Teaching Jobs Overseas International Employment for Teacher

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A Night in Tokyo
by Fosco Maraini

btn_red.gif (50 bytes)  Miyu, short for Miyume (Beautiful dream) rested her head on my shoulder and said in a raucous voice: "Neh, Mr. Guest, will you buy me a whisky? On ze rokksu. please. Oh, I am so thirsty!"

She was about 25 years old, dressed in a low-cut green gown that revealed just enough soft flesh to make one wish for more; and she had small, delicate hands that one could picture cradling a lotus flower. But there was something hard and ruthless in her eyes and around the mouth and every time she opened the latter she destroyed any illusion of virginal beauty by flashing too many gold teeth.

"Neh, Mr. Guest." she went on, "buy me a dish of fried prawns. Come on now, don't be such a miser."

 


"Tokyo is reckoned to have 80,000 hostesses."

 

For half an hour this Tokyo night club hostess had chattered about her favorite cars and perfumes. Now we had exhausted these subjects and it seemed that nothing else interested her except matters pertaining to food and drink. All around us, on circular sofas set in cozy comers, other girls were similarly engaged in light conversation with a variety of customers, mostly Japanese.

There must have been several hundred of them, some in Western dress, some in kimonos, nearly all of them elegant, superficially attractive and young.

There were also many teenage boys with delicate, white, androgynous faces serving as waiters. Tough-looking men with sinister eyes, uniformly dinner-jacketed and moving silently about the carpeted floor, escorted customers in and out, and supervised proceedings.

It has often been said that Tokyo needs few psychiatrists because it has too many hostesses, and viewing this kind of scene one begins to appreciate how the sofa in night club or bar may well act as a substitute for the analyst's couch.

Here, in a world strictly not for wives, the Japanese businessman unwinds and recharges his batteries by way of an evening of carefree conversation and ego-boosting female companionship.

And it is a measure of the therapeutic value of such diversion that the employee's kaisha company more often than not foots the bill.

Traditionally, the geisha (cultivated person) fulfilled this soothing function. But the geisha is sadly on the wane in Japan; her services are far too costly, too esoteric and exquisite for our rough materialistic times.

Moreover, such a delicate flower of supreme refinement the end-product of years of painstaking education and training could never be cultivated in sufficient numbers to meet the demand in an overcrowded metropolis such as Tokyo.

Millions of Japanese men would dearly like to escape the frenetic hustle and bustle of city life and briefly enter the cultured oasis of a genuine geisha house. But that is essentially a rich man's luxury, now, far beyond the pocket of the average Tokyoite.

Quality has been totally sacrificed for quantity: and to serve the hoi poll, tens of thousands of hostesses have taken over.

Tokyo is reckoned to have 80,000 hostesses. In no way are they to be confused with that rare orchid, the geisha. Virtually any girl can become a hostess, irrespective of looks, charms or social status. She may be a crypto-prostitute or a genuine virgin, even have a husband and children. Some are charming, some witty and intelligent, some read books and appreciate good music.

"Beautiful dream" again rested her head on my shoulder, again flashed her gold teeth, "Neh. Mr., Guest." she sighed. "the prawns were good, so good. But how, can I digest them without another on ze rokksu'?"

It was time to be leaving. We had only come to this Tokyo club because one of my friends had hoped to meet a superior hostess, called Yoshiko, whom he particularly liked. But Yoshiko no longer worked at the club, and so we were just three more casual customers, sitting prey to vultures masquerading as delicate butterflies.

We took our leave, piled into a taxi, and crossed half the city in search of more animated night-life. It was midnight now! and that really is the middle of the night in Tokyo the streets wide and empty.

Some establishments serving food as well as drink remained open. But most bars were closed and the dance halls had long since played their last waltz or rock number.

Suddenly we began to see people again lights, traffic, crowds of sake- warmed revelers. "Ah, here we are in Shinjuku," said Carlo gaily, as though welcoming an old friend, Shinjuku, once a frontier town of Edo, is now the real Fuyajo ("Nightless City") of Tokyo.

It is a sprawling district of coffee shops and parlours for puctiiriko players endlessly flipping ball-bearings into metal cups marked "win" or "lose". The only sure winners here in the very late hours are the pakuza gangsters ever busy with their protection rackets and various illegal spin-offs.

Finally, after Carlo had dragged us around more drinking dens than I care to remember, we had our last sake and headed for home.

As we drove off by taxi, my eyes wondered up to the tops of a cluster of new skyscrapers rising majestically above the warrens and disorderly shacks. Fifty storeys up in the sky there was definitely a premonition of dawn.

Were those towers, I wondered, a vision of the Tokyo of tomorrow? Perhaps.

 

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