Friday, 9 March 2012

being a Hostess in Japan -Part 2

Let me tell you a few stories about some of my favourite customers.
My first favourite customer was later to become my lover - don't judge I was crazy about him he dazzled me with his flashy rock star ways.
No names lets call him A - he was a member of the yakuza (mafia) and always had his minion or driver or whatever his job description was he was always accompanied to the club by a large short bald man. A, himself was tall and an older man in his mid to late 30's with a thin moustache and he always wore sports jackets and white suit jackets. i thought he was debonair to be honest. Shush I can feel you judge I was young and I already told you I got dazzled.

(Billboard outside all Japanese hostess club 'Regend')
Anyhoo A was my first favourite he used to come to the club every night and have heaps of girls sit with him and order heaps of food and drinks and just have loud fun. Everyone wanted to sit at his fun table and every girl wanted to be his number one girl. Another reason we liked him was because after work (4am) and during the afternoon when we woke up he would take us to fun places to eat or shop. He would take us in pairs or groups so you'd always feel safe with him. He drove a fancy car (well had his driver drive us -yep white gloves and all) he splashed a lot of cash and sort of seemed a bit famous where ever we went people knew him and would be differential. Now in hind sight these people could have all been afraid of him and paying projection money. I met him on my first visit and I couldn't speak any Japanese so the kind of communication in itself was fun. We'd use baby language and silly hand gestures -we never got serious because we couldn't ever have a serious conversation. He was also a massive player and adulterous man which ended us. He did pick us up from the airport when we arrived on our second trip and got us an apartment which was cool. After doing that for us though he'd go weeks without talking to me. I didn't have his phone number so that was inconvenient.

(Outside a club called tank girl taken in 2011)
My next favourite customer was also in the yakuza....hmmm is this a pattern. (No it isn't I promise).
This time we didn't have a relationship outside friendship though. Lets call him Hero (close enough) he was very handsome and very shy which as it turns out I like. I knew him for about 4 years there are two interesting stories about him one he got me a really beautiful China dress for my 21st and the second was the reason why we never got together because he would disappear for long periods of time. A reliable source (another customer) told me he was sort of a low ranking yakuza (like a muscle man) who would often be in trouble with his work bosses -who are yakuza bosses (and you sort of never want to be in trouble with yakuza bosses). I witnessed a couple of the penalties he had to pay. He had to shave his head once and he also had to cut off a portion of his left pinkie finger. I'm not sure what he did to earn these penalties though. Oh the pinkie finger thing is pretty usual not to be callus and uncaring here its just that I've seen so many men missing portions of their finger its really normal to me. It doesn't always have to be for doing something wrong it can be like a pledge of allegiance as well. They wear it like a badge. 
Another badge the yakuza wear with pride is tattoos, traditionally their whole back is, t-shirt sleeves, and to mid thigh are all completely covered. I would always ask the customers to show me their tattoo I have always found them beautiful. Japan have no tattoo policies in places like gym's, public bath houses and pools its a polite way to say no yakuza allowed. Seeing these various tattoos is probably what influenced my own addiction to tattoos.  Japanese Tattoo

(My back tattoo- very Japanese inspired)
Another favourite in the club was a guy we called PaPa and we'd pat his bald head whilst saying it (I'm not sure why don't ask just go with it). He actually was the head of Yamaha (pianos not bikes) we liked him because he was really lovely, could speak English and always without fail brought us ice creams. See how easy it is to please me!

I also had a big wig of coke a cola Japan as a customer and if only I had of stayed a bit longer working there instead of packing up and heading to live in the Philippines- I would have scored Sydney Olympic opening ceremony tickets he took another Aussie girl that worked there instead. He was a very nice man very sweet and dignified with classic Japanese manners.

Another awesome customer of mine I knew for around 6 years. We met because he was a regular of another girl at the club she was from Peru Connie. She was stunning and also married to a Japanese man (of course secretly no customers we aware...this is also usual most girls are married, or live with a guy, or have a boyfriend and its not really knowledge you share with customers) Anyway my Peru friend moved to another town a couple hours away and I was still at his local so he would request me. He still was head over heels in love with Connie though and stayed very loyal. Yes I see the hypocrisy there too! He gave me a video camera for my 23rd birthday.
(even as a little girl i loved playing dress up which was one of my favourite parts of my job as a hostess)
An interesting story about another good customer of mine. Let's call him Mr T -he was stolen from me by another girl that worked with me her name was Leni -I'm not sure if that was her real name many girls had alias' except me i wouldn't be able to remember it if i was drunk so what was the use. Anyway she won him over he stopped requesting me even though he had been for over 2 years. These kind of things are annoying as it not only means loss of income its a massive blow to your pride. Anyhoo a few years later I ran into him when I was working at a different club. He requested me and it was nice I hadn't seen him for years so got to ask about his work and kids and all the stuff you usually catch up on. The I broached the topic of Leni..."so hows Leni" haha! I'm not subtle. He told me that she changed clubs as well because she got caught having an affair with a married man and his wife sort of ran her out of town. In her new club she 'renamed' herself that's my name... awkward obsessed with me much?! He thought it was stalkerish too and stopped going to see her. I ended up teaching his 3 kids English when I left the night life and went day! I would often eat dinner at their home with his whole family.

One of the towns big spenders was a shipping tycoon came in a few times a week he would bring in his Norwegian clients to smooch and woo them. It is a common practice to bring clients to a hostess bar to try to win them over. I was countless times used as a bargaining tool to win over contracts and clients for my customers. I'd attend dinners or they'd come to the club to meet me. I liked to have conversations about their business it really did interest me. I've worked on marketing campaigns, major multi million dollar contracts and even named businesses all whilst lighting cigarettes and drinking copious amounts of whiskey. This was a favourite customer because he gave actual tips which was rare. He did it to show off his western knowledge but who cares!

The customer that gave me a car was another that we all called Papa. He was a very sweet old man in about his late 60's he was widowed. He would come to the club once a week and loved his karaoke -he'd sing the Japanese version of 'My way' every single time without fail. He would often bring with him shopping catalogues and let me pick out things I wanted. How cute is that! He used to take me out to dinner about once a month it was always a traditional Japanese place and always amazing. He was just a lovely grandfather figure I could tell he was a bit lonely he didn't have any family so I used to make sure I'd call him often to check on him.

The thing about being a hostess is that even though it isn't the sex trade there is never a time you are selling your body to a customer for money. In fact in most clubs I worked they wouldn't even let you date customers. But in another way it is a form of emotional prostitution. What you are selling is your companionship your mind and the unspoken promise that there could be a chance between you. You are always single and always just beyond reach. A good hostess can string these feelings out for a long period of time and may develop care and a sort of friendship between herself and the customer but never goes further. It can at times be confusing for both sides.

An amazing documentary if you are intrigued by the hostess / host life is  this link 'The great happiness space -Tales of an Osaka love thief'. Its about a male host in Osaka and his host club most of his customers are female hostesses or woman of the night. It gives an interesting insight into how hosts/hostesses feel about customers.

(Host bar billboards in Shinjuku Japan 2011)

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