Japan: Boot camp for hookers

Masuo Kamiyama

It's 0530 in the morning and you're out walking your dog along the bank of river in a rural district northeast of Tokyo. Suddenly you hear the staccato footfall of a group of runners approaching. Emerging from the early morning mist are four females in their 20s clad in gym uniforms, and one male, looking for all the world like a drill sergeant putting new recruits through their paces.

Suddenly, to your amazement and astonishment, you encounter a scene reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket," and the runners begin to sing, in cadence,

"I don't know, but I've been told.

"Eskimo pussy is mighty cold!

"Mmm, good!

"Feels good!

"Is good!

"Real good!

"Tastes good!"

Okay, we made up the part about the drill song.

But Jitsuwa Knuckles (November) insists the rest is real: There's a boot camp in the woods where a paid professional trainer works wonders at helping restore world-weary whores to fighting trim.

Imagine something like "Rocky 3" with sex.

The magazine provides a written account, accompanied by plenty of nude photos, of four women who enrolled in the three-week summer session --- veteran sex workers at pink salons, soaplands and other businesses. Their jobs were clearly starting to take a physical and mental toll on them, and they were worried that unless they took drastic remedial measures, they'd wind up slack, listless and wrinkled --- prematurely worn-out old bags.

At the demanding three-week camp, the four undergo no-nonsense discipline by their tough male drill instructor, Mr. Nonomura, who aims to whip them back into top shape.

According to Jitsuwa Knuckles, DI Nonomura, who is in his early 30s, founded his camp three years ago and promotes it to owners of major chains of cabarets and sex shops who have a vested interest in prolonging the careers of their most promising star performers.

Here's how the daily regimen goes:

0430: Wake up, dress

0500: 10km run

0700: Straighten up the area

0800: Breakfast

0900: Rest

1030: Muscle toning training

1200: Lunch

The rest of the day is taken up with a variety of lectures, such as how to deal with nasty Johns, followed by dinner at 1800 and then self-study and workshops until lights out at 2130.

The 10-kilometer run scheduled on the first full day proves wildly optimistic. One of the four gals pooped out after struggling for just 500 meters, Jitsuwa Knuckles sighs.

Among the camp's tough training techniques are 500 rotations with a hula hoop (to build up stomach and back muscles), and 1,000 up-and-down repetitions of arm/wrist movement designed to tone-up muscles for dispensing hand jobs.

The ladies' three daily nutrition-packed meals are part of a specially designed menu called "fuzoku-shoku" (sex business diet) and include gooey, slimy foods like natto (fermented soybeans) and okra, which are designed to give tongues and jaws a good workout and activate the gals' salivary glands.

By the second week, the classroom instruction has taken up hypothetical case studies.

"Your customer is a 33-year-old married man from Nagoya," says the instructor. "He's blessed with exceptionally good 'bat control.' How do you handle him?"

By the third week, the pace of training picks up and the girls are on call 24/7. Sometimes, for example, their sleep is interrupted for an unscheduled episode of "yobai" ("night crawling," a now-obsolete form of medieval romance in which a man stealthfully enters a sleeping gal's boudoir for the purpose of coitus).

This is serious business, with no mercy shown to the weak: In previous sessions, the dropout rate by week three at Nonomura's camp has averaged 70 percent. And sure enough, only two of the four survive to graduate, One, Ms. Kobayakawa, headed back to the city armed with a diploma and a hearty recommendation from her instructor, to begin new employment, at a high-class hand-job establishment in Tokyo's Shibuya district. The other, Ms. Nonaka, was mulling a firm offer from a "honban este" in Akasaka, a sexy salon serving intercourse as the main course.

When it's all said and done, is this no-pain, no-gain regimen really worth it? Nonomura is convinced it is. His eyes narrow, and looking off in the distance, he philosophizes, "If you can change yourself, your partner will change. If your partner changes, your heart will change. If your heart changes, your speech will change.

"Working in the sex business means embarking on a long journey in search of yourself," he observes.

Gosh, and all this time we'd been thinking the girls were in it for the money.

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