Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Creeped Out

My routine ending my Tuesday nights is fairly regular. I grab my guitar and leave Ruby at 12:40, walk down Dogenzaka street to Shibuya Station, and catch the 12:53 Yamanote Line train home. If I'm with friends, no one bothers me, but if walk alone, things are different. There is one spot about 30 meters down Dogenzaka where women always accost me and ask, "Do you want massaji? Massaji?" (Massage if you couldn't figure it out.) Often, they get right up in your face and follow you for more than a few paces, doing everything short of touching to get your attention.

Generally, I plug into my iPod and avoid eye contact. Then they only ask once and leave me alone.

I have the feeling you get more than a massage...

And whatever they do, it's probably expensive and somehow tied to organized crime. It's more than a little uncomfortable being accosted by these ladies. It's even more unnerving thinking that there must be hordes of dirty businessmen and gaijin who are regular clients, or else they wouldn't be soliciting in the same spot every night.

Tonight, after leading a pickup group on guitar in the last slot at Open Mic, I glanced at my watch and realized I had less than 15 minutes till the last train. I packed up my guitar and took off.

On the way down Dogenzaka, sure enough, I was accosted by my favorite group of nightly ladies.

Here is why I'm creeped out. One of them looked me right in the eye and I swear she said my name, "Eeeesan." Completely startled, all I knew was to follow the routine. I just walked away.

What the f@##$%? Was I hallucinating? Did I misunderstand her? Has she noticed me walk by every Tuesday and somehow gathered my name? Or was it one of my acquaintances in town who happened to be standing around the same place as the massage gals?



Leezer said...


Wahhhh, weird city people...

Ethan said...

OK, I have an answer to the mystery, even if it ruins the punch line to the story. She must have in fact said, "Oneeeesan" which literally means "big brother" but would be a polite way to address a stranger my age.