Noilly Prattle: Plaisirs d'amour (Sex for Sale)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Plaisirs d'amour (Sex for Sale)

   It seems like all roads lead to “the floating world”.

    That's one of the ways it is known in Japan. Other tags are “the willow world”, or, nowadays, “the water business”-- mizu shoubai [水商売].

Nishigawa Park
    It wasn't my intention, the other day, to wander around in the willow world. I was merely going for a walk in the park to while away the time while my S.O. was at the eye clinic for a check up on her eye surgery. It was a bright sunny morning, typical post typhoon weather, perfect for a walk in the landscaped park that borders Nishigawa, a canal that runs through our city. I had forgotten, with the passing of the years, that our willow world also borders the same park.

 building signs
for clubs and bars
    I began to notice signs that indicated that our water business was still alive and well. I was curious to see how it would compare with another walk I took in Paris down the hill of Montmartre, as pleasant a place to walk as our Nishigawa. And also adjacent to its own floating world.

    Pigalle, at the foot of Montmartre, is lurid, hard, direct and brassy. Whereas, Nishigawa is softer, suggestive, adolescent fantasy fulfilling and maybe a little kinky. There is even something for the ladies in Nishigawa—host clubs.

    Either way, you pays your money and you takes your chances. These establishments are associated with organized crime—you'd better be able to pay your bill after you've had your fun, even if it's only for the privilege of chatting with a hostess (or host) and buying her/his overpriced watered down “drinks”. 


Nishigawa's floating world features fantasy theme clubs such as sexy nurses or young girls in high school uniforms. The hostesses are dressed in "cosu-play"--costumes depending on the theme.

comic book theme cabakura
(cabaret club)
high school girl theme

cabaret club is called  "Nurse Call"

typical store front club
so called "resort" suggesting exoticism
this one is called "Dubai Resort"

host club for ladies

comic book influence on
a more traditional theme

companion for rent


Known as "Pig Alley" to GIs of World War II, Pigalle is far more blatant and raunchy than the relatively genteel and discrete enticements of our Nishigawa. But, whatever its merits or demerits, Pigalle was the home and inspiration for some of the world's great artists: Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, van Gogh. Edith Piaf. 

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