In his woolen cape, the Greek count’s first stop is Haguromo, a shrine of bathing for working class gays in Nishi Shinjuku. The count is here to cleanse, observe, and interact.
Sublime and random Tokyo gay stories in August:
1. A gay Italian visitor to Tokyo is *shocked* at the sight of Japanese men using paper fans to cool themselves on trains and sidewalks. “In Italy, only women and fags dare use a fan.” There is nothing more satisfying than observing an Italian man surprised by another nation’s male effeminacy.
2. My new super-gay hairdresser (rare in a country where most are straight) has recently told me about his working the festival circuit with his yakuza friends carrying a portable shrine shoulder to shoulder and dressed in fundoshi (ritual male thongs), his earlier stint at a Ginza hair salon when he cut the hair of minor royals, and advice about yankii and nudist beachs in Chiba.
A few years younger than this author, my new gay Japanese sensei is also a middle-aged competitive body builder, with distinct orange in his hair and skin tone. Did I mention that we met at Haguromo, the super-gay and sometimes yakuza-filled sento? How often can I get my short hair cut? He’s talented with hair and full of helpful stories and expressions.
3. I’ve heard that many Japanese prefer “small faces.” Just recently, a Japanese friend explained that Japanese distinguish between weak faces (うすい、薄い）and strong faces（こい、濃い). Previously I understand that these adjectives are applied to liquids like tea (literally, the concentration through quantity and steeping time) and even to food types (sort of like light and heavy).
Apparently with people, so-called weak faces have “fewer distinguishing features” or “fewer things sticking out.” Strong faces have deep set eyes, large noses, more prominent chins. This distinction is at once racial and yet pretends not to be. I have a hard time grokking this, but will be more open to hearing about these immutable differences.