to sing, but that's not how "a lot of money" was made promised by agents. They were expected to provide sexual favours in exchange for expensive gifts and sizable cash "donations".
Some of them took it all as par for the course and some were truly traumatised by the experience.
Internet wasn't what it is now back then ,but it was adequate. I got in touch with a female agent in San Diego (I lived in Las Vegas).
She explained to me that the ticket will be bought for me and the club will provide free accommodation, but I will have to pay the owner back for the ticket out of my earnings over the period of 9 weeks (minimum stay required). I wanted to be very clear about not surrendering my passport at any point and she assured me that it was a given.
I was getting excited: I love trips to far away exotic places!
I was given some basic instructions on how to act upon arrival to pass through immigration undetected (I was a US citizen, so didn't require a special visa, but the visa stamped upon arrival is 3 months visitor visa, which does not permit one to work). It was all common sense,really: don't pack any obvious "stripper" clothes or shoes,if questioned, tell them you're in the country "sightseeing",etc.
I was even given a fake hotel reservation with address and phone number :).
I was supposed to fly to Los Angeles, where agent would be awaiting with my round-trip ticket to Tokyo.
On appointed day I arrived to LA (only 45 min flight from Las Vegas), collected my luggage and was waiting for the agent to turn up... And waiting... And waiting..I tried calling agent's cell phone,but it went straight into a voicemail. After about 30 min I was thinking of various possibilities (that's just me: I want to have plan A,B AND C,just in case. I like things organised).
Since I didn't really invest that much money into the whole thing (some new wardrobe, ticket to LA), I've decided to just go back home and write the whole thing off. But before I did it, I sat down to eat a cup of yogurt. That's when breathless agent (scrawny looking chick who looked like she indulged in various recreational drugs) turned up.
So it was happening,after all! I didn't hide my displeasure with her tardiness (she was almost an hour late!) and she got really defensive, telling me that traffic was awful.
I got my ticket from her and I was on my way :)
I have to say, it was one of the best travelling experiences of my life. I flew Singapore Airlines and the flight was half-empty, so I could stretch across 3 seats and have a nice sleep (I noticed that Air New Zealand announced recently their new "deluxe coach" class where they offer exactly the same deal: they made armrests completely retractable and you can purchase 2 tickets at a regular price and the third for half price, so you and your partner can have 3 seats for yourself and lay down). Food was amazing and service impeccable.
They gave you a "care package" with some warm socks,toothpaste,toothbrush and face wipes. At any time during the flight you could buzz if you felt hungry and they brought you those amazing multi-level sandwiches with different fillings. Booze was flowing freely on request (all that in coach class!).
I slept,watched movies,read,ate-it was a great flight :)
I had no trouble passing through customs and immigration in Japan and was met by club's representative: a short Japanese guy in his early twenties. Turns out he was club owner's nephew and worked in the club as a bartender. He didn't speak a lick of English, but was pleasant and during the next few weeks we actually had a lot of fun at work. One time, for example, he dressed in drag,as a joke,and climbed on stage to do a striptease. All of us girls joined him and we performed a "mock orgy'. Clients loved it and fun was had by all.
Us girls were housed right there in those apartments, so we only had to take elevator downstairs to go to work-pretty convenient.
Apartment was passable-the only thing that took a lot of getting used to was a pillow. It was stuffed with either rice or small grain of some sort, so although pliable, not exactly what you'd call "soft" and definitely not anything that we are used to in "western" world.
As I was preparing for my trip, I bought a book-one of those "For Dummies" series, called "Japan For Dummies".
It proved to be extremely helpful throughout my stay and saved me more than once.
From it I learned about Japanese customs.
For instance, when a man takes you out, you are (as a woman) the one to light his cigarette and pour a drink in his glass, holding the bottle a certain way (with both of your hands).
Japanese are gracious hosts, but will take a serious offence if westerners do not act according to a certain "code of conduct".
For instance, when invited to a Japanese house, one must always bring a present,artfully wrapped "Japanese" style, but it will never be opened by a host right then and there for everyone to look at and discuss:instead, it would be placed on a special table to be opened later,when everyone is gone. It is very rude to ask the host to open the gift straight away (unlike in Western world,where it is a norm and tradition).
The biggest fear of any Japanese is "loosing face" (to be embarrassed), so every care must be taken not to create a situation where this might occur.
Japanese try really hard not to say "No"-it is considered rude and is deemed something that will cause "loss of face". Instead,they ignore the subject that causes "No" answer and proceed saying "yes" to something that is,in fact,possible. I know it sounds unrealistic, but Japanese mastered this art of "yes" answers even when they actually mean "no" and are quite skilled at it. Those of you who worked in Japan know exactly what I mean :).
It is considered very rude to decline any food while you are being entertained by Japanese host (either at their house or at a restaurant). Instead, one must pick up a piece of food with chopsticks, touch it to their lips and put it right back down. That's all! No one is going to ask you why you're not eating a particular dish or why you don't like it or egg you on to try it-the whole thing will be completely ignored (again, that "loosing face" issue).
However, if you keep carrying on about "disgusting raw fish",etc, your host will take a grave offence (although he will never let you know in any way) and you will not be invited out by him again.
It is considered a sign of wealth and affluence in Japan for a Japanese man to be seen with Western women. In fact,the more women,the better! So if the guy asks you out in a club and you are not quite comfortable going off with him,ask if you could bring a girlfriend or two-he'll love it!
As I knew "the rules" in advance, I quickly became very popular among club's clients.
It was a strip club-it opened it's doors at 7pm and closed at 3am (sometimes at 1am during the week when it wasn't busy).
We did stage shows and lap dancing. Nothing else.
However, club owner encouraged us to go out with clients, if asked, in our spare time (never on the "club time"). Club didn't get any fee or commission for that and they didn't care if you just went out for a meal or had sex,whether you charged for it or how much.
The reason club wanted us to do this, is clients then came back and frequented the club,as there were always "new" girls. There was a "door" fee and drinks were bought (Japanese men do drink A LOT), so club made money. If club became known for it's "uppity" girls who didn't want to spend any of their "free" time with clients, it would be beginning of the end for it-clients would go someplace else.
Myself and my equally shrewd Aussie friend, however, knew how to act and what to say and we were taken on shopping trips (our host paid for our purchases,of course), dined at the fine restaurants (I remember one particular lunch at a French restaurant, where our host shed out $1000US for 4 people without flinching) and went to certain "Japanese only" places (yes, there are actually signs proclaiming "Japanese only" on the doors of establishments) because Western women (but not men) were allowed if accompanied by Japanese hosts. Not to mention the fact that both her and I came to Japan to make money and gladly provided sex services in exchange for some hefty cash "gifts"-our hosts happily paid extra,as we were willing to spend time with them during the day.
I got to explore a Buddhist Temple, old Japanese cemetery (very unusual),went to Kabuki Theater.... It was a lot of fun...
Smaller useful things from "Japan For Dummies"(but no less important) were the pointers about the city taxis: apparently in a nasty,rainy or snowy weather taxi drivers are reluctant to pick up fares,as they might end up going really far out of the city for the destination required by a passenger. So when flagging down a taxi in this circumstances, one should have two or three fingers out,which indicates that you are willing to pay double or triple the fair (depending on how many fingers you're sticking out).
This particular bit turned out to be a lifesaver when I got caught in a very unexpected snowstorm in Tokyo. I was wearing designer shoes and light coat,as it was quite nice out when I left my apartment (2 hour train ride from Tokyo) that morning. Then in the afternoon it suddenly went to shit. After trying to walk to the train station and having ice-cold water sloshing in my shoes after about 10 min, I tried to hail a taxi, but to no avail.
I did the "finger thing" and voila-one stopped almost straight away.
Japan is a very structured,organised culture. This structured environment includes adult entertainment.
Here's how it all works (in perfect harmony, I might add).
Japanese work very hard, but once 5pm strikes, they are all out in droves. First stop:a regular bar and a couple of "whisky water"s (drink of choice in Japan).
Then they want some "sexual healing" :).
First tier is what's called a "Hostess club". Girls are dressed in evening gowns and are well-spoken. All that takes places is conversation: there is no stripping or stage dancing of any kind. Gentlemen tips the lady for her time. If he wants to take the lady out for some more "in-depth" entertainment, he needs to first negotiate the price with the lady, then pay a "club" fee for taking her off the floor. Hostess club does not provide accommodation of any kind-it is up to a gentlemen to make the arrangements elsewhere.
Then there are strip clubs. Same version as western strip clubs: stage dancing with stripping and lap dancing in private areas,conversation in common areas,trying to get punters to buy a lap dance. A lot of Japanese men don't speak English, so clubs have "house mums",usually from Philippines who's job is to translate between the client and the girl.
There are a lot of Filipino WGs in Japan-it's great money for them. There was one named Dali in my club. Boy, was she talented: she had amazing stretching abilities. Dal would do splits on two stools set on casters: she 'd start by standing on both (one foot on each) and then slowly moved them apart,going into a "hanging" split in the process!
Dali was married and had 4 different boyfriends: none of them knew about the others. All four supported her fully and paid her bills (so she got 4 times the money). She was very skilled in joggling them,as it was hard work. She could also cry inconsolably at will (sometimes I wish I possessed that skill),as she demonstrated to me one evening. Dali was chatting with me in the dressing room,laughing ad giggling, when house mum came in and announced that one of her (Dali's) boyfriend's has just arrived. Dali told me to watch through the door: to my utter amusement she was sobbing and tears were pouring down her face inside 2 min! She told me before she wanted some money out of that guy, so she was telling him about her poor sick child (all fiction) back in Philippines.
Then there is a "blow job" shop. Exactly what it sounds like: gentlemen walks in, picks a lady from a line-up,they go to a private area and she sucks him off. Nothing else happens. There is no dancing,conversation or entertaining of any other kind. Average visit lasts about 15 min.
In Japan they have "Fantasy Houses". Those are parlours, but with a twist. Gentlemen walks in and is greeted by a receptionist. He is provided with an album of photos: girls in different outfits, such as schoolgirl,nurse,etc.Prices are listed below the photos. There is a board on the wall behind the receptionist. On it there are photos of same girls,lit from behind. When a particular girl is in a booking,receptionist switches the light behind her photo off.
This way not much conversation required: guy walks in, looks through the photos,looks on the board to see who's available, pays the receptionist and up he goes into the girl's room. The actual girl is NEVER different from the photo: exact same appearance,hair colour and outfit (those are not interchangeable). Obviously, photos are updated regularly.
Of course, geisha houses are in a league of it's own: iconic Japanese staple, they are exactly the same today as they were centuries ago-and you guessed it-no westerners allowed, those are strictly "Japanese only" establishments.
Japanese actually don't like change very much and try to keep their country traditional and true to it's roots-that's part of the reason they don't like westerners with their brash,disrespectful,crude attitudes/behaviour.
All these establishments are not competing with each other,as strange as it seems: Japanese men know exactly what they want and they go to the establishment that suits their needs the best on a given day.
Sometimes they combine two or three.
For instance, right nextt to out strip club was housed a "blow job shop". When a guy had a case of a "persistent wood", he went there to sort it out and then came to our club for relaxing conversation, stage show and some arousing lap dances (coming into one's pants during a lap dance because they were "hot and bothered" is unthinkable for a Japanese man-that "loss of face" I've mentioned earlier, definitely NOT like it was in Vegas,where punters often couldn't make it to the bathroom or couldn't be bothered...LOL..).
Sometimes guys came to our club first and THEN went to blow job shop for a quick relief.
It is customary in Japanese society (especially in "old style" families) for women to take care of the household and the children while men are working and "bringing home the bacon". Men earn a lot, but they also give a lot of money to their wives to take care of everything AND to spend on themselves.
For instance, you could never hear a wife bitching at her husband about a leaking roof-she is meant to call appropriate contractors to fix it,as husband put plenty of money into bank account.
Men are often come home at 3am, reeking of booze, cigarettes and vomit (and someone Else's perfume) and the wife is meant to clean them up and put them to bed, so they can get up in the morning,refreshed and ready to go to work. Any kind of complaining or questioning is considered scandalous and just is not done.
It is, obviously, different with a younger generation (but not all of them,as some choose "traditional" lifestyle).
Women are responsible for raising children and making sure they get a good education (as in do their homework and don't fall behind on their studies). Special attention is paid to boys-family's pride and joy.
It is known for Japanese mothers to have sex with their teenage sons, just to avoid distractions caused by sexual urges, so they (sons) could concentrate on their studies.
Women get plenty in return,though:in that same posh French restaurant where my host dropped $1000US for lunch, I observed 4 Japanese women dressed in designer clothes "doing lunch" and charging it, no doubt,on their husband's credit cards. And you should see those gals shop in Ginza (Tokyo's most expensive shopping district): whoo-peee and I thought I was a pro shopper... Hahaha.. Those women leave me in the dust!
Japanese are very honest: I've seen a guy who fell asleep at the train station with his wallet (expensive-looking,too), practically hanging from his inside coat pocket and no one was making attempt at stealing it: I was observing for about 20 min while I waited for my train.
There are plenty of perverts in Japan :). The most common form is for a guy to rub against female in a crowded train. Sadly, I am very familiar with this phenomenon,as it was a popular pastime for sick disgusting men in my home town when I was growing up (only there they did it on crowded buses). One time this was attempted on me in Japan, I yelled at the guy and he didn't know where to hide-he was so embarrassed...LOL..
As I've mentioned before, real estate is at a premium, so families often live together,several generations, in small,cramped flats. This poses a problem as far as sex is concern,obviously (no privacy).
But Japanese have answer to everything. They created what's called "Love Hotels". Those are very discreet and rooms could be hired hourly or nightly.
As one enters such hotel, he is greeted by a board on the wall with the photos of the rooms (exact photo of the decor and amenities) and prices. The ones that are available have lights on behind them. Reception area is covered by a curtain,all the way to the ceiling, so no one can see anyone. You just press the button underneath the desired room and push the money under the curtain at the window. Receptionist (you only see their hand) pushes back the key.
The proper etiquette is to lower your eyes and not make any eye contact or comments should you happen to pass someone in the hallway.
Rooms are actually quite nice (not at all "sleazy") and very fun. All the controls for the room are at the headboard of the bed (where two condoms are laid out as well-if you need more,it's up to you). Rooms have a disco ball on the ceiling sometimes and various moving coloured lights,as well as "mood" music. More often than not you'd find a small vending machine in the room that has various dildos,condoms,toys,etc.
I quite enjoyed "Love Hotels" and remember them fondly :).
I really liked Japan and hope to return there one day for a visit. But it is a very unique country and some westerners find it hard to palate (literally and figuratively) :)