I learned early.
I am six years-old on the back of my brother’s Honda Cub and we are winding through narrow Japanese dirt streets lined with vendors of all types:
Electronics (such as they were in 1960 Japan).
Yep, right there next to the tent that was selling frozen pineapple rings, between the small two-table yakisoba restaurant, was Mama-san’s. I highly doubt hers was the only “house of ill repute” named or referred to as Mama-san’s. The thing is the “ill repute” thing doesn’t really fly in Japan. A brothel is not viewed negatively. They provide legitimate services and both men and women alike respect its role in their society. That might be Old Japan, but that’s how it was when we were there.
Why can’t we do the same here?
I am a fan (and ex-client) of legalized prostitution.
Keep them safe.
And by all means tax them.
Another win-win scenario proffered by the man who just put down the pipe.
I did it again.
I amazed myself.
Outside, the streets were filled with the smells of the people: grilled fish, boiling pots and sizzling treats, but inside Mama-san’s was a whole different world—the world of the pleasured and pampered.
The smells were completely different: sandalwood, musk, perfumed women all made up. Incense. It almost felt like a spiritual place to me.
Evidently, this was not my brother’s first visit to this establishment, All the pretty girls made a big fuss over him being a young American and all. For many, we were the very first Americans they ever saw or would ever see in their lives.
I loved it here; I felt very at home in a brothel.
What does that say about me?
While my brother was in another room otherwise occupied, the remaining girls would fuss over me and bring me sodas. They would also let me play pachinko, which kept me occupied until it was time to go home. Pachinko parlors were big business as it seemed to me they were everywhere. The tents were full of people chain-smoking and launching the little ball bearings day and night. I liked the sounds of the many machines when the balls would clink off the randomly inserted nails. Sounded almost like a room full of xylophones. I would find out later that Las Vegas had nothing on this level of addiction.
So we are getting ready to head home, but first it is payday, folks.
Ed walked his cycle up the street stopping at two candy-stores and a snow cone ice-shaver Papa-san shop.
Now, with both of my cheeks stuffed with gumballs and payment made in full, Ed kick-started the Honda to life and homeward bound were we.
Since Ed was officially “babysitting” me, the 3rd degree started as soon as we got home.
“Where did you take Marky today?”
“Did you have fun?”
“What did you do?”
I could barely get the part of the story out about all the nice-smelling ladies and how they catered to my every whim, when my Mom shot an unmistakable look in my brother’s direction.