May 10, 2013
Visit to a Host Club #2
Yes, it was my second foray into the glittering, mirrored world of host clubs.
Several months ago I read an article in some financial magazine (maybe Forbes?) in which Reiji, the "king of hosts" gave an exclusive interview after opening his club (Player's Club Dios) in Roppongi. The club sounded pretty good, so GEG and I went there to check things out.
This club is by far the cheapest one I've seen (for first timers). If you mention you saw the home page, you get two hours for only 3000 yen. (Update: It now seems to be 2000 yen) Quite a steal considering this includes a huge bottle of shochu or brandy and a parade of hosts. Most other host clubs cost a basic 5000 yen. The inside was MUCH higher class than Acqua, with lovely seating, tasteful decorations, very high tech video screens, and a disco ball that comes down from the ceiling! Even the "man menu" was much more exciting. They were all portable touch TV screens with internet access. Acqua only has beat up paper menus.
The place where Dios met its downfall was the hosts we were given. I am sure they have many wonderful hosts, but we didn't spend most of our night with them. The guys who came to our table for the majority of our time there didn't seem to know how to talk. There was no scintillating conversation. No sex talk. No compliments. What there was a lot of was awkward pauses, blank stares, and slack jaws. This was not due to the language barrier, as almost all conversation was done in Japanese.
More after the break...
I found myself uncomfortable and bored with almost every host we got. We got one who spoke English and had studied in America for two years, but he lost points immediately when he joked in Japanese to a coworker about getting a "free English lesson" from us. My friend and I were not amused. We're there to be entertained by YOU, not to be a free Eikaiwa class! This also screwed his later attempts to get my contact information and become Facebook friends. He pressured me all night claiming he'd just moved back to Japan and "didn't know anyone in Tokyo." You can imagine how well I bought that story.
I suppose we brought our fate of boring hosts on ourselves. We could have requested a host off the menu, but we just decided to let whatever host was free come to our table. Pictures and blood types aren't really enough to make such an important decision on. If you've read my earlier post on host clubs, you'll know that once you designate your host, you can't go back and ask for another one.
The floor show on Friday and Saturday nights more than made up for the lack of host skills, in my opinion. We had a hilarious show with choreographed dances to J-Rock and J-Pop. I laughed out loud when a rather rotund host stripped down to his skivvies and dances to X-Japan's Kurenai. They obviously put some time and effort into these shows, so I recommend trying to catch one if you want to go.
Near the end of our night Reiji himself came to our table and asked us to pick a host. Neither GEG nor myself had really been impressed with anyone we saw, so we just pointed at whoever was next to us. It's a shame that it wasn't until the very end of the night that we got anyone interesting to talk to. We ended up evading requests for our cell phone numbers, and promised to text using the business cards we were given. We ended up with about 5 hosts seeing us out, which was nice, and we ran off to catch the last train of the Hibiya line for the night.
As far as I can tell, only one host we got had been there for over a year. Their business cards gave it all away.
This leads me to my theory (one of many) on host business cards: the longer the career of the host, the more bling the business card. Let us look at two examples expertly "photoshopped" (in microsoft paint) by yours truly:
Now the first one obviously belongs to a new guy. Do you know how sad it is to get a handwritten business card here in Japan, the ultimate capital of business cards? Think the business card scene of American Psycho and you've pretty much summed up Japan. This guy is obviously new. And while some may see that as the reason for not having printed cards, let me remind you this is Japan and you can have new cards printed up in a matter of minutes. You don't have to order them weeks in advance. This guy is on PROBATION. Until he proves he's a money maker, he won't get his own unique printed cards.
This card is obviously the belonging of a popular host because it fairly bursts with the bling. Not only is his picture on the back (the others just had a map), but it has this trippy holographic design all over it too. Fantastic! These are the kind of cards I wanna get all night! Unfortunately, it was hard to photograph the design, but I think you get the basic idea.
So, to sum up:
plain card = boring host or really new guy who cannot make good conversation. Sometimes the guy just doesn't have the flash host personality. From experience I can tell you he will be no fun.
flashy card = the money! He will ooze charm, talk dirty, wipe the condensation of your glass, and whip out a lighter the moment you even think of lighting up a cigarette. He is the kind of man every girl wants when you go to a host club. He will be an expert at wooing you and you won't want to leave at the end of the night. He may even talk you into buying him that $8000 bottle of champagne, or paying off his student loans.
I'll just do a quick recount of the Dios experience by numbers.
Number of boring hosts: 7
Number of interesting hosts: 2
Number of very risque, hilarious floor shows set to Japanese music and done in tights or bikini underwear by sweaty men: 1
Sightings of the "King of Hosts": 1
Number of times I wished we'd picked another club (after seeing the floor show): 0
So, if you do decide to visit Dios, try to go on a Friday or Saturday so you can enjoy the hilarious dancing and singing show. Don't be afraid to ask for another host if the one you have during the trial period is boring you. Remember that once you designate a host, you're stuck with them. I still think Dios gives you a better overall experience than Acqua (more professional, they actually dress up in nice suits, etc.), and I think it's a good bargain for someone who just wants to give host clubs a try. Give it a whirl, but don't say I sent you. There is an eager little English speaking host just waiting for me to put him on my Facebook friends list. It will never happen.