Would five effeminate, overly-styled men fill your head with a desire to visit Japan and eliminate all memories of nuclear disaster and fall-out? That’s apparently the Japanese tourist authority dreams. One foreign resident designer laughed that few outside Japan would know the commercial charms of Arashi, and that the contexts are hard to understand for those with limited knowledge of Japan.
Who would be better? The womyn’s soccer team, Nadeshiko? The almost invisible Royal Family? The CEO of TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company, owner & operator of the Fukushima nuke plant)? Pokemon?
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.
Under the email Parker Esposito, I received this email message hoping to develop “friendly relations” from Elena. My new would-be friend is an elementary school English teacher! She seems like a real charmer, although I wonder how her brother looks like in a tight tee in a winter field.
My name is Elena!
We never talk with you earlier. I am 29 years old. I can tell to you that
I would like to get acquainted with you, and probably in the future we can
develop friendly relations, and probably and it is more, it can show only
time. I wish to find second half My friends say that I very friendly,
beautiful woman. I am a teacher of English in Elementary school! I
like my work because I love children. If it was pleasant to you my
photo or what I could write about myself in this small letter then I
will be glad if you write to me the letter on my email, OK?
Please reply only to my personal e-mail: tatochka099 at yahoo dot com
In the next letter I will send to you more of photo that you could
see better me. Also I will be grateful, if with your answer will send
Yours faithfully, Elena.
On, no, he didn’t! The always gaffe-prone Prime Minister Taro Aso, one week before the election, told a group of university students that poor men are too low status to get married. This was in answer to a question about Japan’s unprecedentedly low birth rate.
Young people “better not get married with little money. . It seems rather difficult to me that someone without any pay can be seen as an object of respect (worthy of a partner).”
To clarify matters, Aso cited his own experience. “I was late to marry even though I was not quite poor. I can’t say carelessly because I think it depends on the person.”
“Not quite poor” obliquely refers to the fact that his grandfather was prime minister, and his family is one of Japan’s richest, built in part on war-time slave labor. Despite his unfathomable wealth, he is known for his inability to read kanji.
Sadly, this walking disaster’s main challenger is another former prime minister’s grandson, with a shockingly expressionless face and what seem like dead fish eyes. No wonder there is so little excitement.
I spotted this sign in Shinjuku, and at first assumed it was yet another hostess bar. But, no, it’s a “new half” showhouse named Guppy. “New half” or ニューハーフ (nyuu haafu) is a relatively recent slang for transgender and/or transsexuals, mostly male to female.
Although it’s obviously drawing on English, the slang doesn’t really make sense to me: what’s new about feeling that you are in the wrongly gendered body? And what’s half about gender change? These girls look all girl to me!
Several transsexuals are now popular TV idols, the most famous being the super-charming Haruna Ai (はるな愛). I love her official blog banner with “AI am a girl” headline. She’s on the little screen almost every night.
What seems like an ancient wood residence sits incongrously on the main street of Akasaka. I visited this central Tokyo neighborhood twice recently for work. Each time I was amazed by this particular house, directly next door to an up-to-the-last-minute McDonalds, dwarfed by a few street trees, and modern high-rise towers. The owners must have turned down many offers for developing their land.
Here’s another view of this small home next to fast food modernitee.
The street contains a Metro station and a number of buildings from the 1960s to this decade. My favorite is the one in the middle of the next photo. The glass facade looks like shards jutting in and out for 15 stories.
Akasaka has a wonderful mix of the slick newest building styles, the banality that you see everywhere in Tokyo, and bits and pieces of old Tokyo charm.
My work colleagues took me into an ugly mid-rise building where there was a restaurant that looked like a throw-back to the 1960s. We sat on a tatami mat, with no floor cut-outs to make sitting easier, and the stout and friendly proprietress served up delicious bento box of sashimi and tempura for me, aji-don for my new friends. The per person cost, including service, was $11.
On a smaller side street, I saw two fancier restaurants with interesting gardens. The first is incredibly simple and mostly obscured by the wall.
The second is wonderfully fussy, including the bamboo hat that is both decorative and a means to train a pine tree.