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Flesh Market by Hikaru Natsumi  

Editorial coordination by Chikage Takizawa

(Editor's note: Japan's sex industry is growing metastatically, probably because more and more women have been turning to prostitution — one of the only profitable occupations available to them. This excerpt is taken from an extremely popular memoir written by a young sex worker in Tokyo, which details her strange, comical and sometimes disturbing experiences in various sex-for-hire establishments.)

I had been working for a long time in the sex industry, first at an aijin bank, a club whose members paid hefty fees for introductions to potential sexual partners, and then at a hotetoru, where a hotel arranged assignations and provided the facilities. At the former, the club owner maintained that he wasn't running a sex business. He said that the "office" was simply providing introductions and a place to meet, and would accept absolutely no responsibility for the subsequent "free exploration of the possibilities of love to the fullest extent" between individuals. I had to be willing to do what the member wanted, and he had to be willing to pay me what I asked.
     But after I was introduced to a real estate entrepreneur and had sex with him a couple of times, the arrangement started to seem stupid. I got tired of dealing with him on a personal level, instead of going through the club. It was just too much trouble to wait around for him to call, and to cater to his moods (which I had to if I wanted to be paid decently). I wasn't interested in being a full-time actress, pretending to be someone's lover.
     I decided that if I was going to make a living from sex, I wanted a more systematic arrangement, like a hotetoru. All I had to do was go there and service the customer. That kind of work didn't pay as much, but customers wouldn't interfere with my personal life. It was just a transitional job, until I found something better. I ended up working at a hotel for three months.
     After that, on a whim, I decided to try my luck at a "soapland," a massage parlor masquerading as a Turkish bath. I had read somewhere that Horinouchi in Kawasaki had the second largest soapland district in the metropolitan area, after Yoshiwara, Tokyo's centuries-old red light district.
     When I arrived at Kawasaki Station, I called the place where I had interviewed the day before, as instructed. After about five minutes, a car arrived to pick me up, a white Toyota Crown. I could have walked to the place in seven or eight minutes, but the club didn't like its girls walking around in Horinouchi.
     The Japanese-style exterior and interior of the club gave it a serene, relaxing air. A lot of these places have embarrassing foreign names, but not this one, which was priced at the high end of the moderate range.
     The kid who had been my chauffeur led me though the rear entrance and into the club. I was shown to a room with a sign that read "Reception." It measured about nine by twelve feet, and contained a television set, a china closet, a table, a rice cooker and a refrigerator. Its walls were lined with lockers. Each locker had a girl's name on it, and on top, a plastic basket filled with the tools of her trade.
     Sakamoto, the owner, who had interviewed me the day before, showed up holding a basket in one hand. He motioned to me to follow him. He was going to be in charge of my training.
     "Shall we go upstairs?" he asked.
     We climbed the carpeted stairs to the second floor. The rooms looked old, but they were the nicest I'd ever seen. I don't know why, but I'd always felt claustrophobic in soapland rooms, even though they were quite large. This place was different, though. I liked the fact that the window was wide open.
     Against the wall near the bed were a refrigerator, a television set, a dresser, a wardrobe and a small table. The white-tiled bathroom was big enough to accommodate an air mattress, and then some. It also contained a deep, tiled bathtub.
     Sakamoto turned to me. "Our selling point is that the girls here are amateurs, so we don't teach them by the manual. Once you learn the techniques, you can modify them if you like. I'm going to show you what to do, including how to massage on the air mattress, but you won't have to deal with that for a while."
     I didn't reply, just nodded, surprised that a place that charged so much was so casual about training.
     "Willingness to please the customer is more important than technique. If a girl puts her heart into washing the customer's body, and kisses him like she really means it, he'll like her, even if she can't move like a circus acrobat. That's the way men are."
     Sakamoto kept talking while we undressed. Then he brought out one of those chairs with a hole in the seat. He put hand towels on both sides, poured warm water over them, and told me to sit on the chair. Next, he poured body shampoo, a few drops of disinfectant and hot water into a basin. He dipped a sponge into the mixture, and squeezed it again and again until the liquid turned to foam.
     Scooping up some of the foam with his hands, he slathered it over my entire body, from my fingers to the tips of my toes. Then he reached into the hole in the chair from underneath and I could feel the foam on his fingers circling my cunt.
     "At this point, you could rub your breast against his body, or sit in his lap and rub him with your pubic hair."
     Sakamoto's explanations were simple and to the point. I thought, Is it really going to be this easy? One of my friends told me it had taken four people to teach her chair and mattress techniques.
     After Sakamoto rinsed all the foam off my body, he lay on his back with his head under my chair. Then he started tracing his tongue around my cunt, using little stabbing motions. He did that for quite a while. The sensation of being licked from below while sitting was wonderful, but very strange. I couldn't keep my hips still.
     "If you have a chance, you might want to try something like this, okay?"
     Then we got in the bathtub. Sakamoto lay on his back, his head resting on a small, inflatable pillow. I climbed on top of him, wound my arms around his neck and kissed him. Than, as he prompted me, I moved my lips down his body from his neck to his nipples, his stomach and then his groin. When I licked his flesh, water would get in my mouth, making a disgusting, slurping sound. I decided that it was time to get down to business and began stimulating his penis, sticking out of the water like a periscope. He told me to kneel and slide my knees under his hips, to steady my body.
     The bathroom was large and every sound we made echoed through it. My breath rose to the ceiling when I exhaled, along with the steam from the bath water. I kept working on him until I was interrupted by his voice, which sounded an octave above normal.
     "Tha. . . that's enough now. Next I'll show you what to do on the mattress."
     Sakamoto took the huge gray air mattress that had been resting against the wall, and laid it on the floor. With the hand shower, he sprayed hot water all over its surface to warm it. Then he filled a basin with hot water and lotion concentrate and, after running his hands carefully through the mixture to burst the bubbles that had formed, spread it over the surface of the mattress.
     "Now, do what I tell you. Pour the lotion on my back and your body."
     Soon our bodies were covered with the sticky, transparent liquid. Sakamoto lay on the mattress face down. I climbed onto his back and slid my lotion-covered breasts and cunt up and down over his back, moving in circles and keeping most of my weight off of him. Then I gradually moved down toward the lower half of his body.
     I soon discovered that mattress work is harder than I thought it would be. The entire surface of the mattress was slippery from the lotion, so when I tried to change my position. I'd find myself slipping in the opposite direction. All of my movements were jerky and clumsy.
     The whole situation got so ridiculous that there was nothing to do but laugh, and when I started laughing, I couldn't stop. I was holding onto Sakamoto's leg, so both of us fell off the mattress. I had "studied" air mattress techniques in Yoshiwara, but this wasn't something you mastered in one or two lessons.
     Sakamoto raised his body partway and said, "Let's get in bed." Following his instructions, I used the hand shower to rinse our bodies and the mattress with hot water. We soaked in the bathtub for a few minutes to warm our bodies and then left the bathroom.
     With towels around our bodies, we sat down on the bed. At this point, you're supposed to ask the customer if he wants something to drink, or a cigarette. After discussing some problems with the procedures that had taken place so far, Sakamoto dimmed the lights in the room, and we got in bed.
     I had called the shots when we were on the mattress, but now he took the lead. After a while, he suddenly pulled out of me. Surprised, I whirled around to face him.
     "Let's stop now," he said.
     As I sat there, he got up abruptly, turned on the lights, pulled the condom off his cock and took a shower. "What did I do wrong?" I asked.
     "We've run out of time, that's all."


from The Sexual Adventure of Hikaru Natsumi (Fuzoku-jyo Natsumi Hikaru no Seiteki Boken), Yousensha, © 1998.

©1999 Hikaru Natsumi and Nerve.com, Inc.