My gorgeous blogger friend Green Eyed Geisha made my dreams come true with our private bonenkai, year forgetting party, which we celebrated at Top Dandy, a male host club in Kabukicho. See this Tokyo host website for a list of all 70 clubs!
I love the contrast between the simple sign out front, indicating the club’s location on the fifth floor of an ordinary building, and the elaborate photo styling of their website.
Once inside, we were met by a handsome tall guy who was very charming, and along with a portly short older guy led us into the chandelier-bedecked club. There must have been twenty chandeliers, including ceiling, wall, and at least one inside of a plexiglass drinks table. Plus many many mirrors.
Later, GEG told me that she hadn’t found our first greeter handsome, because his hair was too natural. I found him suave and charming, and loved that he had self-taught himself English. He also boasted that he had taken a 3 month trip to 20 countries, of which he most liked Turkey and South Africa.
GEG introduced me as her cousin, which seemed much kinder than uncle and explained that I was there to soothe her “first time” anxiety. She, of course, has been to several others before. But as first time customers at Top Dandy, we were entitled to a 5,000 yen (US$ 55) all you-can-drink, stay-as-long-you-want encounter with an endless parade of back-combed, floss haired boys.
Continue reading after the jump.
GEG was initially concerned the club would bar my entry based on gender, or charge more since men are assumed to be bigger drinkers than ladies (not true in my case!). It probably helped that we went out on a Wednesday evening, so there were plenty of tables and idle boys, and in this poor economy business is business.
The basic set-up is that you are seated, and two or three hosts at a time entertain you. They pour your drinks, light your cigarettes, and try to be charming. Of the twenty hosts we met over three hours, I found two very attractive, fifteen not at all, and a few more attractive after many drinks. Many were drunk, loud and frankly boring. Most were tall and thin, although some were short and even one goth.
My friend M. had egged me on by suggesting that I serve as the stool by which all the hosts could access the lovely GEG. With them perched on my lap, “Their hair product fumes will suffocate you in ecstasy.”
Strangely the host I found most attractive was a non-drinker who’s been working at Top Dandy for five years. Notice how close we are in the photo, and his tongue is discreetly sticking out. Unlike the others, he was attentive, soft-spoken and seemed more interested in us. It didn’t hurt that I told him he looks like Kimutaku’s younger brother, which prompted him to show us various cellphone photos of himself where he thought he most looked like Kimutaku. Ah, male vanity, you are so mesmerizing!
I asked how long it takes to create that fountain effect with his hair, shooting up and cascading down, and he said only 30 minutes. He also added that he goes to a beauty salon every day to get it styled. He and a few others allowed me to touch their hair after I asked whether it was hard.
One particularly vulgar host insisted he wanted me to teach him English. In a mix of Japanese, English and body gestures, he answered my question of what is the most difficult part of being a host. He explained, or bragged, that sometimes he has to have sex with the ladies. Poor guy! I didn’t find out if he gets paid extra for that personal touch, or if it is a reward for champagne service that costs between US$400 and $3,500.
Somehow GEG was disappointed that the hosts didn’t talk dirty to her. She wondered if they thought we were a couple, or just not interested in becoming regulars. I think it’s because she is young, good looking and confident. Other customers were middle-aged women by themselves: one a Japanese Annie Hall type hiding under a large hat and glasses. Several were in full bloom of middle age while dressing as late teen hostesses. Others looked shy and nerdy.
I also learned that there are strange laws governing host clubs. They open from 6.30 pm to 1 pm, at which time they are obligated to close. They reopen at 5.30 am and stay open to lunch. I assume the evening shift customers are middle-aged ladies, while the morning crowd are hostesses and others who work nights.
On the street near the host clubs, I overcame GEG’s shyness and insisted that I could easily persuade these three hosts to have their photo taken with her. I’ve cropped her from the photo to preserve her beautiful anonymity.
One American male friend in Tokyo was confused that two of them are women. No, NONE OF THEM ARE WOMEN. And they are most likely hetero (with a potential gay for pay work ethic).
My dream is to go to a different club next month for a shinnenkai, or new year’s party, with GEG and another favorite Tokyo blogger, MISA. I am sure she can loosen up the boys.