It was inevitable. I've always been intrigued by hosts, but I never really cared to go to one of their clubs. I love all things shady and beyond the fringe, but the thought of paying boys for attention never sat well with me because I am vain and uptight. Plus, I wasn't confident with my Japanese, so I thought I'd say something wrong and buy a $20,000 bottle of champagne or something. Anyway I ended up dating and befriending so many hosts and former hosts that after awhile there didn't seem to be any point.
Buuut I knew I had to go at least once. So the other night, a friend and I got dressed up and set out for the part of Kabukicho where the hosts prowl. We sauntered around conspicuously, making eyes in all directions. The first few advances came in broken English and dissolved into quick retreats. Whatever, wimps. Still, it didn't take long before a boy from Club Joker spotted us. He was the only one who came on energetically and checked our Japanese. Once he realized we could communicate, he turned on the charm full force and we followed him back to his lair. We were super nervous but he kept us talking and laughing with quick, flirty conversation and smooth moves. By the time we got to Club Joker we had gone from "We're just doing this to get it over with," to "OMG and after this one we can go to ANOTHER ONE!"
I'm wearing a kimono, writhing in the name-cards I received from hosts. It's like THUG LIFE translated to GIRL IN TOKYO. Hahaha. Anyway, for two hours we sat in a cushioned corner while a couple dozen boys came two or three at a time to entertain us. Apart from the first ten minutes with a couple of totally incompetent, presumably newbie guys who barely said anything to us, our experience there was flawlessly fun. It didn't feel phony or weird at all -- it felt like a fabulous party with extremely witty, glamorous hosts whose only concern was to keep us in the best mood possible. And now, in those terms, I completely understand the appeal of host clubs.
The most interesting part was seeing each host's angle. Some boys were lighthearted and cute -- one had a medley of perfectly honed adorable faces and poses just to make us go AWWW! Some were all jokes and wicked grins and kept us laughing. Some flirted and flattered and swooned over our beauty and charm. Some were just clever, friendly and easy conversationalists. They knew how to work together, too, and I think their chemistry and familiarity was largely what kept the atmosphere from feeling phony. I hadn't expected that. My favorite host was a blond who sat down near the end. As soon as I met his deep, concentrated gaze, my very tested and reliable instincts said this guy is sooo in love with me... The magic of hosts!
The best part was the bill. Host clubs always have a first-time special, usually 3,000 - 10,000JPY for 1-2 hours depending on the club. We thought we were paying 3,000 each for a two-hour, all-you-can-drink visit, but in the end, that was the cost for both of us! For the price of one expensive cocktail, I spent two hours guzzling booze with a bevvy of pretty boys bending over backwards to entertain me. Best deal ever?
IN CONCLUSION, I think host clubs are fab. I love that there's a place catering to female vice/desire that's clearly way more awesome than the sports bars, strip clubs, etc. that men have for refuge/comfort. If you speak at least conversational Japanese and are not a lonely person with an addictive personality, you should go to a host club. I'm pretty sure you can dig it.