Thursday, March 31, 2005

koshitsu video

This is a Japanese word whose kanji can be broken down the following way:

ko personal; private.

shitsu room.

The Koshitsu video is kind of a video store found in urban areas throughout Japan where one can rent pornographic videos, and watch them on the premises.

Upon entering the koshitsu video store, there is often a rack of non-pornographic videos blocking the view of the rest of the store from the doorway. Once past the initial facade, you will find a number of rows of videos broken down into categories. The patron selects the desired video, takes it to the counter and parts with his cash, usually about 1500 yen for a new release with a discount on the second or third selection. There is no need for a membership card as the whole process is designed to be annonymous. There is a partition from face level down to about five inches off the counter, so that the staff member cannot see your face. In front of the counter there is a mind boggling array of aides, from lubricants, to the famous used schoolgirl panties, down to what could only be described as the male equivilent of a vibrator, (only I don't think that they vibrate.) The panties are 2500 yen and come with a photo of the alleged original owner, in case you were wondering.

Once you have made your selection and have paid, you are given a small carry basket with your tapes, headphones, roomkey and some wetwipes. There is a map on the door showing the layout of the place. Inside the room, (which can be doubly locked from inside) you will find a leather reclining chair, a state of the art TV and VCR player along with a couple of boxes of tissues. You are allowed to stay for the total length of all the videos that you have rented.

On my number of visits at various times during the day (in the name of research of course), I noticed the different types of customers. During the early afternoon, there seem to be a lot of salesmen who appeared to be slouching off. The early evenings were full of salarymen ducking in for a quick one before they go home to their wife and kids. Late at night there were a lot of otaku, probably because you can get 12 videos from 9pm to 4am for 4000yen.

Most important piece of advice:
Bring a towel to place on the leather chair.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


A kompa is a drinking party popular among young people in Japan. Typically a guy brings a certain number of his male friends and a female acquaintance of his brings an equal number of her single friends.
The most common arrangement is three or four guys sitting lined up along a table adjacent to the girls.

By the second half of the second hour anybody with any chance of success should already be paired off with the person of their choice at one of the corners of the table.
Until recently a popular move by guys who were unable to obtain the phone number of the girl of thier choice (through shyness or general incompetence) was the "guess my phone melody" ruse. The guy-thinking he was quite slick- would get the girl to call his cell phone and see if she could guess what popular song tune would spew forth. The girls' number would then be recorded in his history of calls received. Girls eventually caught on.

When the time comes to pay, the guys rush to the cash register to pay (because that's the manly thing to do) while the girls make totally insincere gestures of trying to pay their share. The girls don't get to pay, unless the fact that one of them has a boyfriend has been revealed, then she will have to pay her own way.
After all, If she has a boyfriend, she has no reason to be there.

Monday, March 28, 2005

I'm a girl online

Whenver I go to the sex chat rooms on Yahoo I am a 26 year old Japanese girl. I have a couple of pics on my harddrive that look quite amateurish and when I am (invariably) asked for my pics, I dutifully send them off, much to the jubilation of the recipient.
I first did it because of the immense competition to get anybody's attention in those rooms. The change was instantaneous and profound. At first I wasn't quite prepared because I hadn't developed my new character yet and wasn't sure who I was going to be. However after a while it all came together.

I guess the attraction is that you can be the fantasy girl that you desire, and say exactly the stuff that you want to be told. I suppose that you sort of fall into the mind of the unwitting guy on the other end.

And it's true, even after it's all said and done, the guys are really nice to you. I actually feel a little guilty because it turns out this guy seems like a really nice person. He still thinks there is this hot chick in Japan who talks to him online and is willing to show her naked body to him. If I'm not careful he might fall in love.

Uh-oh, I have a sinking feeling that I just shared way too much.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Imagine looking out into the street and seeing total mayhem. A civil war being raged in the streets where it is brother against brother and nobody is safe. Drive-by shootings from the back of motorcycles and pick-up trucks. Huge canons being fired into crowds from the side of the road.

Now replace the bullets and blood with water; the screams of pain with howls of joy and you have Songkran (pronounced Songkan) in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.

For five days you cannot go outside during the day in Chiang Mai without being totally drenched. There are no taxis in Chiang Mai either, only tuk tuks and the crowds are always waiting to douse anybody they can. Everybody is fair game and people use all types of water conveying tools from simple buckets to water pistols to large canons to huge ice filled drums in the back of pick-up trucks.

The annual death toll from Songkran is also enough to fill such a short war. The official 2003 figures were 547 killed and 35891 injured, mostly from motorbike accidents and more often than not involving alcohol.

The origins of the water throwing derive from the age old custom of pouring water onto friends and relatives in order to bring good luck. Even today this custom is observed- not in the streets- but at home and is more widespread in the provinces. People will kneel before and pour scented water over the cupped hands of older relatives. The person receiving the water will sometimes recite a Buddhist incantation. After the water has been poured over the hands, the relative may then sprinkle some of the water onto the younger person's head to cool them. A white powder is also sometimes smeared onto the cheeks. A small amount of water can also be poured over the shoulders as a sign of respect.

During the holiday period people visit shrines and pour water over an array of buddist statues to bring good fortune.

There is a legend behind the Songkran festival. King Kabilprom was threatened by the charm and popularity of a man named Thammabal Kuman, whom it was reported could communicate with animals. The King summoned Kuman and posed three questions to him, announcing that if he could not answer them he would be be-headed. However if Kumom was able to answer the questions, the King would have himself be-headed. He had seven days to come up with the answers.
Kuman easily answered the first two questions but was pondering the third under a tree when a bird whispered the answer to him. Thus the king lived up to his word to have himself be-headed. Before he did so, he asked his seven daughters to take turns in carrying his head around the world once a year so that his subjects could gaze upon it. Each daughter has her own weapon and individual power and the day that the Lunar New Year falls on determines which daughter will carry the head each year. One daughter for each day of the week.