In Japan, the local bars and nightclubs hire many different kinds of hostesses. Lured by the excitement of a glamorous lifestyle, a lot of professional women quit their jobs back home and set out in search for a break or an adventure. It’s a broad spectrum, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are out to make money. Some do it because they have credit card debts, while others need to pay back student loans or maintain a family. Whatever the motivation might be it’s a lot easier to make money as a hostess in Tokyo than working two or three jobs in Canada.
At first these women think it’s great to get paid to sit around and drink and party all night, but they don’t realize that slowly they begin to lose the essence of who they really are.
According to police statistics, there are about 11,000 hostess clubs registered in Tokyo. Years ago most of the hostesses came from other Asian countries. However in the last few years many North Americans, Canadians, and Europeans have seen the economical benefits of this lifestyle and have joined the ranks. The women who are hired are usually tall and blond because in Japanese culture, it is seen as prestigious for a man to be in the company of a tall blond woman. Many Japanese men are very interested in talking to foreign women and will prefer to frequent the clubs where they can find them.
Even though hostessing does not necessarily involve sex, it’s not respected locally and in fact it’s illegal. One Canadian hostess says that as she walks down the streets she can sense that people know how she makes her living just by looking at her. Sometimes she feels judged.
A hostess is expected to cater to the men who pay for her company and that includes being able to keep up a stream of conversation and helping the men to relax. For a couple of hours a day, these men can forget about business and family and just unwind after a stressful day at the office. They are willing to pay a high price for this treat.
This feature documentary is an honest journey into the world of young Canadian women who have had experience working as hostesses in exclusive Japanese clubs. These modern-day geisha find themselves caught up in the complexities of this service that is offered in high-class clubs and bars.
This film captures the reality of urban Japan and its ancient fascination with the new.