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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Secret World in Japan

The creativity of the Japanese remains unrivaled. My favourite TV show on Sundays used to be the Japanese "Change change change" talent show. Almost every contestant left me in awe.

Expectedly, the fuzoku (commercial sex) industry in Japan is just as creative, just by the sheer number of choices. This facet of the Japanese intrigues me. It is a world in which men live out their wildest fantasies, yet they are set in the most 'blah' spaces of everyday life, like in the MRT and offices (it's been a long coming that sex on the beach is overrated).

It is also a world of asobi (play) but it is very serious in its obsessions. It is a world in which the customer (usually male) is king but obeys strict rules the moment they step in. 

I misunderstood the Japanese when i saw "Japanese Only" signs in their fuzoku outlets.

I thought they were being snobbish by rejecting foreigners. I learnt the real reason wasn't them being elitist, but because foreigners finds it absurd to play by the fuzoku rules. Every customer fills out a detailed checklist of how his next hour will play out. 

Even out of fuzoku, the Japanese are observant of all rules. It reminds me of my experience in a themed restaurant in Shibuya. We were the only non Japanese diners and we didn't take the theme too seriously. We posed for pictures, went in and out of the prison cell. We noticed the Japanese diners all stayed put in their cells and only got out when they've finished their meal.
In fuzoku, answering a questionnaire beforehand go as detailed as if you would like the girl to observe your appendage with admiration (regardless of the truth) before going down. It's the same as ordering a steak at a restaurant and you've to instruct the chef beforehand how exactly you'll like your meat.

Gleaned from a real Japanese fuzoku questionnaire,
Other Requests:
1 word attack: girl says rude things to customer
2 spit on penis
3 staring at penis
There will be Japanese men who disobey the rules occasionally too. These men will then be ridiculed by having their photo taken while they are still in towels and plastered on the shop front with large text "BANNED". Much of the world of the fuzoku centers around uniforms, a common requirement in schools and companies, it symbolize the formal surface of manners. Underneath these formal roles and uniforms lurks the pervert nature of men.
"Men are universally perverted; it's just that in Japan, we do something about it."
Males pay for illusions of power and control but in reality, they follow minute scripts as revealed in the questionnaires. The paradoxical world of fuzoku is mind boggling. Yet it isn't surprising because it is a transaction after all, isn't it? There are no emotions, there is no love. You don't really 'go with the flow'. Even the 'flow' is determined how much is allowed (no more than two times).

The fuzoku accounted for 2.37 trillion Yen in 2001 and i only scratched the surface with the themed love hotels.
Geishas, a long tradition of compensated companionship still exists with more modern practices like male hostesses serving female patrons are gaining traction. It has even reached Singapore's shores on Lavender Street.

Anything that happens regularly in most places, Japan takes a step further. In "happening bars", customers pay a hefty membership fee and they meet other paying customers to "happen". There is no privacy as most rooms have  one-way mirrors and peepholes. Couples even bring their partners to swap.

Not all establishments offer intercourse as that is technically illegal. They always insist that if intercourse do happen, it doesn't happen on their establishment, but is something that is arranged between the two. Thus publicly, the Japanese have to be creative in their offerings. In inexpensive osawari pubs, it is a rotating concept with no intercourse involved. In the Nurse Station in Osaka, "nurses" go cubicle to cubicle on a rotating basis to make out their their "patients".  Patients can be visited by as many as three different nurses in a forty-minute period. At Air Touch in Osaka, customers receive more than drinks and conversation if they choose to sit in "Business Class". This one makes me chuckle: At the Kaiten Zushi Baxy, it is a rotating sushi breast-touching pub. The girls are named "shrimp", "tuna" and "urchin", rotate every two minutes. 

It's all very real, and like i said most of fuzoku don't necessary end in intercourse. There's something deeper within that men could possibly be searching?
The numerous flyers i received walking on the street in Akibahara.
Like this which you can pay $15 to have your ear cleaned by a busty (no less) lady.
There's a new service in town. Just opening in September last year, Soineya, Japan's first "co-sleeping specialty shop", where customers pay to sleep in the arms or on the butt of a beautiful girl. It's a stereotype that men want sex all the time. It's not true! They do like cuddling! It's gaining popularity and Soineya is opening it's second outlet in Tokyo. 

Here's their menu

Admission fee: 3000 yen (US $40)
Standard Course 
20 min – 3000 yen ($40)
40 min – 5000 yen ($65, only 3000 yen for first time visitors)
60 min – 6000 yen ($77)
6 hrs – 30000 yen ($387)
Optional Course
Customer sleeps in girl’s arm (3 min) – 1000 yen ($13)
Girl pats customer on the back (3 min) – 1000 yen  ($13)
Customer pets girl on the head (3 min) – 1000 yen  ($13)
Customer and girl stare at each other (1 min) – 1000 yen  ($13)
Girl changes clothes (1 time) – 1000 yen  ($13)
Girl gives customer foot massage (3 min) – 1000 yen  ($13)
Customer gives girl foot massage (3 min) – 2000 yen  ($26)
Customer sleeps with head on girl’s lap (3 min) – 1000 yen  ($13)
Girl sleeps with head on customer’s lap (3 min) – 2000 yen  ($26)

The job description for Soineya is 
Job: Sleeping
Location: Akihabara (3 min walk from station)
Qualifications: High school age to 30′s
Compensation: 3500 yen ($45)/hour
Hours: Weekdays 15:00-22:00, Weekend/holidays 12:00-22:00
Anyone interested in applying can do so here.

$45/hr to sleep sounds better than standing on your feet at a car show giving flyers or being a Club Snap model. 

If you are a customer, let's hope you don't really fall asleep (you'll go bankrupt) at Soineya and pray your butt pillow don't fart. 

If you are intrigued to know more about this side of the Japanese culture, get Joan Sinclair's Pink Box from Amazon. It's one of my best cheeky reads. 

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