Shinjuku’s bright lights bring out the best in everyone.
That hair and make-up cannot come cheap.
Any excuse is a good reason to visit the male host club section of Kabukicho. Of course the real life hosts and want-to-be hosts are the main attractions. I like how those climbing the ranks are on the streets trying to hustle clients, host wanna-bes and anything with a heart beat.
The plentiful club ads are also something to marvel over. I love this ad for Trust and the possible false quote from Ernest Hemingway. What great advice: “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” I will overlook the lack of symmetry between “somebody” and “them.” But generally I find it hard to trust young men who are exchanging booze (and maybe more) for gobs of money.
I recently learned this odd Japanese phrase: kanban musume (看板娘), which literally means daughter and store sign. I think the modern term is “door bait.” Apparently it’s an Edo or earlier tradition for commercial establishments to place their attractive daughters outside the shop to lure customers.
This male host club uses three over-sized dogs, each with their own portable heater and blanket, to bring in the (mostly) female clients. The husband remarked that he hopes the white dog with a pink bow is male.
A nearby club is surprisingly visible from the sidewalk. Peering inside makes me feel like I am on acid.
In addition to endless thass, there was endless yankii fashion at the omatsuri. No doubt this festival was extra riche in eye candy because the shrine is almost equidistant from Kabukicho, Golden Gai, and Ni-chome. According to Donald Richie, this old shrine was famous in the post-war years for being a place where truckers met trannies.
The above photo captures the absolute best of yankii fashion. The boys with their teased, damaged, and plastered helmet hair, and boots-in. The girl with piled high hair, looking both 50s in her leather jacket, 60s and 80s in her curvaceous fishnets. The best part is that all are eating food on a stick: two are eating pickled cukes and one an ice-cream.
In the photo below, they seem to have realized they captured a new fan. And I love how the more traditional fellow does a double-take, perhaps more startled by the foreigner’s interest than the archetypical fashion participating in this thousands year old religion. You can also see the girl’s shoes and her amazing legs much better!
Trust me, there were more big-haired boys than I could possible capture with my simple camera. Here’s one more. I am looking forward to the start of summer.
What is hotter than a white suit and a fountain of jet black hair shooting high and spilling low? Nothing! This couple looks very much in love, and there’s a bonus third skinny guy.
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.
Kabukicho is now full of ads for this new (?) host club called Smappa!, which seems a blatant rip-off of SMAP, the boy band now entering middle-age. The Smappa ad for Shun-kun above hilariously promises 夜のロハス, night-time lohas.
Lohas means Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, and applies to a 30 something female demographic. What has made hairspray and men’s make-up sustainable? I think actually, like the club name, it is a blatant attempt to connect with larger pop culture themes (like a bad porn title that mimics a Hollywood blockbuster).
From their incredibly complete Smappa! website, I have borrowed these staff images. Scroll to the bottom to see their onsen/ryoukan holiday. These boys are well-documented. Check their Smappa website for more!