Foreign friends of mine frequently express boredom when shown snippets of the Japanese sex industry. This makes me very perplexed. Wherever you go, there are tons of beautiful women to choose from and they're there in the flesh!
To some extent, I understand how they feel. True blue soaplands are not as common anymore. In their stead are less savory establishments staffed by women from various countries. Things are still fine though in Kawasaki where proper soaplands exist and new faces making debuts is still something fans of bath play relish with glee.
Recently, I paid a visit to one such establishment. This was a strict high class soapland where appointments are strongly recommended beforehand. Thus, I first went to their website and picked a soap queen who met my fancy. Girls who make their debuts as soapland queens can be hit or miss at times though one who can't perform well generally vacate the premises rather quickly.
This was my first visit in many a year to the Horinouchi area of Kawasaki. Horinouchi is known for these types of brothels, but on this visit I noticed their numbers significantly dwindled compared to years past. If anything, even the brothels of this part of town are going through something of a recession.
My place of choice happened to be located smack dab in the middle of this area's soapland district. Whereas other soaplands and brothels down on their luck have resulted to hiring people to fish in customers wandering the streets, the one I selected was still above that. Due to this, I felt like it stood out even more. Did they really have that much confidence?
Their front desk clerk asked me if I even made an appointment. Otherwise, he was pretty polite. He took the time to explain the soapland's price structure and system and also reminded me that condoms are required to be worn.
I was hoping for a more traditional experience. Once upon at time the information and pricing structure was provided on a certain type of old-fashioned paper. This time around, everything was done on some sort of tablet. On the screen were shown the 5 women currently available for service.
“These are just pictures. I thought they'd line up for me,” I inquired.
He replied, “I can arrange that, but we require payment upfront.”
In other words, once you forked over money, cancellation was out of the question. Since I was already there and anxious to write something good for this piece, I decided to pay up. Soon enough, the women shown on the tablet came out for a lineup. Although I've been to brothels in foreign countries where this was the norm, the spectacle of seeing all these beautiful women lined up side by side was an overwhelming experience. One by one they came in and properly greeted me and one by one, they stepped out.
It was now time to make an important decision.
Written by Bunzou Nishino
(Translator's note: Yes, the famous soapland lineup usually does not happen in Japan. It may be shown in AV movies from time to time, but you'll not see it in person without asking beforehand. Also, as a foreigner it is said that entering soaplands is a challenge. This may be true to some extent. The Japanese still work in Japanese—in other words, if you speak the lingo, your chances of gaining easy entrance to brothels like this generally staffed only by Japanese women is a lot easier.)
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