Trip to Tokyo this month, I've been here many times before but never for three whole weeks like this trip. I have a few notes on the place:
1) Women play RPGs over here! Go into a games store and check out the smelly back room filled with folding tables and cheap plastic chairs. There will be women playing RPGs in there! I watched one table of all women playing ‘Call of Cthulhu’ and they were loving it! Couldn't understand a word they were saying, I'm not employed for my ability to speak Japanese, but they were laughing and having a great time! And they were into it! They had all the books spread out, the DM had her screen up over her corner of the table, tons of dice, etc. Anyway, they weren't doing it on a lark - they were into it. And they weren’t the only women in the shop.
2) Japanese men are into some freaky shit - and I am too afraid to ask my local coworkers what the heck is going on because as the father of teenage girls I'm not really certain that I want to know!
And I'm not even talking about the naked XXX cartoons – I’ve known about that stuff for ages. Granted, I was NOT aware that even in respectable looking books stores the top floor (or sometimes the basement) is a cornucopia of naked cartoon girls, cartoon boys, furries, tentacle monsters, regular monsters, and OH MY GOD I’VE NOW SEEN ENOUGH OF THIS TO LAST ME THROUGH THE NEXT DECADE!
But no, what I don't get / don't want to know about / are the shops where they have racks and racks of pictures of Japanese girl's, kind of like 5X6 high school yearbook pictures, and the pictures all have a price tag on them. Imagine going into a Hallmark store, but instead of sappy greeting cards it is all pictures of girls in school uniforms. It just reeks of creepy. Super, super, super creepy. Heck, I can’t understand much of the local lingo, so it could be something totally above board and I would never know it! “Help out this young innocent looking girl by buying her school textbooks!”, but from the look of the store's customers - I'm still thinking it’s something super creepy.
3) Maid Cafes – aka Hooters for Nerds. Okay full disclosure; I haven’t actually been inside one - but I have stopped outside a couple to check out the crowd milling about waiting to go inside (thus I’m a lurker not a participant). Asking my coworkers about the cafes it does strike me as the same sort of scam to separate men from cash as used by Hooters. Attractive perky females in titillating costumes sell overpriced food and drinks to horny males. It’s the oldest scam in the book – I myself have fallen for it hundreds of times.
However my favorite Maid Cafe experience was not the cafes themselves but running across two ‘off duty’ maids in a fast food joint after work. Imagine having a job where you are forced to be un-naturally happy for eight hours a day. Then imagine how after work you would drop the act and revert to a more negative persona to bring some balance back into your life. These two maids sharing a serving of French fries in the Lotteteria had the body language and demeanor of two Hell’s Angels hanging out in a dirty biker bar! It was hilarious!
Oh well, time to get some more Sushi!
And if you know what's up with the stores selling picture of teenage girls - and it is something creepy - I DO NOT NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IT!
I love Japan, so I am trying to think happy thoughts.