A monumental monument member

The decidedly Jolly looking face below belongs, I believe, to the perhaps rather aptly named Daikoku — a deity said to bring wealth, food as well as good fortune.

And when it comes to the latter, he is obviously not opposed to also partaking, happily endowing himself, in this case at least, with a member of suitably monumental massiveness. A penis that can be peeked at by clicking on the picture below, although it should be said that it’s perhaps not safe for work, unless, of course, giant genitalia is legitimate.

Japanese penis monument

The sorry sight of the Queen Chateau soapland haikyo

When its doors opened in April 1984, in an area where it was, and indeed still is, surrounded by other soaplands and countless other establishments serving sex-related services, it must have seemed that success for the Queen Chateau was a certainty.

But it wasn’t.

Queen Chateau soapland haikyo

And, according to different sources, it closed those same doors once suggestively thrown open that very same year, or, somewhat slightly less disastrously, several years later in 1987.

Queen Chateau soapland haikyo

But either way, it’s still a mystery why it failed, although at the same time it is fairly safe to say that it wasn’t down to a lack of effort in regards the decor, due to its charmingly restrained chateau-like chic.

Queen Chateau soapland haikyo

However, regardless of such fineries, it’s probable that phone rang more in relation to payment requests rather than reservations.

Queen Chateau soapland haikyo

And the rooms, where the place’s ten working girls once plied their trade, are now arguably more sordid than any of the activities that were once performed in them.

Queen Chateau soapland haikyo

The remaining furnishings hinting at the soapy shenanigans that briefly went on there.

Queen Chateau soapland haikyo

Which, it seems, often involved these uncomfortable looking plastic chairs.

Queen Chateau soapland haikyo

Queen Chateau soapland haikyo

But definitely not their more comfortable and cushion-bearing cousins.

Queen Chateau soapland haikyo

And yet as unquestionably pleasurable as soapland must be for the punter, for those paid to please, it must have been (and be) an especially different experience. One were a couple of drinks or some other concoction can’t have just been nice, but a necessity.

Queen Chateau soapland haikyo

A point that became immediately apparent upon stepping inside the Queen Chateau, as, due to the main doors being boarded up, a rear entry was the only option, instead of a once less difficultly negotiated front one; leading us through a depressingly dark and horribly confined area with packed-in bunk beds and basic cooking and toilet facilities — a part of the building where the staff obviously once slept and spent their free (or possibly not so free) time.

The unlit and warren-like nature of the place meant that taking pictures was impossible, but at the same time, it made the sight of business cards suggesting euphemistic visits to ‘tearooms’ (ティールーム) with the likes of Jean (ジーン) and Claudia (クラウディア) all the more unsettling.

Queen Chateau soapland haikyo

Queen Elizabeth love hotel love

Whether it be bobbing up and down like a boat.

Queen Elizabeth love hotel

Or going down like the Titanic.

Queen Elizabeth love hotel

The Queen Elizabeth love hotel is definitely the place to dock.

Queen Elizabeth love hotel

Or plunge an anchor even.

Queen Elizabeth love hotel

Plus it’s also where there are seamen gags aplenty, so to speak.

Yoshiwara soapland saunter (part 2)

After a brief look at the history of Tokyo’s Yoshiwara sex district last week, one of the most surprising things about the place, apart from its sensational selection of soaplands, is the large number of mildly amusing monikers.

From 1970s TV shows.

Yoshiwara soapland district

To 1940s films.

Yoshiwara soapland district

Along with a dash of dandyism.

Yoshiwara soapland district

Some insinuation.

Yoshiwara soapland district

And this being Japan, a considerable amount of cuteness.

Yoshiwara soapland district

Plus, perhaps inevitably, a few language lapses, whether it be some simple mistakes.

Yoshiwara soapland district

Or something much more mindboggling.

Yoshiwara soapland district

Yoshiwara soapland saunter (part 1)

Since 1617, Tokyo’s Yoshiwara district has been synonymous with one thing — sex. Or more accurately, prostitution. And while the current area may now be officially known as Senzoku 4 Chome, and it’s in a location dating from slightly later due to a move in 1657, its business is still based around sexual services. Only now they are almost solely centred on soapland.

Yoshiwara soapland district

And while the number of establishments may not be quite as numerous as they once were in 1846.

Yoshiwara soapland district

They aren’t exactly lacking either.

Yoshiwara soapland district

Making it a district that really comes to life after dark,

Yoshiwara soapland district

although due to what goes on behind the decorously lit doors, and the dubious types that man them, taking pictures felt far from easy.

Yoshiwara soapland district

Especially as privacy for the punters is paramount, with fellas furtively dashing out of cabs and cars.

Yoshiwara soapland district

Leaving the streets, for Tokyo at least, unusually bereft of people.

Yoshiwara soapland district

The only faces really to the fore being those of the women who work there, with their slightly daring demeanours prominently displayed for those paying to take their pick.

Yoshiwara soapland district

Next week, in part 2, I’ll take a more light-hearted look at some of the novel names given to some of these places as, for reasons unknown, English monikers are particularly popular.

Mad, madder, maddest

Whether it be fast food chains or fashion houses, in these financially uncertain times, staying one step ahead of those offering similar services is essential. And even when it comes to dens of dodginess and debauchery, it’s definitely no different, as just when Mistress Mad thought she’d mastered the art of madness, it seems an even madder mistress has managed to muscle her way into the maddest of mad markets.

Japanese hostess bar