A relatively humble street-side food stall, but one that the owner quite rightly feels very proud of.
Food and Drink
For the last 40 years, the 82-year-old owner of this little Tokyo bar has stood behind the counter cooking cheap food and serving similarly inexpensive drinks.
Yet despite those 4 decades of operation, no other westerners had ever walked through the door. Similarly absent during that time period has been any serious attempt at cleaning — the incredible amounts of dust and grime everywhere making each and every surface a source of both fascination, and trepidation.
Elements that, when combined with the establishment’s regular customers, lifted the evening from the fun, to the truly unforgettable.
The far west of Tokyo is a world away from the bright lights and busy streets the city is famous for. It’s mountainous and green for starters, plus it’s also home to bar owners in their 90s, wonderfully atmospheric old train tunnels and long since abandoned cable cars.
However, that’s not the whole story, as seek out the area’s villages, and it feels altogether different again. Small pockets of civilisation that seem utterly isolated despite being located in one of the world’s most populated cities. And yet isolated they are in many ways, with little in the way of facilities, and none of the things people generally take for granted such as public transportation and supermarkets. Hence the need for a mobile shop.
A service that’s presumably a lifeline for the predominately elderly locals, and as such the owner had his orders already written down and was slowly bagging them up from his astonishingly well-stocked truck — it also opens up on the other side where the fridge is.
All in all a sight that was as interesting as it was surprising.
Despite the clean cut and healthy appearance of the hosts staring back from the posters, their working lives are little more than one long drinking session after another. Basically, the more they drink, the better off they are, as their earnings are based on what female guests spend on them. A lifestyle that slowly but surely must take its toll — both mentally and physically.
It’s a situation that’s the same for a good number of host club customers too, as many of the young women who frequent such places are hostesses or other red light district workers in need of some fun and affection once their own, similarly soulless work shifts are over. A sad cycle of money and dependency that is expertly documented in the film, The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief.
The man drunk and asleep in the photo, however, very likely isn’t a host. His appearance simply doesn’t match the profession’s very distinctive look. Instead, it’s probably just a fella who attempted to do what the men in the posters do most nights, but unfortunately he came out the other end looking rather less clean cut and healthy.