A disappointing experience at a Tokyo happening bar

We stumbled upon this interview with a customer to a happening bar.

Happening bars are the quasi-secret society of Japanese swinger clubs. The establishments force customers to become “members” and carry an entrance fee, which is often quite hefty for men. There is typically a bar and showers. Sometimes they are called a couple kissa, or couple coffee shop, and may cater primarily to couples rather than single men or women.

They can take the form of a bar with various private rooms or may be more like a hotel, where guests switch from room to room as the preference takes them.

Police don’t look too kindly on them, since they may constitute indecent exposure or various other infractions of the criminal code, leading to infrequent but targeted raids. As such, happening clubs skirt around the fringes of the law and will couch their service in euphemisms, such as not promising sex on the premises but publicly only saying that whatever happens is up to the consenting adults.

In the interview, the customer says he first had to contact the happening bar on their message board to state when he would go.

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He was then told to come to a designated location in public and wait. He then had to call for further directions. “Somehow I got to the location, but the floor of the building I was told was entirely closed. There were no signs either. I picked a doorbell and pressed it, praying that I got the right one.”

Things went smoothly enough when it came to paying and “joining” the club.

Unfortunately the customer then had a nasty shock when he went into the customer area and found… old men.

“I thought I might have accidentally wandered into a baseball team’s fan club, but these guys were even too old to be in something that fun. The whole place was filled with an air of man musk and old man smell.”

He amused himself by taking a look at the bar and the costumes.

Eventually a woman duly arrived, though the customer was not attracted to her — unlike the other clientele.

“Every guy in the place swarmed around her. They were like slow-moving koi in a pond competing for flakes of food. Let’s call her Ms. A; Everyone was like, “Ms. A, would you like a drink?” or “Ms. A, your outfit looks really cute tonight!””

He couldn’t handle the vibe anymore.

“As a first-timer I was beginning to get repulsed by the whole atmosphere, so I decided it was time to go.”

“I waited for what I thought was an appropriate amount of time and said to the staff, ‘Excuse me, but I have to catch the last train.’ They let me out.”

However, the staff did ask him to post a short message online and the customer complied. However, he later realised how dubious this is. “I mean I get it that the people that night would probably appreciate a message like that. But come on! People who want to try a happening bar for the first time will use messages like that to make their choice. I thought the staff were deceiving them.”

Granted, this guy seemed to do only superficial research and the whole “interview” may be bullshit, but it goes to show that not all happening bars are going to be worth the trip and may leave you feeling shortchanged for your ¥20,000.

Do you have any better experiences to share?

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