Monday, January 19, 2009

The royal treatment

There was another birthday at chez Geisha recently and as some of you may remember my birthday shenanigans at a host club late last year, you would correctly assume that it was the beau's turn this time. Being well-versed in the times to be had in the mizu shobai thanks to some high-flying customers, the beau was not interested in spending his birthday paying for some conversation and companionship with a big-haired girl. And why would he, when he can have an expensive steak dinner with a tab picked up my me sporting big hair no less?!

After a pre-birthday party involving champagne and a bottle of 1985 Margaux, followed by some much needed sleep, we headed out to 57 in Roppongi, a big sexy space with plenty of bar area and lounginess separate from the dining room. For a weekend night the dining room was a bit quiet but the attentive staff more than made up for it. We were given true service by a waiter who introduced himself to us and took pains throughout the evening to make sure we were taken care of. Such service is not so easy to come by, even in Tokyo, city of the expensive restaurant and home to the polite Japanese citizen. Most service at nice Japanese restaurants is polite to be sure, but there isn't the same feeling of being taken care of that a lot of nicer restaurants are trying to emulate by looking to their equals in North America. There is usually no follow-up once the main is brought over and no personable smiles, I often feel like I am being served by a robot here. The North American model can and is taken too far sometimes, a prime example being an overly-friendly waiter who took to hugging my friend and I after 5 minutes of conversation. That shocked me with my newly-found Japanese sensibilities. It also made me miss some of the craziness to be found in North America where there seems to be more than one interpretation of social conduct.

But I digress. After dinner our waiter invited us to move to a space "where we could relax" and with no prompting set up a private room for us with rose petals strewn all over the table. Nice. Actually I felt more than a tad cheesy but if you can't be taken to a private room on your birthday, when can you? I'd only had drinks at 57 before but after dining there it is now one of my favourite places in the city.

After leaving the restaurant we made a short journey over to a bar run by a friend and proceeded to totally overdo it on the alcohol front. And I was once again entangled in some boy talk with the beau and 2 of the bartenders, one of them being our friend. I can't even try to tell you how we got into the conversation but I soon found myself listening to one of their girlfriend woes and dispensing advice. He compared his situation with his Japanese girlfriend with that of the beau and I and the other bartender who is dating a foreigner, complaining that his relationship is "all Japanese", inferring that the sex is dwindling and not as interesting as before. He wants his girlfriend to talk dirty to him. I listened and nodded, agreeing that yes sex is vital to a relationship and told him that he should mention this request to his girlfriend before they start doing the nasty to avoid any mid-sex hurt.

His comment about his relationship being "all Japanese" really got to me. For the country that birthed shunga and is truly filled with sex-related stuff, when did the Japanese start thinking of themselves as less sexual than the rest of the world? Maybe the oft-cited Durex survey has played a role in this. I can't help but get the impression that Japanese view foreigners as being crazed sexual maniacs, with insatiable appetites. I also often see this tinged with envy. So why not do something about it? Instead of being resigned to its place as the country with the lowest frequency of sex, why not stop blaming it on being Japanese and go out and well, do it? It frustrates me to see our friend who wants the royal treatment from his girlfriend silent on the issue with her but overly vocal with me, and I have no doubt there are many others like him in Japan.


Kelley Dawne said...

How interesting!

I don't know about the sex lives between Japanese and Japanese, but I would have thought the guy would tell his girlfriend right away if he was unhappy. I guess I just had this image of Japanese men saying whatever was bothering them to their girlfriends (at least the younger generation).

The boyfriend complains that Japanese WOMEN are the ones who only complain to their friends and never say anything to the boy until they want to break up. I have been asked to bring up any issues I have immediately and not save them for fights.

Anonymous said...

Huh, I wonder if that's really all that common in Japanese relationships? Not side-talking, but low sex rates. Maybe I should get a Japanese boyfriend. The British one wears me out. :/

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

aimless: I think if the results were categorized by age and other factors there would be quite a few differences between them. It's not just men having extramarital affairs though, so it seems to be a fairly even spread of blame between both men and women for low sex rates, depending on the couple of course.