Many of the girls have gone back to Japan either to visit or because their permit has expired, so I have been coming in to fill up the quota for the past few weeks, one of which was to help out Mariko. On one of these nights, I met Steve, a “businessman” from Hong Kong. Like all, Steve has been a long-time client, and has become on familiar terms with the owner. However, within a few minutes of meeting him it became clear that he was one of the few with real means to boast. I first met him when he came in late after a long day of work in the “bad business” he runs. That night, he dropped by with the sole purpose of spending money to repay the $700 dinner with the owner the day before. My encounter with him gave me the impression of a man whose easygoing attitude was backed by his affluence. The man was evidently bored, and came honestly for the purpose of wasting away money; he adopted a laissez-faire attitude with the girls, which agreed with all who were more than happy to take advantage of his generosity. Mama monopolized him whenever she sees him, and the girls who were called in generally did little other than drinking and providing their physical company. Despite obvious boredom, he was agreeable and clean with the girls, so I liked him. Too bad he was usually too tired and too bored to react to much stimulation @.@
Ami called me to join her and Kou [?] to meet with a group of Japanese-speakers. I thought it was strange that Ami made a specific point to tell me that it was an all Japanese-speaking group, as most of our clients are Japanese, but I soon realized why she issued the specific warning: The trio were Caucasians who want the full-Japanese experience. As much as I hate to admit it, the second I saw them I had a queasy feeling that they were of the Asian-seeking type. I feel awful for thinking this, but growing up I never suspected that the Caucasian boys who liked me were motivated by my race – that is, until I entered university and suddenly found myself becoming the object of fantasy of fanatical Caucasian males who were, to put it mildly, not at all shy about their fascination with “all things [enter East Asian country]”. After years of fending off advances from these strange men, I have reluctantly developed a sort of radar sense for men with said racial infatuation, which has yet to fail me. Unfortunately, that night, that group triggered my sense again.
There were two middle-aged men and a youngster in the group, of which the latter was a fresh graduate of my university and even double-majored in my area (though thankfully/ironically I was not recognized). They were led by Mike, a long-time, devoted regular whose loyalty to our 店 (mise/establishment) was so well-known that a special manual called “Mike’s book” was created just for him. He showed obvious interest the moment I presented myself before him, as he was fascinated with the novelty of my being. Thankfully, I knew just what to do to avert his attention. He was fluent enough, despite heavy accents, and ran me down with the usual screening test men like him are known to do. I answered truthfully (on the most part) but in clumsy Japanese and made an effort to emphasize my “Canadianess”. The Canadian ruse and the flimsiness to which I wielded the language worked like a
charm repellent as expected, and he soon turned all of his attention to Kou, the “authentic pure-blood” who had just arrived from the great land of the rising sun and could barely speak a word of English. To avoid attention from his friends, I assumed my porcelain doll presentation or used English whenever possible. It helped because his friend, who despite just returning from Japan, could speak very little of it. The uneasiness I felt stayed with me the entire time, and I was glad to find several dead fruit flies in their beer, because that would mean I could leave to tell the bartender to exchange for another one. I was never more relieved when Mike went away temporarily with Kou on their own little entertainment, until I heard him belch out 世界に一つだけの花. “Sekai ni hitotsu dake no haha/The only flower of its kind in the world” is SMAP’s (a famous, long-standing Japanese “boy” band) most famous single and an incredibly well-known Japanese song. The song itself is nice (though to be honest it has already been sung to the death given its popularity), but Mike’s rendition made me feel the poor song was butchered all over again. Apparently, he sang this song every SINGLE time he felt high.
When Ami left to the washroom, her client turned to me in an attempt to make conversation. Knowing that I was still in school, the fresh college graduate eagerly shared insights into what made high school different from university and gave me tips on how to make the most out of my college experiences. I simply nodded and smiled~ Later, I could not help but post this incident on FB, and my friends made a riot over it. After all, not only did this fresh graduate not recognize me, but had also mistaken me for a first-year. A friend who is very much pro-equality scoffed at this behavior and pointed out how this could have been avoided had “disconfirming questions” been asked. As for myself, I took it as a praise for my youthful appearance and was glad it happened, as it made my night 🙂
My respite came when Mike’s friend received a text from his Japanese wife about their fussy son and so he had to leave. Because he was my main client, I was told to return to standby after I do the usual parting ritual. However, I was in such a hurry to leave that I actually skipped it and simply bid the group goodbye.
I was polite and stupidly sweet the entire time, but knew that I could have put in more effort to provide better service to Mike’s friend. He had more of an appreciation for Japanese culture and less of the fanatical obsession that made some non-Asian men notoriously creepy, but despite this I still could not overcome the tinge of revulsion that surfaced as soon as Mike showered me with his strange enthusiasm when he thought I was a new girl who just came from Japan as well as the nausea that arose when I saw how disappointed he was when he was made to think that I was a Canadian-born who only spoke English. He was not overtly rude nor lewd like some of the Caucasian clients who would grope without shame, yet the stark contrast in his attitude and his behavior for the rest of the night clearly signalled racial discrimination, which did not sit well with me. I think I have to talk to Ami about this, or at least let the girls know about being more discreet and careful.
With no other clients coming in for the night, I spent the rest of the time at work watching my favorite cooking show and listening to the girls gossip about clients. At one point I overheard some of the girls whisper how cute I was, which made me blush >.< It was a nice ending to the night ^o^