TOKYO (TR) – The job of a typical club hostess is to jovially engage in simple chat, pour cocktails and attend to any unlit cigarettes for her male patron. Yet it will not be long before his topics of conversation drift from simple pleasantries to more intimate inquiries — an uncomfortable yet obligatory duty for many ladies.
Club @Virgin, which opened near Roppongi Crossing in Minato Ward last December, has a solution that puts both parties at ease: Its roster is comprised entirely of AV actresses.
“The main thing we talk about here is sex,” explains representative director Kazuhito Shibuya of his establishment, which is staffed by roughly 25 girls on any given night and brightly adorned in white sofas, tables and wall coverings.
The customers are not direct, however, says 23-year-old actress Azusa Anzu, outfitted in a shiny bunny suit with floppy ears. “They won’t say, ‘Let’s do it.’ They are much more gentlemanly. They might ask, ‘Do you like sex?’ or ‘While you are making the films does it really feel good?'”
As inducements, the club promotes appearances by big-name talents in the industry, such as Hitomi Hayasaka, Naho Ozawa and Hotaru Akane, who is retired and works with Koakuma Ageha, a magazine featuring hostess girls.
“Usually the guys are looking for specific girls,” says Shibuya, whose club offers customers autographed posters and DVDs and the opportunity to share a single drink (two straws) with an actress. “It’s a good feeling to come here to talk to them.”
Such talk is not cheap; the basic entry fee is 12,000 yen and allows for 60 minutes.
Many customers think that given the staff’s backgrounds it might be easy to take the situation to another level, says Mizuho Nakano, 19, who starred in last year’s “Classroom for Promiscuous Lesbians with Dildos,” one of roughly 50 videos to her name. “Customers will often say, ‘Let’s go have dinner,’ ” she explains. “So things could be moving in that direction, but I will do my best to change the flow.”
Agreeing with these sentiments is the busty Maria Hirai, sporting a snug white top and the holder of a resume that spans hundreds of films. “You have to make sure the customers understand what the limits are beforehand,” says the 25-year-old whose AV career is now on hiatus as she concentrates on nude photo spreads.
So far, the dire economic situation has not been a factor in @Virgin’s business. Shibuya says sales teams from trading companies find it lucrative to bring customers to the club.
Indeed, sex may sell, but the biggest challenge is keeping it fresh. Shibuya, who is constantly bringing in new actresses and thinking of different promotions, wonders about the status of his club six months or a year from now. “This might just be a fad” he says.
Note: This report originally appeared in the Japan Times on April 5, 2009.