Friday, July 16, 2010
Biggu Dikku, or My first and only Host Club adventure
If you're at all familiar with Japan's nightlife industry, then you're already aware of the abundance of Hostess bars/clubs that run rampant throughout all parts of the country. And if you're especially familiar with Tokyo's Red Light District, Kabuki-Cho, then you're also aware about the rising trend in Host Clubs. Similar to Hostess clubs, but instead, Guys with over-bleached and highly teased hair, pressed suits and pointy shoes cater to the fantasies of young girls, pouring their drinks, lighting their cigarettes, feigning interest and spewing forced compliments in order to make them feel like Princesses. (And to get them to spend money, of course.)
My friends, "Malessa" and "Keira Knightly" (names changed for obvious embarrassment coverage reasons) and I decided when I came to visit that we would go see what all this Host Club fuss was all about. We had already picked up a magazine at the bookstore detailing the hottest and best Host Clubs and checked out which ones had the "Hottest Guys". After shopping all day and getting ourselves all dolled up for the evening, we headed over to Kabuki-cho to try and stake out a club with the best First-timer deal. (Most clubs have All you can drink specials for 2 hours for anywhere between ¥3000 and ¥5000) We instant ran across a large gaggle of Hosts in their pretty suits with their perfect hair readying to hand out flyers to girls passing by, but alas, we were overlooked: The perils of being a Gaijin (Foreigner). Since Foreigners are seen as being "dangerous" (plus the problems of the language barrier), we knew it might be hard to find a place to let us in. (Even though my friends were both fairly skilled in Japanese)
As we got further and further away from the big bright lights and pretty boys into the deep, seedy, smelly underbelly of Kabuki-cho, we were about ready to give up and turn back when from out of the shadows we heard a "Hey! You!". ENGLISH!? Could it be!? And so we turned around and were met with a portly looking Yakuza wannabe guy holding flyers. He said one thing and one thing only as he handed us the flyer with the special: "I have Biggu Dikku". We exchanged nervous giggles and checked it out:the special was ¥500/hr - all you can drink. Sure! Sounded great to us! If all else failed, at least we could get drunk for cheap. So the Manager came out to greet us and ushered us downstairs and inside to the club. We gave our coats to the attendant and were lead to a table.
Wow. That's all I could say. This place was like, the dumpiest version of a host club ever. It was fairly small and everything was covered in pink drapery; There were a few fake cherry blossom trees in the corners and white Christmas lights were hung all around the room for "ambiance". Soon our hosts arrived. I sat in the middle so that my friends could speak with the hosts and translate for me. We were given a bottle of Green Sho-chu (Japanese Whiskey; Well, Korean if you want to get technical) and asked to select a beverage to drink with it. I went with Cola. Our hosts daintily placed coasters with the club's name, CLUB HERO, emblazoned on them in front of each of us. Then they produced small glasses for each of us and a bucket of ice and filled each of our glasses accordingly. Then they produced a set of glasses for themselves and politely asked if it was alright if they had drinks as well. (They have to ask your permission first.)
We had one attractive host, one semi-attractive host and one host that was ugly as sin. But they all had one thing in common: they were dumb as bricks. As they asked us questions about what we were doing in Japan, where we were from, etc., we were asked such gems as "What language do they speak in England?" (Keira told them she was British) and "Do they have cell phones in America?" We also went around and said what celebrity we thought we looked like: The hot one said Johnny Depp; The Fuggo one answered 'Bart Simpson'. It was pretty accurate - he was tan and had a squished nose, spiky hair and very gaped teeth. We then asked if we could switch guys and were given a menu (or Man-u, if you will. Har Har) to look at. We selected some good looking prospects and Bart Simpson was sent away.... But so was Johnny Depp! WHAT? NO! We didn't want to get rid of the good looking one! Another semi -attractive guy came and a guy who referred to himself as Jack Black. To which, somewhat already intoxicated Keira said "OH HELL NO! SWITCH!" And we were brought another guy in his place. At that point we just didn't even care anymore and were just drinking for the sake of making the whole experience less painful. By the time our 2 hours were up, we had killed 2 big bottles of Sho-chu.
But we didn't want the night to end yet! It was still early! So Malessa suggested we go to the Host Club she had went to the week before, which just so happened to be the #2 Host Club in all of Kabuki-cho. She was worried she wouldn't get the first time discount because she had just been there and, as much as Foreigners 'all look the same' to the Japanese - her blond & black streaked hair and big boobs pretty much singled her out. Luckily she worked it out with the Manager and it was like "Oh yes, this is your first time right? wink wink nudge nudge" The club was also very busy so they could only give us 1 or 2 hosts at a time, which was fine by us. Malessa found the host she was flirting with the week before and went to work her magic in trying to get him into bed. The hosts at this club were slightly better looking than the dumpy club and just as dumb. They also kept saying they had "Biggu Pen-Is" (Is constantly reciting this phrase supposed to entice girls?)
We ordered some more Sho-chu and Orange juice, but then our hosts got called away when some chick at the table across from us bought a bottle of champagne. Traditionally at host clubs, when a girl buys a bottle of champagne (which generally runs about ¥30,000), all the hosts in the club come over to her table and do a "Champagne Call" where they pop the bottle and serenade her with their special Host club song. Well, Keira and I were getting pissed! There was no one there to make us feel special and pour our drinks. So we decided to pretend we were hosts and pour our own. "Where from!? Where from!?", we imitated as we sloppily overpoured and proceeded to forget the rest of the events of the evening entirely. The last thing I remember was eating the fake rock chocolate on the table and letting a host in a v-neck and a blazer touch my boob because I said, "It's ok - I know you don't have them here". Keira apparently flashed the entire club and was talking to girls at random tables and got yelled at by the manager.
Keira and I woke up still drunk/horribly hungover the next morning after apparently suffering through a cab ride that involved us stopping to puke multiple times and ended with me being chased by the taxi driver with napkins as I struggled to maintain my modesty to puke on the sidewalk while my pants were hanging halfway down, exposing my pale white Gaijin ass to the Tokyo streets.
Oh Kabuki-cho. You make glorious memories!