Saturday May 19th and 20th: Awkwardness in Roppongi

Maybe it will be more entertaining to read about than for me to relive.

Okay, so… *sigh* This happened.

I ended up getting dragged out to Roppongi, a section I had no real interest in, but on the suggestion I wouldn’t need worry about the cost (oh, what a fool am I) I decided to go and observe a “never-wrong” retired Texan Marine and a real estate agent/would-be player from Singapore try their hand at acquiring temporary Japanese companionship (they were quite specific on the Japanese bit). I’m here at least partially to gain new experience, and observing such sounded pretty new to me, at least outside of scripted dramas.

And hey, the US Government would be picking it up via a retired marine, so, it couldn’t too bad, right? I mean, I was going to observe people who at least vocally can’t imagine a week without sex, regardless of relationship status (potentially with other people), nothing could go wrong.

Yes that was difficult to type.

We finally left around 11PM, making it from the second to last train onto the last subway of the night to get to Roppongi.

Figuring I would be about as odd as could be, I wore dark blue with my brown long coat (thanks pip!) and my red tie, almost Tenth Doctoring it up. Strangely, I actually got quite a bit of “Inspector Gadget?” that night. Until then, I had never had the comparison. Quite odd. Especially since I think he wore grey (watch as I don’t use a Google Image Search to confirm). At the end of the night, (well morning) a random guy gave me a “Nice Sherlock.” Guess where that guy was from? I’d love to say somewhere that wasn’t the UK. But no. I say that because I sure as hell don’t have that coat, so I guess I’m embarrassed for him? Not to suggest the coat I have isn’t amazing, because it is, however it is so not that one. Oh gods, I have a problem. I love coats. Not that it’s all that much a shock to most of you.

The one thing I didn’t bring was my camera, as I thought it might be troublesome, and really, taking decent pictures inside a club is next to impossible, still, I regret not having it to create an extra barrier, but… more on that later.

As for how the night went? Here’s a brief summary, I think I think GLaDOS sang it best, “That would be funny, if it weren’t so sad.” (This link is kind of spoilers for Portal 2 but gets right to the line, so be careful if you care.)

It took an hour and a half to even find a nightclub that we would spend more than 30 seconds in, avoiding those with low female ratios, clubs with had too many foreigners, places that were too crowded, and others that were outright prosti… er, “escort” bars. Prostitution is illegal in Japan, but enforcement is pretty lax, so bars will have stock “escorts,” available to them. It seems it isn’t always obvious which is a bar and which is… something else.

Wondering about, the leader of this expedition was the real estate agent who kind of knew the area. Unlike what I do, he actively interacted with the pushers outside clubs, often negotiating entry to simply scope out the club. Signs and pushers aren’t always clear as to their intentions, hence having to quickly exit from an “escort” bar.

We finally found a club worthy of entry, which of course had a cover fee, that wasn’t, well, covered for me. I should have known then how the night would go for my wallet. At least the cover came with one drink? That drink though, and the subsequent ones, unlike the horror stories I had read about Roppongi, were in fact, lightly poured. Probably 3/4ths tonic to 1/4th gin, I’m not sure there was ever even a shot of alcohol in any one drink. At least two of the three $10 G&Ts had actual lime slices in them?

We ended up bailing on the first one as it did end up far too crowded, which is saying something, as at least to me, everywhere was crowded. Granted my only experience with the club scene is Bootie Seattle hosted at Chop Suey. At worst, get gets fairly full, has many geeks (yeah, I needed a hair cut), and has ample hang out space not used for dancing. Which means I can just stand around, drink, and chat with friends while listening to good mashups.

The second club we were at until the trains started running again. Tired of being close by, I moved towards the bar where it was slightly less loud, and probably less smokey. Who knows? There were other advantages to this move as well. From the bar I could see the entire crowd, I wasn’t going to be yelled at for being in a VIP area, and if I really needed a drink, I could just turn around and pay the 1000 yen (only about 100 yen less than it would cost to buy a full bottle). At one point, the Texan did actually grab a drink odding out my night with a total of three. So at least he did pick up that. Thanks tax payers!

Another advantage of being near the bar, was that I was away from the subjects I was ostensibly observing. This way I wouldn’t interfere nor could I be made to participate in their antics. Also from this distance I couldn’t be made to hear their sexist complaints, which grew tiring quite soon into the night.

While many dance partners were briefly found, none were lasting for either companion. The guy from Singapore would later claim to have acquired phone numbers, but from my vantage point, I have doubts to the veracity of that claim.

The Texan did worse and, frankly, I understand. He doesn’t really fit the culture, for instance he was speaking loudly on the subway which is considered rude in general, especially in the subway… to top it off though, he was speaking loudly about World War II no less.

He’s technologically aware, hypothetically intelligent, and yet… I’m pretty sure he’s the kind of guy who would soon seem at home on some misogynistic website like Men Going Their On Way or Manhood 101. (No, I’m not linking to those. Fuck them.)

Add those factors together, mix in the “never wrong” bit and, uh, yeah. Can’t imagine why people weren’t flocking to him.

At one point I tried to ask the first DJ if he was aware of Bootie (via my cellphone), since he was playing mashups of American/English pop songs I figured there was a chance. Sadly, he was not. Truth be told I think he was more confused afterwards, oops.

While I was hanging back observing, I not only had to fend off a pair of girls who (at the least) wanted to dance, but then later a shy girl and her friend, the “troublemaker” who seemed to speak on the shy one’s behalf, encouraging her to act. The troublemaker informed me that the shy, and now embarrassed one, “likes me.”

*sigh*

I did my best to get across the idea that I wasn’t available for anything. I guess as a way to make sure, they held hands, directly in front of me, which at first I thought was just a “let’s go, move on” but very quickly they closed in. The shy one allowing her hand to be pushed towards my chest while I was against the wall.

What.

I’m pretty sure they couldn’t hear me say “Stop!” on account that I could barely hear myself say it and neither of them were leaning in to hear what I had to say on the subject. Oh, to be able to step into the wall, I mean I tried, but alas the weak force prevented me from doing so.

They quickly realized I wasn’t going to play along (and I’m sure that look of confusion mixed with concern and fear was very attractive) not quite as quickly as I would have preferred, their held hands finally transformed from an encroaching barrier into what I originally thought they were for and the two scampered off to another part of the club.

That was some kind of crazy awkward.

Right, so here I am watching two supposedly previously quite successful men attempt to hustle, I’m just leaning against the wall doing nothing, and… seriously? It still seems laughably absurd. Here I’m just trying to avoid contact, be that fly on the wall, watching others “do their thing” and… and… I end up being the one who has to turn down advances.

Would be funny, if it weren’t so sad.

At least it was a new experience?

We got back to the hostel at about 5 in the morning, finally ate at a cheap ramen place near the train station, and then crashed until about noon. The eclipse was now only 19 hours away.

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