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Host Club Hustle

JAPAN | Wednesday, 8 April 2009 | Views [14338] | Comments [1]

Host clubs Hatch and Feel, here in Osaka.

Host clubs Hatch and Feel, here in Osaka.

So Saturday night – or rather early Sunday morning – a couple of Western friends and I decided to visit a host club. For 3 of us (myself included) this was our first step into the dark and mysterious world of hosting but the last of our group had not only been to the club before but had her own host. Said host met up with our group at Royal Host (no relation to anything host club related), a sort of Denny’s-like restaurant, a little after 1am where we grabbed some food and hung out before heading over to the host club, called Hatch, here in Osaka’s western area around Dotombori.

 

Unfortunately the host forgot to mention that it was a big event night that they have once a month so there were lots of flowers, shiny helium balloons, and host boy suits which made my friend a bit upset as she hates event nights. After that evening I sort of understand why. While an event sounds like a good time to come visit a host club it is probably the worst time to go when you’ve never been there and have to designate a host before leaving because of how busy it was. Add in extra hosts from their sister host club, Feel, and you have a rather pretty party.

 

So we get led to the club by the host which was a rather interesting walk at 3am, which is the hosting hour, because there are so many hosts hanging out trying to pick up girls, especially on the Dotombori bridge. As we already had a host with us they all generally left our group alone but we could definitely feel eyes flashing over us again and again, probably because there was one host boy and four foreign girls. It was definitely a surreal experience.

 

We go into a building and see big TV screens showing the inside of the elevators we are about to take (no hanky-panky in these elevators!) to go up to the host club. Giving them our IDs we are then led to a table with our one host and out comes the obligatory host club book full of shiny professional pictures of all the hosts that work there. Somehow in the midst of ordering our first drink and having a different host stop by to say hello the book disappears unopened. Alas.

 

So the idea of the night was a sort of host boy buffet – you sit at your table and a variety of host boys come over to say hello and chat with you for a bit. Because of how busy things were getting we definitely didn’t get a chance to see that many hosts sadly. You might ask why this was and here’s the reason – champagne calls. Champagne calls are rather expensive and the hosts want you to feel really welcome so a group of them go over to your table and start dancing, singing, and in general making a big production of it. The lights dim and flash, as if you’re actually in a dance club, and the music level goes up so you can’t hear what anyone is saying and there is the obligatory karaoke song sung by one of the hosts.

 

During that time everyone else in the host club is having a hard time communicating and we four moreso due to a bit of language barrier. Admittedly I was the worst out of the bunch and I can still do simple conversation so our Japanese skills actually were rather decent, but it was still a pain because whenever we get a host to come over he has to leave again to go do a champagne call. I do want to say through that if you don’t speak any Japanese you might find yourself having a hard time there. Each and every single host that came up to our table told us in Japanese that they don’t speak English, which we assumed, and we had to assure them that it’s totally fine. We all speak enough Japanese and one of us was definitely fluent. So I would say having some of the language is a great boon when going to one of these places.

 

I’d say that throughout the whole night, which for us was 3am to 8:30am, we saw maybe up to 8 hosts and, looking at the two host club websites, it looks like there were over 30 hosts at the party that night. Quite sad. But again because it was a party most of the hosts were with their designated customers. When we left at 8:30 to close our tab all three of us had to pick a host before leaving but because we saw so few hosts that night it was rather hard to pick someone. I ended up with a cute little puppy dog of a boy who was only 18(!!) but was really fun and silly and kept us all entertained throughout the time he was hanging out with us so he seemed like a good choice. It didn’t seem to matter with him if we spoke any Japanese or not because he seemed to be having a good time drinking and making us laugh with his antics.

 

As for the tabs themselves, when it is your first visit to that host club it is rather cheap so you can leave there for a measly ¥3000 (~$30) depending on how long you stay and how many drinks you buy. We didn’t buy that many drinks – why bother when the hosts just leave really soon anyway? But if we ever go back to either of those two clubs again it will be a lot more expensive as our host will get a percentage of everything we buy so he’ll be trying to get us to buy as much as possible.

 

So anyway, with the tab settled all of our newly designated hosts come over, grab our purses for us, and walk us out into the bright sunlight of the morning sun. They catch us a cab and we say goodbye and head home for some much needed sleep.

 

The very next day I get a text message on my phone from my host asking what I am doing Tuesday morning and would I like to come back? *blush* *blush* *wink* *wink*  Needless to say I didn’t bother answering it (am I a bad person? Haha). While I wouldn’t mind going back to the host club for a go-round to see what it’s like with a designated host I don’t plan on making a habit of it and I have no intention of going to one of these clubs alone because it’s a lot more fun with some girlfriends at your table. So my poor host will just have to wait for the next time I feel inclined to go and then I’ll text him back.

 

All in all it was an interesting – if very surreal – experience, one that I will only be able to find here in the land of pretty lithe boys, bling bling jewelry and bags, and Hello Kitty.

 

Information about the sister host clubs can be found here (in Japanese only, sadly):

http://www.club-hatch.com/main.html (this was the club we were at)

http://www.feelosaka.com/header.html (this is where my designated host is from)

 

And if you’re interesting in learning more about the world of the hosts I’d highly recommend a documentary called The Great Happiness Space which takes place at a host club here in Osaka.

 

So there you go. Happy host hunting!

Tags: host club, japan, nightlife, osaka

 

Comments

1

What do you think of host clubs a whole? It's a pretty rough industry. The documentary was dead-on. There can be so much deception it drives people mad.

I posted my thoughts about host clubs in general. You can read it at:
http://www.mangatherapy.com/post/963839654/host-club-phenomenon

  Manga Therapy Aug 17, 2010 6:11 AM

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