Join veteran host Sakura-san as he teaches his new recruit “Yua-kun” the ropes! First, a run-down of a typical day in Yua’s life:
11:00 a.m.: Wake up*
Noon: Go to the hair salon to get his tresses waxed, teased, arranged and sprayed.
1:00 p.m.: Go home and relax until it’s time to go to work
4:00 p.m.: Leave for work.
4:05 p.m.: Arrive at work. Do various chores before opening the club, then support Sakura-san entertaining clients until midnight.
12:00 a.m.: Every day is different, but even though 12:00 is “closing time,” the door may not swing shut behind the last customer until 1:00.
1:00 a.m.: Talk with co-workers at the after-hours staff meeting.
1:30 a.m.: Go out to eat and drink with co-workers
5:00 a.m.: Go home and sleep.
* You may have noticed that the a.m. and p.m. hours are switched on the Japanese schedule in the box above. That’s because hosts live a life that is 12 hours ahead of day workers, and they say, “Good morning!” to their co-workers at 7:00 p.m.rather than 7:00 a.m.
Okay, let’s see what happens during the hours Yua is at the club:
Yua starts his workday doing the scut work: wiping down the tables until they gleam to the manager’s satisfaction, setting up the first customer’s glasses, ice bucket, tongs and ashtray, and doing even less glamorous things like cleaning the toilets. His mentor advises him that even though these jobs are not exciting, if he does a good job, he’ll prove himself to the manager as a hard worker and will graduate to being a top-earning entertainer faster.
Okay, it’s almost time for the club to open! Before the first customer arrives, Yua must do a proper “aisatsu” to his mentor, bowing respectfully and asking Sakura-san to do him the great favor of teaching him the proper way to become a good host. If Yua diligently does everything Sakura asks him to do and thanks him properly for teaching him (even when Sakura scolds him for making a mistake), Sakura will return the favor by introducing him to his customers and helping him build a customer base of his own. Today Sakura will teach Yua how to light a customer’s cigarette. Sakura shows Yua how to flick his lighter to life, cupping it in his hand near himself so as not to endanger the customer, then light the end of her smoke with a graceful gesture.
Finally, opening time! Tonight Yua is lucky – he’s not being sent out to the nearby street to do “catching” duty, inviting girls into the club. Sakura introduces Yua to his first customer, and the new host practices what he just learned, taking care of the customer and his mentor with proper respect. He does his share of keeping a lively conversation humming along, then thanks Sakura’s customer for letting him intrude on their evening, proposes a toast to both of them, then gracefully exits to give them some time alone.
We’re left with the parting message that good-looking guys who think this might be the ideal job for them should know that the mentors at the sponsoring club (Top Dandy) will not only train them to become top-earning hosts in no time, the club also offers snazzy designer suits for rent until the nouveau host can afford his own, the job is flexible and hosts can get their pay at the end of every workday, they can make use of the hair-make stylist who comes to the club every day before it opens, the club will pay for singing and dancing lessons, the club will pay for all the hosts to go on vacation together (sometimes to foreign countries!), and if they make it into the top five earners, they’ll really level up to the big money, with bonuses on top of their salaries and a percentage of their dedicated customers’ bar tabs.
Fallen Angel readers often ask me what it’s really like to go to a host club. If you’re curious too, here are answers to the TOP TEN QUESTIONS ABOUT HOST CLUBS:
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!