Eating sushi off a naked girl: yay or yuck?

Nyotaimori

The Japan Times featured an interesting article by Brett Bull about nyotaimori (女体盛り), the custom of feasting on food served atop a [mostly] naked woman. Googling for images for this entry, I’d reckon a guess that the practice is far more popular overseas than it is in Japan nowadays, with specialty services popping up stateside and the infamy of the practice amongst people all around the world. A colleague whose job it is to entertain people from overseas on tech tours of Tokyo once commented that nyotaimori was almost always brought up by groups of businessmen, and how difficult it was to discover a place where they could experience the phenomenon. In the end he said he did discover a place that offered it — at a far more extravagant price then most would be willing to pay. Check out Jake’s quote in the article for information on how the practice has died out with the yakuza.

Nyotaimori: a Japanese tradition?

“Female body arrangement” may exist in Japan, but you’ll have to look underground to find it
By BRETT BULL (Special to The Japan Times)

For at least as long as nyotaimori ― the practice of serving sushi on the body of a naked female’s torso ― has been making inroads overseas, the media has been raising the same question: Where does the practice fit within the context of Japanese culture?
For an answer, one can turn to the 168-cm-long body of Miho Wakabayashi. Until last year, the 30-year-old’s bare stomach and limbs were adorned with fish and fresh fruit slices once a month at the Sleeping Beauty “happening bar” in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. (Such a drinking establishment is one in which customers engage in uninhibited intimate activities with one another.)
“It was a show promoted as a special event,” says Wakabayashi, who is also a part-time stripper, sometimes performing at the legendary Rokku-za theater in Asakusa, and an actress in adult films. “It was used as a kind of ice-breaker intended to draw laughs.”
Yet it is generally nonexistent today, she believes, “and because it is so rare, when the organizers of the bar announce they are going to do it, it is a good way to get more people to attend.”
Perceptions of nyotaimori overseas, however, are quite different. News stories covering the openings of nyotaimori enterprises from Florida to London over the past decade refer to it as a form of Japanese food culture and not as an underground activity ― a misunderstanding that has resulted in substantial resentment.

Read the rest here [via the Japan Times]

See also: Platter of the day [via the Japan Times]

Nyotaimori: a Japanese tradition?

“Female body arrangement” may exist in Japan, but you’ll have to look underground to find it

Special to The Japan Times

For at least as long as nyotaimori — the practice of serving sushi on the body of a naked female — has been making inroads overseas, the media has been raising the same question: Where does the practice fit within the context of Japanese culture?

For an answer, one can turn to the 168-cm-long body of Miho Wakabayashi. Until last year, the 30-year-old’s bare stomach and limbs were adorned with fish and fresh fruit slices once a month at the Sleeping Beauty “happening bar” in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. (Such a drinking establishment is one in which customers engage in uninhibited intimate activities with one another.)

“It was a show promoted as a special event,” says Wakabayashi, who is also a part-time stripper, sometimes performing at the legendary Rokku-za theater in Asakusa, and an actress in adult films. “It was used as a kind of ice-breaker intended to draw laughs.”

Yet nyotaimori is generally nonexistent today, she believes, “and because it is so rare, when the organizers of the bar announce they are going to do it, it is a good way to get more people to attend.”

Perceptions of nyotaimori overseas, however, are quite different. News stories covering the openings of nyotaimori enterprises from Florida to London over the past decade refer to it as a form of Japanese food culture and not as an underground activity — a misunderstanding that has resulted in substantial resentment.

Fuzoku Friday: Finding a job that's right for you (Part II)

Last week we introduced a few of the high-paying part-time jobs (高収入アルバイト) ladies take up to make some cash, and this week we’ll continue with four more career specialties:

Chat Lady

Chat Lady

Good for idiots: 2

No nudity required: 4

Work when you want: 3

Easy stand-by: 5

Calorie burner: 1

Payment: 1-star

Enjoy conversations with men, either over the internet as a Chat Lady or in a cafe as a Talk Lady. This isn’t a “service” job, and you can make money just by making conversation.

Continue reading Fuzoku Friday: Finding a job that's right for you (Part II)

Are the yakuza humorous? Comedian duo play yakuza for a day 苦笑い一杯

While the average Taro will cringe at the mention of the yakuza, it’s clear the culture and myth behind the organization still tickles the fancy of TV viewers in this clip from “HAMASHO.” Masashi Hamada, part of the well-known Downtown comedy duo, and rakugo storyteller/comedian Shohei Shofukutei are the hosts of  this a satirical late-night TV show that lead the pair around on various adventures.

(Editor note: I never realized that there is something kind of absurd about the in-your-face-out-in-the-open-ness of Japan’s yakuza problem until I did an interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.  I don’t think the boy scout comparison was so off…if boy scouts got badges for extortion, blackmail, and other criminal pursuits and they all swore absolute loyalty to the troop leader, the den mother, and had their troop symbols tattooed on their bodies… Jake)

An oldie but goodie, Hamada and Shofukutei take a fairly lighthearted tour of the yakuza world, dressed as a kumicho (gang-boss ie oyabun) and a kobun (follower ie child). It is not such a crazy portrayal of the old-school yakuza.

Tattoo artist Choshiro Nakano works on a gang member

In part 1, they visit horishi (彫師 – tattoo artist) Choshiro Nakano, who has been practicing the art for over 40 years. He’s currently adding some work on the side of a 29-year-old gang member, who says it took three years to do all the work on his body so far. According to Nakano, a full-body tattoo typically takes him four years to complete and costs upwards of ¥3 million yen. Traditional tattooing techniques are typically very painful, though the man in the video says, on a scale of 1 to 10, the pain of the tattoo he’s currently getting is only about a 3 or a 4. We also see Nakano’s wife’s full-body tattoo.

Continue reading Are the yakuza humorous? Comedian duo play yakuza for a day 苦笑い一杯

Fuzoku Friday

The fuzoku (風俗) industry, or sex industry, is an integral part of Japan’s underground economy and a multi-billion-dollar operation that is difficult to keep track of actual numbers because of the sheer size and continuously changing nature of the business. Estimates on the size of the industry have ranged between ¥1 trillion and ¥2.5 trillion, sometimes more.

Behind all that money are the workhorses, the thousands of Japanese women who get drawn into this “service industry,” attracted by the promises of a hefty paycheck for an easy job with a minimal time commitment. And indeed, these jobs appear to deliver, with some sex workers making over ¥10 million per year.

While there are a number of women who take up the trade looking for money to pay for their family, or for drugs, the majority of these ladies are working to satisfy a habit of a different kind — consumerism. For women who are looking for a lifestyle of posh restaurants, massages and manicures, and easy access to the season’s latest high-class brand goods, the sex industry is a viable option to earn a high income without the education, talent or long hours normally required for a high-paying career.

And how do eager job-seekers find work? Magazines, and most recently websites, have been pointing the way to open positions at sexual businesses of all colors. Printed to look like innocuous women’s magazines but with slightly suspicious cover text about how to boost salaries and massage techniques, these books can be found at convenience stores and pack in between glossy pages of makeup and restaurant articles volumes of information on sex work throughout the area in an easy-to-understand format.

Fuzoku job site

For this week’s Fuzoku Friday, here’s an example of an ad from the pages of “Lun Lun Work,” one of the most widely distributed and popular sex work magazines.

Delivery health ad

Type: Delivery health

Job: Companion

Age: 18 and over

Points: Paid daily, minimum salary guaranteed, starting bonus, private waiting room, home standby OK, dormitory available, childcare available, pickup available, alibi service available, moonlighting OK, 1-day trial OK, uniforms available

One of the largest in the Shibuya area

Start living a comfortable lifestyle

Fuzoku Debut Specialty Shop

Normal 18-29 years old women can make big bucks!

We offer the opportunity to make over ¥60,000 per day!

Perfect for autumn: Try a short-term part time job!

Qualifications: From 18-35 y.o. (no experience necessary)

Time: Open 9am-5am, start from 3 hours per day

Salary: From ¥35,000/day (paid daily in full)

Details: Wait for a call here or at home; no quotas or penalties; all registered employees receive bonuses; work when you want

Location: In a clean office building near Shibuya station!

Message: Tokyo XXXXX is a new type of delivery health service with four locations in Shibuya, one in Shinjuku and one in Shinagawa. Not only can you make more than ¥60,000 per day, but you can work safely in a stress-free environment. We also accept girls who are looking to get out of the business soon.

Information provided here is not meant to promote nor criticize the sex industry or sex workers, and is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only.

2 Channel Devotes A Thread to Jake and Tokyo Vice

In one of the mind baffling things to happen of late, the popular Japanese internet BBS and forum, 2 channel, devoted a thread to me and the book. I suppose that I have fans in Japan and it also appears that I have a lot of people, some of them yakuza, who strongly dislike me. However, it’s nice to see the conflicting theories and opinions about the book in Japanese.  It’s going to take some time for me to finish rewriting the book in Japanese and probably even longer to find a publisher in Japan who isn’t afraid of handling the book.

By the way, I was angered, a few days go, when someone posted my parent’s address on the thread, urging the Goto-gumi to pay them a visit. Not very nice. And also very typical of the low level of discourse that you often find on that BBS.

 

2 Channel
2 Channel

My favorite scratchings on the blog so far are the one’s accusing me of being a CIA spy, which I’ve heard before, but also allegations that I’m actually a pawn of the Yamaguchi-gumi top executives, paid off to get Goto out of the way.  I’ve had some unpleasant things said about myself before, most of them deserved, but I don’t think anyone has ever accused me of working FOR the yakuza before.  The person writing the blog did a nice job of collecting of what I’ve written in Japanese about the yakuza, about Goto-gumi, and what happened at UCLA. He’s also collected some supporting evidence and some of what others have written about the Goto-gumi and UCLA and myself as well. On the other hand,  some of what is attributed to me, I didn’t actually write but that’s okay.

If you read Japanese, you will find some amusing sections which recreate some of the more heated exchanges I had with Goto supporters and anti-semetic conspiracy theory loving bloggers.  It’s kind of a thrill to have that ultimate barometer of Japan subculture, 2 channel, actually devote a whole page to me and the book. I don’t know who put it up but thank you. どうもありがとうがございます。