A yawning well of boredom
Like so many of the stories, it all started with somebody saying: “This is really dumb, but let’s do it anyway and see what happens.”
Before getting to that crucial point of the night, let me give you some context. I was in Japan for five months, living in clean, sterilised, nothing-bad-ever-happens, Sapporo. I studying Japanese with the intention of, one day, starting a masters degree.
As is well known, Japan is a very safe country. Politeness and respect are everywhere — but real friends and adventure can be hard to find. Yes, Japan has its crazy ads, its manga cartoons with underage girls doing shocking things, but, behind that, in Sapporo at least, is a yawning well of boredom.
One day I decided I just had to to quench my thirst for havoc, so I went with my best buddy on a last tour of Japan to say goodbye to the country and, maybe, give it one last chance to surprise me.
… so we went to a maid café
It was night in Tokyo. My travel companion, tired, decided to call it a night and went back to his capsule room. Probably watching the porn channel behind the small curtain that acts as a door in every capsule. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do the same.
For the first time in five months, I would get to see a friend from back home as he was in Tokyo, visiting relatives. We met in Akihabara, the techno-geek neighborhood of Tokyo. We decided that we should do what all Québecois friends do when they meet up in Japan — we went for a maid café.
Maid cafés are bizarre places. Omocha café (Toy Café) was our choice. For us, it involved drinking a beer in a room arranged as a child’s bedroom while eating an omelette with our name written on it in ketchup. All of this while being served by a young Japanese girl dressed as a maid singing lullabies to us — two bearded guys.
Good start, but it wasn’t enough to quench our thirst for chaos in this country we grew to hate and of love at the same time, where everything goes round like clockwork. Shinjuku was our next stop. Kabuki Chou to be exact.
Robot-fighting, drugs and whores
For those who might wonder, Kabuki Chou is the number one entertainment district in Tokyo and, thus, of all of Japan. All you can drink/eat, hostess cabaret, strip clubs, casinos, bars, robot-fighting shows, drugs and whores.
If it’s considered fun by someone it’s there, somewhere in Kabuki Chou. Proud Québécois that we are, our first stops was an all-you-can-drink joint. These places, designed for Japanese who drink slowly and not a lot, offer them the opportunity to drink a few diluted-drinks and relax for a certain amount of time. For foreigners, it becomes a contest to see how many drinks you can get down in that time. You just have to annoy the waitress by ringing a bell. And annoy the waitress we did. And we got very drunk too.
Staggering out onto the street, we became aware of a disturbing fact. Every single person of African descent in the street was way too friendly. All of them wanted the best for us as fellow foreigners, and they all knew about a cheap cool bar with all-you-can-drink and lovely ladies. Obviously, it was a scam. Obviously nothing good could come out of it.
Here is the point where my buddy says: “This is really dumb, but let’s do it anyway and see what happens”. Following Shady Guy from Mozambique #7. We get into this kind of weird apartment building, pay 3,000JPY upfront and enter… the club.
We walked into the trap
The club was nothing more than a small really kitsch living room, with some bottles loosely arranged in front of a mirror and a sound system with flashing LED lights.
Fat-bottomed-Girl and Missing-Teeth were waiting for us, while Weird-Knife-Scar-on-the-belly was entertaining a shit-faced Russian in a corner, helping him clean his wallet of all unnecessary things, like money.
They then quickly poured us drinks and then asked if we can buy them a drink. Seeing the menu designed for drinks for the waitresses, where one rum and coke was 7000JPY, the answer was something along the lines of: “You can have the night off darling, we came for the all-you-can-drink, we’ll pour our drinks ourself.” And… it worked. We walked into the trap and managed to actually get only what we came for. If only… if only my bladder was bigger.
There I am, drinking past the point of no return and in serious need of a toilet. Problem is, the bar has no toilet. I get out, stumbling and hurry down the streets, too Japanese after five months to simply relieve myself in the streets. Dodging Mr Costa-Rica #5 and accepting help from Madagascar #3, I end up in another ‘club’, same as the first one, except it had a toilet and was completely empty.
After answering nature’s call, I tried to get out… only to find the door locked and, behind me. Suddenly a proper accredited Yakuza gangster appeared with two of the ugliest girls walking the face of the empire of the Rising Sun.
Here is Oniisan inviting me to spend time with his girls. Sorry dude, my friend is waiting for me, no can do, can you open the door please? I was drunk enough to be amazed by the fact that my Japanese was now quite good since I could talk to him. The time for rejoicing soon finished — the door was still locked and the guy was becoming more insistent.
As compromise, the tattooed diplomat with too much hairgel offered me an honorable way out. I can leave if I pay the entrance fee of 30,000JPY. Being the greedy gaijin that I am, I judged that my friend was taking the piss out of me and told him so and started banging on the door, quite panicked.
The Dragon’s Den
Now, for those not in the know, the Japanese language is pretty poor in terms of bad words. In fact, an archaic way of saying “you” is now the most derogatory term to label someone else and the equivalent of “shut the fuck up” in Japanese is translated by the expression literally meaning “it is noisy”. However, when shouted at you, by an angry mobster rolling his ‘r’s and pushing you around, I would say it is quite efficient. Almost as efficient as starting to call friends and flashing a knife, which the Dragon of Prostitution, did, just to make sure his point was understood.
At the point where the knife was shown. I decided 30,000JPY was an okay price for entering such a fine establishment and grabbed my wallet. The Dragon took it, decided to help me with my money and took 40,000 JPY before pushing me outside.
And my friend, where was he? After running around the city for an hour looking for him, I finally found him in a 7-Eleven, withdrawing money with a hooker at his side. We left the lady of the night and went for a nice bowl of Ramen.