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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Japan Trip - Day 2, Part 5 - Kabuki cho (Red Light District), Tokyo

"I find it rather easy to portray a businessman. Being bland, rather cruel and incompetent comes naturally to me." - John Cleese


Japan trip
Day 2 - 7th June - Kabuki cho (Red Light District), Tokyo
(Part 5)

This post contains some pictures and videos which are not work-safe (though the thumbnails might conceivably pass muster). You have been warned.

By this time, night had fallen and not many things were open, so I decided to visit Kabuki cho, the most infamous red light district in Shinjuku (and probably Tokyo). Although this was the only time I visited a red light district on purpose, somehow I kept ending up in red light districts throughout my trip to Japan.

An innocuous-looking 'DVD' shop. Notice the kids' icons Aladdin and Pocahontas (?) on the shop sign.

Naturally, it was mostly stocked with Japanese AV (and even more so than the other place, despite its kid-friendly visage). There was mature and ang moh porn mixed inside.

They had an autographed poster from one AV star. Why is her name in hiragana and not in kanji?

The subway stations and especially the waiting platforms were well-airconditioned. It must be very expensive to keep it up in summer. Maybe this is why even subway trains in Japan are so expensive.

Courtesy seat sign. They probably saw the photoshopped courtesy seat sign:

the last time and changed the signs to a version harder to photoshop.

Killer durians - 3000-4000Y for one. They're *still* cheaper than Yubari melons.

100Y pineapple. Cheaper and larger than the coeur d'ananas in France.

"Those caught littering in designated beautification priority areas will be fined up to Y20,000"
Presumably that means it's okay to litter elsewhere.

Kabuki cho. Not very pink for a red light district.

Souvenir picked up in a phone booth

Shop with signboard with animals on it. This being Kabuki cho, I thought of Genki Genki (even by NSFW standards, this is NSFW).

A quieter area of Kabuki cho. Maybe there's less smoke and more fire here (for example, in Amsterdam Window Prostitution, while the most visible sort, accounts for the least amount of transactions).
Also, in the middle ground you will see a convenience store. It is a "Family Mart". I like the irony of having that in a Red Light District.

"Tokyo Loose. Friendly International Bar & Club"
I think they mean loose women, but I hope it's the right sort of loose. Clear evidence that careless Engrish can loose you business

Incredibly cheap day rates. Y800 for an hour (the hotel, not the girl)?! That's even cheaper than Singapore.

Coed club: "Club Yamato"

The male hosts are prettier than the female hosts.

[Addendum: Given that Japan is not very gay friendly, the hosts are probably there for female customers.]

More pretty boys


'new club chelsea. Angels alights tonight. Club Gal Jeanne'


This shop looked suspicious. I went in and they were selling DVDs the way they used to sell CDs at Jade: with ring binders you could flip through, and you could view the front/back covers. As for why the shop was so discreet: they were selling illegal and immoral items - uncensored pornography! Tsk, in a land where porn can be found at any DVD shop, why is there a need to defile yourself with movies where you can see pink?

As you might have figured out by now, prostitution in Japanese red light districts takes the form of clubs. You don't see the prostitutes walking about or soliciting people (the most I saw was in Hiroshima, with 2 skankily-dressed girls exiting a club for a while to smoke).

"GIRL's NAVi. 無料案内所"
Then there are these information centres, where you can see club ads and get information on them.

Inside: "Love Chance sexy pub *picture of topless French maid*"

"Nurse Call"

I translate this as: "Panda Express". Given the lack of women's pictures I'll assume it's a bona fide massage place.

I saw a sex shop and went in to look for the Tenga Cup for someone.

"Wellcome. The article for sale of here is most suitable as both a Japanese memory and a souvenir"
Someone: those r not made in japan

Japanese vibrator
They actually had items put out as demonstration pieces. I must say, I've never seen such good service on the part of such a shop before.

The infamous Hitachi Magic Wand. Or clones of it, anyway.

These look like stored value cards for phone sex.

Japanese spinning vibrator. I don't know why they like spinning vibrators so much. Must be a cultural thing.

"Shiny Shank. The Pleasure Plunging Penis That Keeps You On Your Glorified Edge Of Passion"
5" only and they can keep you "on your glorified edge of passion"?! My theory about racial coevolution is surely true, then!

Some porn star's fingers, cast and made into a sex toy. Casting penises is one thing, but fingers?!

"Don't Open!! if open Kill YOU"

More clubs

"Talk Cafe in Virtual Train".
Could this be the infamous Chikan Train Cafe?!?!


"Train Cafe, an adult's club in the basement of a seedy building in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district, claims to be combating the crime of molestation by getting chikan, or gropers, off the streets...

Those services are carried out in a room refurbished so that it looks exactly like the inside of a carriage on the Yamanote Line, the train that loops the central Tokyo area. Young women stand at strategic points in the carriage and patrons are permitted to fondle them in whatever way they please...

20-year-old Rin tells the weekly[,] "... You know you're going to be felt up and it's a good place to make friends, so I enjoy it.""

I don't think I'd walked that far, so this was probably a copycat cafe.


"WANTED. Filipina Arubaito. CLUBEMERALD... Guarantee Salary for 2 Weeks Y2,000. Help Y1,500". Y2,000 is peanuts. Presumably they live on Extras.

Gang of kids

Although most of the club information centres and clubs were manned by men (in the latter case, they stood outside them in suits or the like), a few clubs were smarter and employed girls to give out flyers.

I got solicited a grand total of 5 times (all by men). The first time, the person spoke a word beginning with S, but I walked off. Another advertised a strip show.

A third offered massage and sex. He was in his 40s or 50s, and spoke with a strangely familiar accent, like the old generation of SAF Warrant Officers (maybe this is their retirement plan). At first he offered me Y20,000. When I said no he lowered it: "Discount for you. 15,000. Pretty girls. You can choose".

A fourth (a black guy) offered, "90 minutes. All you can drink. No touching. Brazillian *something*". Another black guy asked me, "Looking for girls?" and then advertised a Y5,200 unlimited-duration strip show. I should've told him I was looking for the subway.

Poster for the place the last guy was trying to sell to me

I'm told that to get a high-paying job in Japan, you need to learn English. As I learnt from being solicited by 5 guys, this is because you can con gaijin into buying stuff (since they don't know Japanese and are vulnerable).

Illegal Assembly

I was unable to find a Soapland. Or at least a place labelled in English as a Soapland. I was very sad.

Elephant's shoes

Although I've been in cities with large and complicated subway networks before (New York isn't that bad, but London and Paris are formidable), Tokyo's took the cake. The fact that the network is so large and convoluted is a minor annoyance, but what really pissed me off was the profusion of subway companies which run the lines. Besides the Tokyo Metro lines, you have the Toei subway lines, the JR lines and a profusion of private railways. This can result in a lot of crossing fare gates, walking between or within stations, JR pass holders needing to buy tickets and worst of all, subway day passes not working as you might expect them to and the potential hassle and expense of having to buy multiple tickets to get to your destination (you can use the Suica - a stored value card - but this doesn't save you money but only hassle).

Japanese train ticket gates can read more than one ticket at a time (this is sometimes needed due to the multiple networks). Hah.

They were showing Cats, the Lion King, Wicked and West Side Story when I was in Japan. Seeing a Japanese woman in a blonde wig as Galinda and another Japanese woman with green skin as Elphaba... is not that weird, considering this is Japan.

Touching Japanese train ad
I really like this ad. Before the start of this clip, the whole family is in the train and the girl looks bored.
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