The World

Staggering, stressed

Not wanting to be this way.

Blazing humidity, long train ride, dehydration, confusion in train stations

This red and black duffel bag–the bane of my existence.

I had just arrived in Japan’s second largest city

Hiding, I unplug a dusty cord from a pay phone to charge my dead phone

Kimiko’s husband runs up to meet me outside Koyabashi station. He’s right! A 1 minute walk to my new crash pad:

My stale shirt sticks to me

I need a shower

I could fall asleep right now–around 2130

Yet, my spirit compels me: what is beyond these walls below?

I step out, make a left. “Girls Collection”–hmmmmm. Cute women stand out front talking with a man.

A Buddhist shrine next door, directly behind my building

I walk a few doors farther

A man with ear piece in asks me in broken English: “What are you looking for? We have cute Japanese girls…no English.”

I ask: “What happens there? What is the club for?”

“You can kiss girl, touching here (points to chest) but no touch here (points to groin region)….but no English…Japanese only. ”

Just as my interest piqued, I deflated, thinking he meant no foreigners–as some bars here disallow.

“The girls speak only Japanese.”

“Can I go? It’s okay about the no English.”

I had to see what this was about. Will I ever be single and visiting Japan again? And Disneyland will be where I spend my final two days.  “It’s now or never,” as Elvis sang.

“6000 yen–includes a drink.” (abt $60)

“Okay.” I checked my pocket, knowing I was low on cash. I had just enough, serendipitously.

“What’s this club called?” was my final question.

“World,” he replied.

Around a corner I went with the ear piece man, past several others–security? Yakuza?–and met a young man who escorted me up in an elevator.

“Pay up front,” I was told.

In some countries of the world, this may be the prelude to a very bad ending.

Thankfully, in Japan it was all wonderful times ahead.

I was brought to another man at a darkened entrance and we made a sharp right into a room thumping with American hip hop and half filled with cigarette smoke. Normally, I’d be running away from the smoke. But I was on a journalistic mission.

Yeah….very simply to be able to report to you all what happens here. Journalists have to go where others don’t, like it or not.

A series of low lying cubicle-like boxes were arranged around the room. I saw no one, but heard women laughing, speaking Japanese.

“What the…?!”

Pointing to a wooden box “cubicle” on the right, I saw house slippers placed nearly within the confines if a wooden holder. I was instructed to take off my shoes.  I put on the slippers and went in, sitting on one of the two pillows placed on the floor.

Soon, my iced green tea was brought to me in a beer stein.

Also soon, a woman became horrified: “Awww! No slippers!” I threw them off. She grabbed them and hurriedly placed them outside.

Semi-dressed women  were periodically walking past my cubicle–barefoot, wearing only long sleeved men’s dress shirts and panties.

After a few minutes alone, wondering what this was all about, a woman with long hair came into my booth and sat down.  We awkwardly sat together, with me fumbling around with a few phrases in Japanese and showing her a few things I was translating on my phone.

I asked if it was okay to kiss her. Thumbs up were being employed a lot to communicate. Eventually, the dress shirt somehow became unbuttoned.

But aside from her beautiful hair and eyes, I was not very attracted to this lady. After some time passed, the lady said something like, “change. ”

A series of announcements were made in Japanese only by a man somewhere, never seen, and I had no idea what to expect.

Then, another woman showed up at my door.

Burn all I’ve written before this. All that matters is Mai (“my”)…

Short dark hair growing longer as it reaches large, perfectly shaped breasts

Brown eyes glowing with life

Fair skin, so soft, smooth

A mouth kindles a smile and laugh so lively, so endearing

Words mean nothing.

Once our lips touch, no one else exists

Life, death, jobs, languages, cultures, customs, the man bringing credit card receipt for me to sign as Mai mounts my lap–Nothing else matters

Our passions play

Hands clasp together–we laugh, her small, delicate hand inside of mine

Mai gets close–very, very close

We can hardly be any closer

Together–Japan United States–“America” Osaka Shogo New York City

Former lives fade away

Kisses rise and fall like waves

Skin presses to skin

You are so beautiful

We are here

Our time is now

I never want to part from you

In these moments together–one hour? ninety minutes?–

We are the World.

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