Weighing in at 55kg plus hair, in the Blue Corner...

Apropos of nothing, here is the website of one of the brothels that operate in my local suburb, Kado Ebi. I walk past this brothel (actually, it’s a soapland) on my way to my favourite restaurant, Bloomoon, or when I’m passing Kichijoji’s hammock cafe[1]. It says a lot about the attitude towards sex in Japan that a brothel can be situated opposite a fashionable cafe for dainty young women. I suppose it also says a lot that the brothel has a website, multiple branches, a search facility to match you to your favourite “princess” (including by blood type), pictures of the inside of the brothel on the website, and an announcement saying that the brothel doesn’t employ kyakuhiki, that is, touts. This is what happens when you decriminalize sex work (I think in Japan all forms of non-penetrative sex are completely legal as sex work, though I could be wrong about this).

But what really confuses and intrigues me about this soapland (besides the name, which I think means “corner shrimp”) is that, in addition to providing the much-needed service of an all over body wash and wank for 6000 yen (about$US60), it also has a sign out the front advertising its boxing school. That’s right, this soapland is running a boxing school, which is somehow connected to the soapland and is advertised via a sign on the wall outside: “We’re looking for students!”

Who thought it would be a good idea to connect their boxing school to a brothel? Is it a school of fighting for the local pimps and touts? Is there some deal where the girls who work at kado ebi get to stay trim in the boxing gym, maybe beating up their clients? Maybe they thought it would be easier to provide ring girls if the boxing gym is inside a brothel… do they share bathrooms? This phenomenon is genuinely and completely a mystery to me. Guesses or suggestions as to what’s really going on here much appreciated. Also, my partner’s moving to Tokyo in a month, and she’s been doing a bit of boxing with a group of handsome Korean boys in Beppu. Should I recommend to her that she take up boxing at the Kado Ebi gym? She does like host hair, after all …

fn1: Passing this cafe is a classic moment of being able to appreciate the strangeness of Japanese women. There they all are, sitting daintily eating and drinking and chatting on their hammocks, everyone swaying slightly, heads bobbing about as the hammocks move slightly. It’s a picture of cuteness – the cafe is always completely girl-only, girl-focused, with these girls all talking very intently to each other in a very civilized way, swaying daintily on their hammocks. It’s like the hold of some fantasy anime pirate ship…

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