One year ago today I published a short history of prostitution in Japan, in which I mentioned that there were many different types of brothels, including bathhouses with sexual services; these are called “soaplands” and they are extremely popular. Well, as it turns out my husband was recently in Japan on business and his host invited him and another gentleman from his company to go along with him to a soapland; he told me about it when he returned and we both felt my readers might be interested in a first-person account of what goes on there. So I’m turning the rest of this column over to him (except for a few concluding remarks from me at the end); if you have any questions just ask them in the comments, and I’ll try to get him to answer them as soon as possible (though it may be next weekend before he manages it).
The soapland we visited was in a largely-residential urban neighborhood where there were several such places, but some are not open to gaijin so we drove around a little until the doorman of one of them flagged us down and showed us a parking place. We exchanged our shoes for slippers at the door, then he took us into an anteroom. The manager greeted us and told us the price (10,400 yen, about $135 US), then asked each of us what sort of girl we would like and took us one at a time beyond a partition to show the girl he thought would best suit that man’s preference; it was much more discreet than the lineups at Nevada brothels. I didn’t care for the first one he showed me, but the second one looked like a Japanese version of Maggie dressed in a slinky gown and high heels, so I was quite happy with her.
She took my hand and escorted me to the third floor; her English was good enough (in combination with sign language) that she could communicate sufficiently for the situation. The room to which she brought me had a normally-floored section where we came in, then the rest of it was like a very large, sunken shower floor with brown tiles. To my right there was a shelving unit with a small dorm-type refrigerator and to my left a massage table; the sunken section had a large Roman-style tub filled to the brim with water. She had me get undressed and put my clothes in baskets she gave me, then she undressed as well and I waited while she got her things ready for the session. After a couple of minutes she called me to come down and had me sit on a stool whose seat was actually two pads with a large gap between so as to expose the whole crotch area.
She turned on the water in the tub, and it immediately started overflowing onto the tile floor. Next, she used a flexible shower fitting to wash my crotch, then scrubbed me completely from head to toe with a scrubby and a strong but pleasant-smelling soap. After washing herself in the same way, she told me to get in the tub; the water was the perfect temperature. She got in the tub with me, sitting between my legs facing me, and rubbed a soft sponge without soap all over my skin; she then started masturbating me underwater, and after I adjusted my position so she wouldn’t have to duck her head under the water she used her mouth for a few minutes as well. That was just a preliminary, though; she got out of the tub, moved the stool aside and brought out an air mattress with a lip running around the edge; it was like a combination air mattress and kiddie pool. She then brought out a large plastic bowl and filled it with what Maggie tells me is called “nuru gel”, a super-slick lubricant that doesn’t dry up.
She called me out of the tub, put a folded towel as a pillow on the air mattress, had me lie down and smeared the gel all over both of us; she then started sliding around on me, rubbing every part of my front with her entire body. It’s hard to describe; it was as though she was using my body for a stripper pole, and slid along my legs and arms like a train on a monorail. Sometimes she went fast, sometimes slow, but it was all good and she was obviously very practiced. After about 20 minutes of this she brought me back to the stool and completely washed us both with the strong soap again, then dried me thoroughly and led me to the massage table. She gave me a gentle and sensual massage, then walked on my back while supporting part of her weight on a bar hanging from the ceiling; she controlled the pressure by supporting her weight with her arms, varying from feather-light to the whole weight of her body. I was very impressed with both her dexterity and her physical fitness. After about 15 minutes of this she told me to flip over, performed oral sex for a little while, then put a condom on me and got into cowgirl position. I can’t ever finish in that position, so after a short time I flipped her over and got on top. Once I was done she removed the condom, washed us both one last time, then dried me and offered me iced green tea from the fridge before I got dressed. Altogether, it was about 90 minutes total. When I exited the building my shoes were at the front door, so anyone walking by could see how many guests were in the establishment.
My husband dictated the above narrative to me and I put it into complete sentences, then turned it over to him for additions and corrections; I’m not sure I really believe that the massage girl looked like a Japanese version of me, but it’s sweet of him to say that so I won’t question it. While he was trying to explain to me what everything looked like, he went digging around on the internet and found the second picture, showing the air mattress and tub (it’s actually a still he extracted from a Japanese video). He found a picture of the stool in the same video, but it was difficult to see clearly so I searched and was able to locate the first picture above. It turns out there’s a specific name for the thing, sukebe isu, literally “pervert chair”. Anyhow, writing this column led us into a discussion of all the kinds of prostitution he’s sampled around the world, and it was actually more than I had previously thought! So perhaps one day I may be able to convince him to do another column on brothels in Tijuana, Australia or Germany, or perhaps the Amsterdam window-girl I encouraged him to see a few years ago.