Archive for March, 2008

Mar
12

Korea – revisited

Posted by on Wednesday, 12 March, 2008

French Press
I’ m back in neigboring Korea for a speedy visit, and it has been nearly nine months since I was here last. Unfortunately not much spare time this visit, but I’m still enjoying the change of scenery. Also, my living situation here in Seoul is vastly better than last year. I was stuck at mediocre (but good value for money) Best Western Gangnam, whereas now I’m over at the COEX Inter-Continental, which is a world apart, I can tell you that! Just consider a simple thing as the complimentary coffee – at Best Western, it consisted of two sticks of instant freeze-dried; whereas here you get a french press and three bags of fine coffee! Got to be honest here, it’s the first time I ever used a French Press, and I actually had to look up on the Internet how to operate it!!! (It was easier than I first thought.)

Our Korean office has also relocated from Gangnam to COEX and ais a definite step up from the old locale. It even beats our own office in Tokyo as far as stylishness – I’m a bit jealous! Have to try to get sent here a bit more often, I see….

Mar
05

Comeback – Reflections, Ponderings, Excuses

Posted by on Wednesday, 5 March, 2008

Hosts
OH – MY – GOD. I have not been logged on here and written anything in 5 months!! I was thinking the other day that I should end my 2-month hiatus, since in my mind I had not been inactive for THAT long. I was shocked then to learn that my recent post was made in September…. Geez. I’m sorry. It’s been an extremely hectic time for me professionally and a tiring time for me personally. I just didn’t have it in me to come up with anything interesting or fun to write.

However, I am going to make my best effort to come back. After all, Japan is a country where there is something blog-worthy happening every single day!

What I want to talk about in this comeback is “host clubs” (hence the picture… You didn’t just think I like to put up pictures of pretty boys here, now?) – a phenomena that, as far as I know, does not exist anywhere else in the world to the same extent as here in Japan.

What is a host club? Well, in short, it’s the male equivalent of a hostess club – a club/bar establishment where men to go be entertained by women whilst paying them insane amounts of money for drinks, food, presents etc. Yes, the host club is then the opposite, it’s where women go to get pampered and entertained by smooth-talking good-looking young guys, whilst spending insane amounts of money on drinks, food and presents…

I hate to generalize, but I think there might be something wrong in a society where a large part of the male population feels that it needs to let off steam, relax and get some attention from the opposite sex by going to a bar and paying for it! And I’m not saying prostitution here – hostesses are generally not prostitutes, as the teasing and general “untouchable” and “unattainable” status of the hostess is part of the allure. So, what happens then in a society like this? Well, there arises a need for the women to have something similar – they don’t get any love or appreciation from their husbands, so they need to get it from somewhere else, I guess. HOWEVER, and this is where the female psyche differs greatly from the male, I do believe (and looking at the few pieces of hard evidence that exists) that it is actually rather uncommon for a “regular” house wife or working women to go to host clubs – it is rather the hostesses from the hostess clubs who, in turn, need to get attention from males and let off stress. I have seen some estimates that around 85% of the clientele of host clubs are actually hostesses (or women from “related” industries). The remaining 15% then are “regular” women, although I would suspect that, since the prices are ridiculous, you will see that most of them are bored house wives of rich men or independent women who have made themselves a lot of money.

So, the sad thing about this is that while you see rich guys spending lots and lots of money on being pampered by hostesses, a lot of the money they earn actually go back to the men, since the hostesses in turn spend a lot of their income on hosts. Talk about a vicious circle for females in Japanese society. They just can’t get a break.

Why has it become this way? Why is it almost accepted for guys to go to hostess clubs and spend all their money which should have gone into household goods instead? Why don’t they get enough love and attention from their wives? Why do their wives don’t give them love and attention? Is it because marriage is forced upon them, and they have not really chosen their spouses? No, not so much anymore – perhaps in earlier times, and then it could be an explanation. Has that kind of behavior just grown roots in society and it has become “the way life is” ? I don’t know. But I want to figure this society out, even though I know in advance, that I cannot.