|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
spa! 8/2 By MH(Michael Hoffman)
They are the footsoldiers in the sex game,or sex industry,or entertainment world:
the unsung openers of doors,tenders of bars,gofers,comforters,appointment-takers,managers - the lubricant in the machinery.
After-hours, Spa! is somewhat surprised to discover, most of them are just ordinary guy-next-door types.
But,after-hours are few and far between.
Sure,you make pots of money and rack up all kinds of Experience-with-a-capital-E, but be forewarned:
the average working day is 17 hours long, and as for days off,one a month if you're lucky.
So why do they do it?
That varies,from the 21-year-old “image-club” employee who enjoys having naked girls for co-workers, to the 25-year-old “health”-club manager who was smart enough to recognize opportunity when it tapped him on the shoulder.
He started small,worked hard,aimed to please,and before too long was taking home 15.6 million yen a year.
Not bad for a guy who never got past junior high school.
Polling 84 male sex-industry attaches, Spa! finds 49 percent of them are in it for the money (average starting salary:431,000yen a month).
That,of course,doesn't mean there's no room in the field for philosophers both budding and jaded.
“It teaches you a lot about life,” muses a 23-year-old steward in a kyabakura - presumably a cross between a cabaret and a nightclub.
Adds a 32-year-old masseur.“In this job,you really get to understand the ways of women.”
Still,no philosophy nowadays is so abstract that it doesn't rest on a solidunderpinning of economics, and if there's an exception to that rule,the sex-play trade doesn't provide it.
Not that the economic laws governing the “floating world”are necessarily identical to those prevailing elsewhere - in the midst of across-the-board economic stagnation,for instance,the sex industry and its offshoots are brimming with health.
Every day,says Spa!,a new club,parlor,salon,soapland or what have you opens in “entertainment mecca,” Tokyo's Kabukicho.
This proliferation follows hard on the heels of the police's abruptly aborted “purify Kabukicho”campaign.
What caused the raids to stop so suddenly?
Spa! suggests AUM and the Hanshin earthquake,which gave the police other things to think about,may have had something to do with it.
Be that as it may,here's Koichi Yamamoto,27,waking up circa 9 a.m.to the ring of the phone.
Can the night really have fled so quickly?
Understandable after all -there was so little of it.
Four hours' sleep - on the premises - is the lot of an image-club manager,and Yamamoto,used to it by now, stifles a yawn,gamely picks up the receiver and takes the day's first appointment
(“I'll drop by around 1:30,be sure to set me up with A-ko-san.”)
The establishment opens for buisiness at 10 a.m.and keeps humming deep into the small hours.
How does Yamamoto feel about working 105-hour weeks?
The intensity of the competition thrills him,he tells Spa!,as does his 500,000-yen monthly paycheck.
One day he hopes to be managing his own establishment.
“My wife? With all the money I'm making,she doesn't mind if I don't come home,” Yamamoto says.
“For now,work is my wife.”(MH)