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the great happinesss space

January 29, 2008

It’s a movie I rented to soothe a bit of the Asian fetish that I proclaim. I saw pretty asians, and I thought, hey, this could be a lot of giggly-sit-at-home fun. And it was a for a bit.

As with most documentaries, it was a series of revelations, unclothed moment after moment. The movie is about the “host clubs” of Osaka, Japan, namely the Rakkyo club, owned by a guy named Issei. Essentially, the host is a boyfriend you pay for. They service women, charge by the hour, and have a developed clientele. The atmosphere of these clubs is one of both a sensual date and a party all at once. It is a lifestyle for the men, who earn large sums of money, and spend a good portion of it purchasing fancy-schmancy clothes, accessories, all things to make them seem more attractive to the sensitive woman.

One of the first things revealed is that many people fall in love with the hosts. There are some ten women interviewed for the movie, and nearly all of them claimed to be in love with Issei. He openly admits that he knows this, and has to deflect them, as he could never leave the club, and getting feelings involved just makes things hard.

The movie is subtitled “A tale of an Osaka Love Thief,” which is the most apt title imagined. Issei admits that the men at the club are there to sell dreams of love and happiness to these women. That is what they are there for, why the clubs exist, and that is a natural and necessary function of society. Then he tries to pull one on you that they don’t want the women to go broke over them, but then you see few clips where the hosts recite their monthly salaries based on sales. The lowest was $10,000 a month. Issei himself claimed to make $50,000 in a good month. And then we see clips of the hosts persuading women to by another bottle of champagne.

The bottles of champagne cost in the thousands, all of them. The hosts talk about how some of the women will spend thousands of dollars a night. And to watch them drink this champagne is something Roman. They pour the whole bottle in a pitcher chilled with glowsticks, and chug it. They chug $10,000 bottles of champagne. It was shocking to witness these men coercing these frail Japanese women to purchase and drink three and four whole bottles of alcohol. Binge drinking seems to be part of the life. Issei admits he has to throw up a lot during any night, and he’s pretty sure his liver is dead.

But the majority of the clientele? Prostitutes. Ironic that the women who need to be happy are resorting to prostitution just to pay their Rakkyo bills. And most of the women interviewed attend host clubs all over Osaka, not just Rakkyo. They meet and fall in love with men all over the city, every day, blowing thousands of dollars a night. To hear the hosts tell it, they know that the women use them. That is why they are there.

And the hosts simply continue to serve in this function of creating an alternate reality where the women feel loved and befriended, and are not alone.

So, I wonder how good that must feel. Even when they admit to all the grief and regret you’d expect, they still get up every day and do it all over again. I don’t get this, mostly because I’ve never been one to dedicate myself to one task for very long. My lord, the way I bounce around my house. I never sit still.

What a world it is out there…

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3 comments

  1. There is SO much world out there, and all I can say is that I’m glad I’m ignorant of most of it. I’m not much of a head-in-the-sand kind of girl, but really, my head would explode if I knew too much. As it is, I sometimes worry that overload is imminent…


  2. “They admit to all the grief and regret you’d expect, they still get up every day and do it all over again.”

    *sigh* At least I don’t have to pay for it.


  3. 50K$ a month? Jeez! … I’m not sure I’d quit either …. at least do it for a while and then go retire someplace nice and peaceful. I suppose that’s just the capitalist pig in me.

    Although I agree with C, too funny ….



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