It is that distinct aroma of miso soup wafting over this 10-seat counter in Osaka that will make one think of mom’s home cooking, says weekly tabloid Shukan Taishu (Apr. 22).
But customers paying 2,000 yen per hour to eat and drink at Miso Soup Bar, which also serves onigiri (rice balls), are not interested in nostalgia.
“Where are you from?” says one of the waitresses, attired in a skimpy white shirt and mini skirt.
Like the ‘girl’s bar,’ the miso-soup bar is the latest fad in adult entertainment to originate from Osaka, but there remains a lingering dark side behind its creation.
“Miso-soup bars are basically an off-shoot of girl’s bars,” says a fuzoku writer, whose beat is the adult-entertainment industry. “Last year, with the death of an employee and the hiring of elementary-school kids, girl’s bars became a huge concern.”
How were underage girls able to work at such establishments? Cheap labor was one factor.
“Girl’s bars have licenses appropriate for eating and drinking establishments and not adult-entertainment businesses,” says the same fuzoku writer. “This is because a restaurant can operate until morning, while adult-entertainment businesses, in principal, have to close by midnight. A minor can work at a restaurant until 10 p.m.”
When licensed as restaurants, the bars are technically not able to “entertain” customers. “So, a (girl’s bar) hostess cannot touch a customer nor serve drinks,” says the same writer. “She cannot even clap her hands to encourage karaoke singing. However, almost no establishments comply.”
As a result, the bars operate in a gray zone, exploiting a loophole in the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses.
Law enforcement has initiated a number of crackdowns, but under the adult-entertainment law there is an exclusion possible if the establishment serves a main dish. “Some of the businesses took advantage of this by serving onigiri in order to operate under an eatery license,” says the same fuzoku writer.
Shukan Taishu believes that Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto, who has been rumored to be supporting a sweep of red-light districts in the metropolis, must be frustrated.
“There is nothing different about these places except that they serve food,” says the aforementioned fuzoku writer.
Osaka’s girls bars are known for their intimate hospitality, with some offering an “underground menu” that allows customers to take the waitresses off the premises for a number of illicit endeavors.
In thinking of such a scenario, pangs of guilt strike Shukan Taishu’s writer when he realizes that the waitresses at Miso Soup Bar are young enough to be his daughter.
But he winds up especially attracted to one in particular, whose firm white thighs are clearly visible and her chest ready to burst through her shirt buttons.
With his conscious now clearly in check, he asks, “Why don’t we exchange phone numbers?”
She politely refuses, saying the manager does not allow such a practice.
Indeed, a rejection as salty as the soup, but he knows it is just a matter of time.
“Many of these places are owned by sex clubs,” says the fuzoku writer. “So the waitresses can be former employees from those clubs. A lot of these gals are looking for a chance to make quick cash.” (A.T.)
Source: “Osaka Hashimoto Taro shicho mo atama wo kakaeru SEX dekiru miso shiru baa,” Shukan Taishu (Apr. 22, pages 198-199)