Even though I still believe I'm an idiot with math, I find that lately I take great comfort in numbers.
I can use numbers to count down the days I have left until I quit this miserable job (my boss becomes more of an asshole by the day), count the obscene number of messages from the ex-boyfriend begging me not to leave him, or much more amusingly, I can count the number of new experiences I had in a host club before Valentines Day.
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. Quite a steal considering this includes a huge bottle of shochu or brandy. Most other places cost a basic 5000 yen.
The inside was MUCH higher class than Acqua, with lovely seating, tasteful decorations and very high tech screens (and a disco ball that comes down from the ceiling!). Even the "man menu" was much more exciting with a portable touch TV screen with internet access. Acqua only has a paper menus (yawn).
The place where Dios met it's downfall was the hosts we were given. I am sure they have many wonderful hosts, but we never met any of them. The guys who came to our table didnt seem to know how to make a conversation. There were lots of awkward pauses, blank stares, slack jaws, etc. This was not due to the language barrier as almost all conversation was done in Japanese. I found myself uncomfortable and bored with almost every host we got. We COULD have requested a host off the menu (I really loved playing with the screen. A portable, internet ready touch screen is COOL, I dont care what you say!), but we just decided to let whatever host was free come to our table. 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 length and success of the host means the more bling the business card is. Let us look at two examples expertly (haha) "photoshopped" (except 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 but even MORE anal and you've pretty much summed up Japan) This guy is obviously new. And while some may see that as the reason for no printing on the cards, let me remind you this is Japan and you can have new cards printed up in a matter of minutes. You dont have to order them weeks in advance. This guy is on PROBATION.
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, crap host or really new guy who cannot make a good conversation. Sometimes the guy just doesnt have the flash host personality either. 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 ciggie. 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 wont want to leave at the end of the night. He may even talk you into buying him that 8000 dollar bottle of champagne, or paying off his student loans.
Okay, I'm getting tired of writing, so I'll just do a quick recount of the Dios experience by numbers.
Number of boring hosts: 6
Number of interesting hosts: 3
Number of very risque, hilarious floor shows set to Japanese music and done in tights or bikini underwear by sweaty men in a slightly (or not so slightly) homo-erotic way: 1
Sightings of the "King of Hosts": 1
Number of times I wished we'd picked another club (after seeing the floor show): 0
To sum up, if you do decide to visit Dios, Choose a host off the menu who is pretty high up on the list (do NOT just let whoever is free come around. They are free because nobody wants them), go on a Friday or Saturday so you can enjoy the hilarious dancing and singing show, and dont be afraid to ask for another host if the one you have is boring you. I still think Dios gives you a better overall experience than Acqua (more professional, they actually dress up in nice suits, etc.), but the hosts you pick will have a big impact on your visit. Give it a whirl, but dont 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.