Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bright lights, Kabuki city

歌舞伎町 I took a little trip down to Kabukicho last night to do some recon work. No, unfortunately not because I am planning to quit my day job as a corporate whore and become one of the boats in the water trade, but because I am going back there as a customer. That's right, this week is birthday week at casa Geisha and to show my dedication to this blog and my small niche of readers, I am going to a host club. How does this show my dedication? you may ask. Well, how does a post about my first time at a host club sound? It's going to be a carousel ride, I assure you.

So back to the recon work. I was supposed to be going with back-up, which cancelled, so I ventured there alone. Before going I had checked a couple host club information websites, which listed all the clubs in Kabukicho and included a rating system for the top hosts and an area for women to give feedback and comments on their experiences. I know people always say that Kabukicho is dangerous and seedy but I have to say, I felt right at home among the men with pointy shoes, blinding lights and menus of girls from which you can take your pick. About five minutes in and a guessed left turn, I struck host club gold. Gaudy lights and billboards showcasing the clubs' top hosts adorned the streets. I was even offered a flier by a cute host, which I immediately regretted not accepting.

As I picked my way back to Shinjuku station I couldn't help feeling how cheap and empty the area felt, like false front houses from Little House on the Prairie. It still never ceases to amaze me how integrated "night businesses" are into the collective conscious here. Not necessarily accepted by all, but viewed as a whole with some degree of normalcy. The other night the beau had to go to a hostess club with a customer, and by had, I mean this guy is a bit scary and the beau was definitely not in a position to say no. It doesn't happen often but when it does I have been trying very hard to understand the various aspects of having to go, despite not having grown up in an environment where it's common for men to pay for the company of women. Of course it's not just the company they are paying for (I am not referring to sex), but I will not go into that here. Suffice to say, it was interesting walking around Kabukicho and thinking that just the other night, the beau was there, up high in one of the top clubs in the area.

I'm not sure what passersby thought when they saw me wandering around last night-can locals here discern between tourists and residents as I think most foreign residents can? Most mornings on my way to work you would think I was bleeding out of my belly button given all the looks I get. It's gotten to the point where I am constantly checking my outfit to see if there is a peep hole or stain that is causing people to stare so. Last night in my work outfit of skirt and heels, I got a slight prosti vibe in some of the stares received but for the most part, I was left alone. I think the stares and reactions are less and less about location these days, considering I got a hearty suteki da naaa from a local pimping ojichan by my apartment the other day. My apartment that is not in Kabukicho.

On a quick side note, when first learning Japanese has anyone ever thought they were hearing the word for "steak" instead of suteki? Suteki, which can mean cool, lovely, pretty, great, etc., is one long vowel sound away from suteeki, which is "steak" in Japanese. When I was learning Japanese at university here I didn't know what the former meant and couldn't understand why Japanese people were always working talk of steak into the conversation! Lesson learned and I can safely say the ojichan was not talking about steak.

I made it back to Shinjuku station unscathed and with a good idea of where to go. I didn't however, run across the Hot Male Box, where I once ventured as a student as the sign from afar looks exactly like the HMV logo. Go figure. For now, stay tuned dear readers, for the highly-anticipated sequel in which I shall describe in gory detail, my night out at a host club.


jaredinnakano said...

Eager to hear your impressions of the host club. I am fascinated by them, but because of my cheapness, I have to make do with watching Gira Gira, the new drama on Asahi tv. Please let us readers know if there's any middle-aged hosts? Please also provide details about hair, fashion and male make-up? Thanks so much!

Kelley Dawne said...

I wanted to tell you, if you haven't been to a host club yet you should try Acqua! It's one of the few clubs that encourages foreign women to enter.

A friend of mine is obsessed with that place (I haven't been yet, I'm running on hearsay right now) and they apparently have a band (made up of hosts, of course) and hand out videos to loyal customers.

If you search for Acqua on youtube you will find some of their more hilarious (and naked..this is not safe for work) videos.

astrorainfall said...

Yeah I am keen to read all about your host club experience too. Like jaredinnakano, I am too cheap to splurge 30,000JPY on beer (it's more expensive you drink anything else apparently) and someone who looks like they perform in a j-pop boy band. Please debunk all the myths and hearsay!!

Reannon said...

OMG I totally thought I was hearing conversations about steak all the time...thanks for the info.! That was beginning to totally weird me out. I also thought that every time I got on the escalator in a train station the recorded voice was talking about something to do with being tired (sukaleta). But then I learned the word for escalator and it all makes sense now...

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

jaredinnakano: There were hosts of all ages, I think you just have to go to a big club to find them. They were all wearing suits and some of the younger glitzy ones wore what looked like Pucci scarves and glittery pins. As for the make-up, I didn't detect any (which could mean they did a good blending job) but obviously their eyebrows were perfect!!

kelley dawne: Thanks for the tip, unfortunately that club was closed on the night in question according to their website. I will put it on my list for my upcoming host series however!