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Today’s Japan Photo: Host Club ホストクラブ

I know after the post on Kyabakura キャバクラ, many of you folks are waiting for a post on the hostesses, but I will leave that to the weekends. For Today’s Japan photo, we shall make a trip down to the host club (ホストクラブ) instead, where female customers pay for male company.

http://alafista.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/images/march10/204.jpg

This photo was taken of a very interesting article on CNNGO, where the article interviews a photographer that has been helping to take portrait shots of these hosts, and from there bring us into the world of the male hosts.

Anyway here’s a description taken of Wikipedia that discusses what these hosts do everyday:

Male hosts pour drinks and will often flirt with their clients, more so than their female counterparts. The conversations are generally light-hearted; hosts may have a variety of entertainment skills, be it simple magic tricks or charisma with which to tell a story. Some host clubs have a dedicated stage for a performance, usually a dance, comedy sketch, etc.

Hosts are often an age between 18 and their mid-20s. They will take a ‘stage name’ (源氏名), usually taken from a favourite manga, film, or historical figure, that will often describe their character. Men who become hosts either cannot find a white-collar job, or are enticed by the prospect of high earnings through commission.

While hostess bars in Tokyo often have men out on the streets getting clients to come into their clubs, hosts often go out onto the streets to find customers (referred to as ‘catch’ (キャッチ), but these are usually the younger, less-experienced ones. A common look for a host is a dark suit, collared shirt, silver jewelery, a dark tan, and bleached hair. Recently clubs where hosts wear casual clothes have been increasing, but still the norm is the smart suit look. At these clubs there can be a 私服デー (shifukudē) or ‘own clothes day’ where the hosts can wear their normal clothes.

Pay is usually determined by commission on drink sales with hosts often drinking far past a healthy limit, usually while trying to hide their drunkenness. Because the base hourly wage is usually extremely low, almost any man can become a host regardless of looks or charisma (depending on the bar). However, hosts who cannot increase their sales usually drop out very soon, because of the minimal wage. The environment in a host bar is usually very competitive, with tens of thousands of dollars sometimes offered to the host who can achieve the highest sales.

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