Sex in Shinjuku

I took a friend of mine visiting from D.C. to Shinjuku the other day. In my effort to be a good tour guide I was explaining what the different stores are. Signs of stores with boys for women, women for men, transvestite women for men, etc etc. Almost every other store in Kabukicho area is selling sex in one form or another. Girls come in all different themes to suite your needs, highschool girls, wives, maids, philippino, with beards, you name it you got it. There’s also pretty boys with lots of makeup on sale for the female customer as well.

I normally wouldn’t think twice about it, but explaining them to someone foreign made me think a bit about the sex in Japan.

Free Information Center, sometimes they have pictures of girls/boys

In Japan, there are “fuzoku” , “cabaclubs” and all different kinds of places to go for sex and company. A fuzoku is basically where you go to have sex — oral, anal, hand job etc, the goal is to ejaculate. A “cabacula” is where you go to enjoy conversations with girls.

The weird thing is that going to these places are not frowned upon. For example you could go to a “cabaclub”, with your colleagues, clients or friends. “Hey what are you up to tonight”, “Oh I’m going to a cabaclub with a few guys”. Is a pretty normal conversation on a Friday. erm, okay.

My idea of what ladies at cabaclubs look like

So what is it like when your colleagues hit the cabaclub after work? Japan ranks 101 or 110 globally in women’s inclusion in the workforce. There’s only 4% women in management, and while majority of women go to universities, they leave the workforce when they get married or have kids and become full time house wives. Quite a few don’t get “career jobs" on the assumption that they will soon get married etc, settling instead on not secretarial jobs that makes them attractive on the marriage market. This dynamic is weird and tragic, basically there’s a gaggle of women who are not financially independent and rely on their husbands to feed and clothe them.

My totally biased theory on what this means, if you are a male Japanese person — your average salary man, once you leave university (whopping 49% of 127million people are college grads both male and female), you only interact with three types of women. Your wife — whom you support financially, the ladies at cabaclub and fuzoku that you pay for, and perhaps the receptionists. Pretty much only women who you pay to be nice to you.

iPad app of receptionists, I associate them with strange uniforms

Of course this isn’t really true, if you are in your early 30s the chances of having a female colleague that is your peer is much higher. For me, in my 40s, I was the only person at my level and had 11 women more senior than me, and this is in a progressive company of 6000 people.

I exaggerate, but I sometimes wonder what it’s like to be a guy here. Imagine a life when the only female interaction is with robotic receptionists with funny nasal voices, spend your entire day at work with other men, only to finish the day at home with your wife or evening with women who you pay for. If I was that guy, would not know what to do with female bosses or colleagues that didn’t do or question what you wanted to do.

It’s sort of no wonder then, that with the government jumping up and down for women’s inclusion in the workforce they can only come up with hair brained initiatives. There’s a subsidy to promote women, $1,000 for every female promotion, never mind the time wasted in filling out forms and how she would feel to be a “subsidised” manager. None applied. There’s also initiatives to promote remote work, call centers so women can work with more flexible work hours, and return to work. I am arrogant and biased, but I am not sure how it would help to put more women in mass-low value positions.

We talked about all these things, checked out a few stores on the hunt for halloween costumes, found interesting dildos by the cash registers and finished the evening at La Jetee in Golden Gai. A former red light district, popular with 60s artists and intelligentia, now a slightly obsecure tourist spot packed with tiny bars.