All Roads Lead to 2-Chome

The first time I was taken to Shinjuku 2-Chome a few years ago, I didn't have a clue it was the gay hotspot in Tokyo. We went to a restaurant called Cocolo Cafe which had pretty decent food at reasonable prices.

By the third or fourth time I went there, I started noticing something kind of out of the ordinary: there didn't seem to be any chicks in the place!

Now, I'm not some bumpkin who's just fallen off the turnip truck, but I did spend too many years out in the provinces before moving into Tokyo. Maybe that put a glitch in my gaydar. I mean, I know my way around West Hollywood pretty well and have had the obligatory tour of the Castro district. But, for some reason, the first couple of times I went over to 2-Chome, I just thought I was in another funky place in funky Tokyo.

The last time I was there (don't remember the occasion) it was a very dark, moonless night and suddenly all possible doubts about the nature of the neighborhood were put to rest. I don't know but, for some reason, the place kind of spooked me -- gave me the heebie-jeebies.

Well, after that, I had no reason to be over in 2-Chome again so I and its denizens became estranged. That is, until Saturday night!

A certain young lady and I made plans to meet up at the monjayaki place we had been to before. This place, as I reported earlier, is incredible: all the monja you can eat and alcohol you can drink for a set price and a two-hour time limit. This time we were also able to throw in some teppanyaki.

The monjayaki place is in the safe confines of West Shinjuku but while we were eating she said: "Why don't we go over to Amarcord after dinner?"

Now, Amarcord is a new bar with a fetish twist. Legally, it's just a bar so don't expect to go over there, throw off your clothes and get involved in orgies and stuff. It's not that kind of place.

But the thing about Amarcord is, it's run by a mistress, or mistresses -- not sure of the exact situation. Now, I haven't been kind (in writing) to mistresses in the past. The big mistake they make (at least the ones I've had the misfortune to come across) is that they believe in their own shit way too much.

Let me be clear: When you're in my presence, don't give me that goddamned face. I'm not yer fuckin' slave, boy toy, whatever the fuck it's called. Got it? That shit doesn't fly with me. Here's the deal: I work hard to keep my own misogyny under control. Don't push your luck.

Your fantasy stops at the tip of my nose.

If a dominant male walked around acting like every woman he met was a masochist just gagging to be tied up and whipped by him, I'd say he was an idiot. Smile. Treat people with respect. Try to act like a normal person for fuck's sake. Then, if the dynamic changes, go with the flow.

So here I was, not only going to 2-Chome again after all these years but also setting foot inside a lair filled with mistresses. But let me be clear again: It's not a "mistress bar". It's just a bar. But if you happen to dig mistresses, well...

It's a small place, tiny actually. It's very nice and high class inside and the glass-topped bar is unique in that it is supported by rebar which takes the form of a long, narrow cage. That, I thought, was an amazing touch.

And here's the thing: I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Of course, it helped that I was with Kogure who is one of the most delightful people you will ever meet. And by the way, Kog is actually working at the place on Friday nights, at least temporarily. I asked her if she had plans to continue working there on this very part-time basis but she said she wasn't sure.

One of the ladies over there, Nana, gave me a small box of chocolates. It was Valentine's Day and in Japan the ladies give the men the chocolate. Men return the favor in March on White Day.

I talked to Co, a very pretty boy, indeed, who, as far as I know, may be the only male staff member at this time. Co spent two years in the UK and his English is fantastic. In fact, this bar seems quite foreigner friendly with other staff members speaking English, Chinese and even Portuguese.

Not only that but the Japanese customer sitting next to me spoke damned good English as well and was a very pleasant person to converse with. This always makes me feel guilty about having such crap Japanese, though.

Bottom line: If this sounds like your kind of place, I recommend checking out Amarcord. It's pretty reasonable as these things go. There's a 2,000 yen cover charge and drinks are 1,000 yen. Gorgeous girls behind the bar and, I'm happy to say, not one of them gave me the ol' evil eye.

But if you dig being scowled at, I'm sure they can accommodate you. And there's always that cage.


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I don't get the "paying to get into a bar" idea. I 'll pay to go to a live house to see a band, or to go to club to see a show, because I'm paying to be entertained. But why pay to go into somewhere where I'm immediately expected to buy a drink? Do people go hoping/half-expecting that they might end up having a good time with a Mistress they might meet in there?

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I can't really argue with you, just maybe play Devil's Advocate.

Frankly, the whole idea of a hostess bar was foreign to me not that long ago -- and they're even more expensive.

This bar is small so you get some personal attention. The women are beautiful, dressed to the nines. I guess you're paying to talk to a pretty woman although, in this case, she's standing behind the bar instead of sitting next to you.

Also, it's a niche product. If you're interested in the mistress concept, you get to talk about what interests you which you wouldn't be doing in a vanilla bar.

Just some of my assumptions.
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