Sitting here right now eating some molasses-flavored pocky-like biscuits that my host sister brought back from her trip to Okinawa, bout a month ago. They are damn good. The other cookie that I have stashed away in my room is called “Shiroi Koibito,” which I think translates into “White Sweetheart.” Koibito is like sweetheart, or girlfriend, or boyfriend. It’s a white-chocolate cream and shortbread sandwich cookie. It’s not gender-specific, unlike “Pocky for Men.” Hey, that’s the name of this blog. But seriously folks…
I don’t think there are any comedians who use “…but seriously folks,” without irony. But really, what lots of comedians seem to do now is just to do a long, drawn out “uuuuuhhhmmm…” as a transitioning device. Usually after a one-liner. Bout the same thing. Anyways, “uuuuhhhhmmmmm….”
Speaking of Shiroi Koibitos, mine is showing up this weekend. We are set to stay in Shinjuku, in the infamous Ni-Chome area of Tokyo. I don’t have any pictures yet, but I will be sure to get some soon. Ni Chome is Tokyo’s gay district, boasting somewhere around 250 gay bars in the district. The district is only about three blocks. So, wrap your head around that number. It’s quite hard to imagine by just strolling through the district. It’s only when you look up that you start to notice the many different signs, stacked one on top of another, advertising for each bar. And, from what I’ve been told, these bars cater to different “scenes.”
Another thing I’ve been told is that many of these bars only seat a dozen people at the most. And…many of them only cater to Japanese. No Gaijins allowed in many of them. And many are gender-specific: no dudes allowed in the lesbian bars and no ladies in some of the bars. Either that, or there is a large cover charge for women. However, the Gaijin bars are for everyone, gay and straight. And you can tell those bars: the crowds spill out onto the street, yet another remix version of Cher’s “Believe” is blasting out the fucking door, and all the guys are wearing designer denim and have scultped hair.
Me and another Oregon student (one of the ones stranded with me in the California airports) went to Ni-Chome last weekend. He’d been there already five weekends in a row, staying out till it was time to catch the first train in the morning (5:00 am), but this night was relatively mellow; both of us caught our last trains back (around midnight) to our respective home-stay abodes. While we were there, though, I had him show me around a bit. This pretty much included just scoping out the scene from the outside since many of the bars have cover charges.
We did go to one bar, though, called “Dragon Men.” It’s totally a Gaijin bar: the waiters are not Japanese, and they take your drink orders wearing nothing but designer boxer briefs. The Gaijin bars are full of foreigners and the Japanese guys who are into them. That works the other way around, too. I might even say especially so since many westerners tend to be a bit more aggressive in their approach. My friend had mentioned that there is definitely an element of old white unattractive dude scoping out his young prey, and yeah, that’s exactly what I saw. The guy who has the Asian fetish. Of course that usually means the young, boyish-looking guys who look like they’re fourteen and submissive, not really the muscular, gym- types. I found this to be part of that theme I had wrote about in one of my previous posts. My friend had mentioned that he felt the same way, almost as if this sort of behavior is a byproduct or remnant of a colonial past. Again, Edward Said’s “Orientalism” in a modern context.
My friend has friends all over Asia, and in talking with them he’s noticed that trend that it’s always rich white guys looking to play the role of sugar-daddy, making offers to young guys in the Phillipines or in Thailand. And not just “hey, wanna fuck?” but more like, “hey, wanna be my possession?” With that said, the same could possibly be said of Japanese businessmen in the Phillipines and in Thailand — countries that were colonized by Japan during the war. Bangkok’s “Soi Cowboy” district, from what I’ve read, was basically set up as a “relief district” for American military guys during the Vietnam War, so that they could at least go to Thailand and have the most uninhibited sex ever. This goes for both straight and gay, by the way. The trend continues to this day, but with businessmen visiting Soi Cowboy and getting it on with a ladyboy.
So yeah, Ni-Chome is, at the very least, fun for people-watching. I’ll be sure to report any new findings in the area when I go there next. That is only one of the places we’ll be heading to, of course. I got the weekend planned for a little Tokyo tour with lots of oishi fucking food and main attractions, like the Shibuya crossing, known as the “scramble,” which is still in the Guiness Book of World Records for something like most-people-ever-to-cross-the-street-at-one-time. Seriously, you ain’t seen nothing yet until you see that shit during rush hour. I haven’t even been there on a weekend evening, which I’ve been told is even more of a spectacle. The Starbucks that overlooks the crossing is also the busiest Starbucks in the world. From what my host sister said, they only have one size because they are too fucking busy. I don’t know if that also means that they have limited options on their menu, but I imagine so. I think you have to tent outside the night before if you want a table to sit at. “uuuuuhhhhhmmmmm….”
On a completely different note, this morning in my Japanese language class I saw something I’d never seen before. It’s a pretty common sight to see students with their heads down on the desk, napping ever so briefly, just before the class begins. Our teacher was doing it, though. I was there before her, so she came in, said “Good Morning,” answered a question I had, saw another student come in, seemed to be working on something, and then when the next student came in he had a smile and a sort of confused look on his face and then pointed in her direction. And yeah, her head was down and her hair was spread out all over the table. It was the way that drunk people sleep on tables or hard surfaces. And the next student to come in noticed too, and tip-toed into the room. She finally woke up after about ten minutes and then just went right into the lesson. I guess it’s not that weird, but it was pretty funny. It was a very human thing to do, but nevertheless I was holding my face in a way that didn’t reveal how much I was laughing.
By the way, Mr. F (@ Omnicollective), I wrote this post while listening to the ambient mix you sent. This post took as long to write as the mix played, which is to say that I’m a relatively slow writer, but wanted to let you know that it was great. I could hear the Woob influence. I barely noticed that the time went by.
Oh, and one last thing. If you ever find yourself in Tokyo for late night drinks, be prepared for the cost of a night out at one of these bars. My soft drink, my coca-cola in an eight oz. glass with ice cubes was 600 yen. Basically, my watered-down coke from a bar gun cost me about $8 or so. There was no fucking alcohol in it! I got played like a Ni-HOme. “uuuuuhhhhhhmmmm….”