Once again, our Japanese-language reporters ride along a razor-thin line of reasoning and derail right into a valuable life lesson.
Recently, our Japanese-language writer and fashion correspondent Seiji Nakazawa has been anticipating the upcoming arrival of Halloween in Japan. In recent years, the holiday has really caught on, but it seems rather than with little kids, it is more popular with young adults who dress up in costumes and head downtown for some frivolity.
Seiji had even heard that things get so lively that it’s not uncommon for women to come on to guys, which was just perfect for a wallflower like himself. However, Halloween was over a fortnight away! “I want to get hit on now damnit!” he shouted.
Editor-in-chief Go Hattori overheard Seiji’s lament and said, “Is that all you want? Leave it to me!”
Go then ran out of the office. Seiji wasn’t sure how his boss could possibly help him meet women, but he decided to trust him and waited patiently.
After two hours, Go returned. Seiji couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but something seemed different about his editor.
Without waiting for Seiji to ask, Go immediately burst into an energetic explanation.
“Right, so I was watching TV, and it said that the hottest place in Japan for hooking up is the Corridor in Ginza. Word on the net is that guys will talk up anyone they see. So they’re sure to hit on Rei-chan…which is moi,” he said gesturing to himself with his wrist bent at a right angle, “Guys dressing up like women is kind of in now too, so I’ll probably get some action from women as well. I just have to be careful when eating, teehee♫”
Indeed something had changed in Go, but Seiji wasn’t concerned with the blonde hair, floral skirt, or stockings. He had seen pictures of Rei-chan before, but he had never felt her indomitable spirit firsthand. It emanated from the husk of his ordinarily surly 37-year-old editor and manifested itself as this bubbly young woman ready to take on the world.
So infectious was her enthusiasm that even before Seiji could realize that the plan had nothing to do with him anymore, they were whisked away in a taxi bound for the Ginza Corridor.
When they pulled up to the business park lined with upscale restaurants and shops, Rei-chan jumped out of the cab and shouted “Watch and learn, ciao♫” behind him. Seiji kept a safe distance so other guys would know Rei-chan was single and on the prowl. She kept to dimly lit nooks of the street which was wise, because in such places she looked especially feminine. It seemed a shoe-in that someone would hit on her…at least from behind.
However, after walking two laps around the Corridor, not a single person had spoken to Rei-chan. Not only that, every time she made eye contact with someone they would glance at her and then quickly avert their eyes.
Gradually, Rei-chan’s vibrant face grew hard and dark. Wrinkles began to spread across her forehead. In the end, it was just RocketNews24 Editor-in-chief Go Hattori in a dress and wig…sobbing.
Seiji wanted to help, but what could he do?
Suddenly, he saw a pair of young women holding a sign for a bar wherein women are paid to chat up the male clientele in exchange for overpriced drinks. After giving Hattori a quick pep talk so that Rei-chan would emerge for a moment, he asked the women why she wasn’t getting any action.
Their reply was surprising astute:
“The Corridor is a place where businessmen gather, so the women should also have an air of business about them. Hairstyles should also be toned down, curly is okay, but not so brightly colored. Your friend’s clothes are too bright and flowing. If she dressed more corporate, she would totally get picked up!”
It made a lot of sense to Seiji, but Rei-chan, who was fast becoming Go again, didn’t seem satisfied with their answer. She kept silent as they walked to the edge of the Corridor and hailed a taxi.
The cab ride was silent too, but suddenly the fading Rei-chan, her face obscured by the shadows in the car, turned to Seiji and murmured something.
“For guys it’s all about desire…women, money…that is the dark side of Ginza and we have seen it now…”
It was sad but true. Gone were the days of exciting childish flirtation and exploration or the new and interesting people around them. Now, it was all business. It was all about who you know and how much you make. All the flowery dresses and beautiful spirits that lie underneath don’t amount to a hill of beans anymore.
They didn’t like this realization one bit, but they needed it. Seiji, Rei-chan, and possibly Hatori matured a little that night and would carry this lesson with them from then on.
Then, Rei-chan told the cab driver to pull over and got out, saying she needed fresh air. Alone on the street, she reached into her purse and pulled out a cold refreshing Smirnoff Ice.
Yes, not only is Smirnoff Ice a great way to cap off an evening of responsible drinking, but its flavor glides gently down the throat and warms the body on these chilly autumn nights.
And if you want to meet guys and gals, well then it’s best to stick to the annual Halloween festivities in places like Shibuya. And what better way to get Halloween costume ideas than by heading over to the Smirnoff Instagram page which is full of great make up ideas that even beginners can do!
Also, when hanging out in Shibuya, Smirnoff knows that people tend to litter. It’s depressing, and even worse than the hangover you get from inferior brands of liquor is that pang of regret from leaving garbage on your beloved streets.
That’s why Smirnoff is holding the Smirnoff Halloween Cleaning Battle on the morning of 30 October. Anyone who wants to participate can meet at the Hachiko statue at Shibuya Station at 7:00 a.m. and help Smirnoff make the neighborhood look cleaner that it did even before the Halloween party.
Yes… We’re sorry, this whole convoluted tale of heartbreak and androgyny was actually just an advertisement for vodka.
But wait, there’s more!
Seiji arrived home and went over his notes from the evening. The whole trip was a huge disappointment but he did learn some things. For corporate workers, the Corridor in Ginza actually was a highly active place to meet professional men and women. He noticed that the three peak times were 9:00 p.m., just before the last train, and just after it. However, as the girl’s bar barkers had told him, in that area you have to dress to impress.
Just then Seiji’s phone buzzed. It was Rei-chan sending a text:
Rei-chan: “Seiji! I got hit on!”
Seiji: “Really? Picture?”
Rei-chan: “They already left! I was also just getting into a taxi… It all happened so fast. Their line was: ‘Hey bro, how about we take a walk?'”
▼ Or oni-san/おにいさん in Japanese
Indeed, outside of Ginza it didn’t matter that Rei-chan wore casual clothes, nor did it matter that she was a guy in his thirties wearing heels and reeking of vodka. No matter who you are, a potential romance is always right around the corner as long as you’re out there looking out for it.
Knowing that, Go could sleep a little easier. And as he closed his eyes, a little “tee-hee♫” from Rei-chan slipped out from between his lips.