I've been to Tokyo two times previous to this trip but because I was travelling with my family the first time and the second time with my boyfriend, I missed out on the chance of going to one. They say third time lucky. This time seeing as I was single and travelling with my best friend, there was no way I was missing out on the opportunity!
During my teenage and J-pop fan girl years, I imagined the Japanese hosts to look like Yamapi or Kamenashi.
Kame aka Kamenashi Kazuya from KAT-TUN
Now, being considerably older, my taste in men has obviously changed but, hypothetically, if these Japanese hosts really did look like Yamapi or Kame, I really wouldn't mind at all!
Yamapi aka Yamashita Tomohisa
Prior to our visit, we were advised by our Japanese friend to do some research online. He said we should go to a club with a higher average of good looking hosts and to avoid the clubs with a big discrepancy between the number one host and the rest. He also advised us not to trust the billboards as it's cheaper to change the pictures of hosts on the internet than the billboards! However, after extensive research on the internet, we were extremely put off by the pictures we found of the hosts and nothing appealed to us.
source: google images
source: google images
In the end, we decided to wing it and go with whichever host was more charming and could persuade us to visit their club. So after dinner and a day of shopping in Shinjuku, we headed to the infamous Kabuki-cho; the entertainment and red-light district of Shinjuku. My bestie had no interest in visiting a host club but was obliged to accompany me on my first host club experience. Safety in pairs, they always say.
Straight away, we were approached by a host. In my opinion he wasn't very good looking and looked quite young. That aside, he was very friendly and charming and made us feel comfortable enough to go to his club. He promptly called another host, Pierre who came down to escort us to the host club. We were led to a building and into an elevator and up we went to the eighth floor.
Because we were first time customers, the price was 1000 yen per person which gave us an hour with the hosts and a cheap bottle of plum wine each. The rules were explained to us and were told we had to pick three hosts. We were not allowed to see them in real life and had to go by photos on an iPad. Each host we picked came out accompanied by two others and they rotated like that until the one hour is up. It was a simple enough process.
As we were flipping through the iPad, we found that the hosts looked extremely young. In our indecisive state, we wanted to explain to the man that we found the hosts unappealing as they all looked fairly young and for some reason, I was quite sure that the word "young" in Japanese was yowai. So I proceeded to call these men yowai as I flipped away. Well, you can understand the confused looks that we were garnering if you realise our blunder! Yowai actually means "weak" and the whole time we were (in our minds) saying these hosts were young, we were actually saying they were weak! That was a hilarious language blunder!
Once that was sorted, our hosts started joining us. Some of them were very socially awkward, most were not good looking at all and we just wondered how in the world did they get this job? As the night progressed, it just got worse and worse and we felt more and more uncomfortable. My favourite host, Pierre, who was the most charming and good looking, continually tried to persuade us to buy more drinks and spend more money. And we knew that we would be charged extortionate prices for these drinks that were not of good quality so we resisted. When it was evident we weren't going to buy any, he quickly lost interest. This really annoyed me because I felt like he wasn't genuinely nice or wanted to make conversation. All they wanted was to make money off us which made us feel like cash cows.
It was an interesting but very disappointing experience. I'm sure if we went to a really good club with very good looking hosts that are charming and nice then it would been a much more enjoyable experience. But in saying that, I'm not willing to spend hundreds of dollars in a night for fake, good looking company. Nonetheless, I'm happy to tick this off my bucket list because it was an interesting culture experience.
Host Clubs; Only in Japan! Please feel free if you have any questions about host clubs or comments about your experience at a host club! We would love to know how other people found it!