Bagel Head Fashion
Bagel Head Fashion

Bagel Heads

Pictures courtesy of Ryoichi “Keroppy” Maeda

This summer VICE magazine was documenting a new trend what they have started calling Bagel Heads.  This new BM sub-culture uses saline drips to make temporary bulges under their skin.

So you’re the man responsible for bringing it to the masses. How does the whole process work?
It’s quite easy – we use medical saline solution and using infusion we pump it into the forehead for about two hours, or until it’s ready.

Two hours! Fucking hell. How long does it last?
Just one night. The body absorbs it over time so by the next morning it just goes back to normal. We enjoy being freaks for the night, ha ha.
Does the skin ever start to sag?
No. Everyone I know who has done it, no matter how many times, their skin has gone back to exactly how it was before.

Now it might be tempting to look at this new trend and say God Damn! Japan is weird but you have to keep in mind the numbers. Look at Tokyo, the greater Tokyo region has over 30 million people all within at most a 2hr train ride. 30 million is about the same population as the entire nation of Canada! I know people in Canada are doing this but they’re spread out over a huge area and can’t hang out with each other and maintain this trend. Where as in Tokyo these people CAN hang out and do. This applies to all the weird sub-groups of Japan especially those that are in Japan’s HUGE urban centers. It’s a numbers game.

This is something I talked about for concerning how there is a perception that Japanese women are obsessed with foreign guys. Back to the Canadian example: If .01% of the population is obsessed with Japanese guys it doesn’t mean much because they’re spread out all over Canada. But in Japan or even in Tokyo .01% of the population is thousands of people which means there are a lot of women hanging out at a small selection of bars that foreigners also hang out … number game man, numbers game.

UPDATE: Sept 2012 National Geographic did a special on the Japanese Bagel Head:

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LeTigre

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“She Works Hard for the Money”

Guest post by “Le Tigre”

Because the fact of the matter is, I didn’t just get off the fuckin’ boat.

I have been an English teacher at an Eikaiwa (english conversation school…vomit).
I have been a bartender at a foreign ‘ladies’ bar.
I have been a hostess at clubs ranging from ‘nice,’ to places were I felt like I was actually hired to be a hooker.
I am a professional kickboxer, seriously.
I am an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) at a public elementary school.

I have lived in….
Okazaki, Aichi for 2 months
Ginza, Tokyo for 3 months
Fuda, Chofu for 2 months (living with my coach’s friend)
Ikebukuro, Tokyo for 1 month (living with Hannah Hypnotic)
Asagaya, Tokyo for 4 months
Saginomiya, Tokyo for 3 months
and currently Shin-Nakano, Tokyo for 2 months…so far.

With men…
I have lost a boyfriend from back home after 1.5 months of being in Japan, lets not talk about this.
Hosts
I have slept with a host (These are Host types).
I have slept with a young, Japanese guy(19yo)…possibly taking his virginity.
I have had a pure sexual lust for a man over the last year. But it’s someone who I can never have, and have accepted that never going there with him is for the best.
I have been on a really awful date with a Japanese guy who got wasted after buying drinks he didn’t have money for and made me pay. Then, he followed that class act up by asking me the same stupid questions over and over and over in rapidly deteriorating slurred speech.

Let’s explore some of these experiences….

Hostess clubs.

August 2009 was when I first actually work in a real hostess club. I was introduced to the manager by a girl I had met a couple of times. This girl was from Spain, and a bit crazy. She had to have been at least 6′ tall, had dyed her hair that bright, fake looking red color, had color contacts, a lip ring and always wore corsets, thigh-highs, and knee-high boots. She was always nice to me, but I could never stand to talk to her for long periods of time, as our conversations always would go something like this…

Me ‘Hey, how’s it going?’

Her ‘ OH MY GOD! I need to get fucked!!! I am supposed to meet this one guy after work, but I don’t know if he’s going to show up…he’s kind of like an ikemen, oh my god he’s so fucking hot! I met him one night at…blah, blah, blah.’ (this sometimes continued on for a lengthy period of time.)

Me ‘Oh, sounds fun. How’s school?’

Her ‘What? Oh, it’s ok…OH MY FUCKING GOD!! You won’t believe this guy that I fucked 2 days ago…blah, blah, blah.’

Anyhow, she worked at a hostess club in Ikebukuro owned by some Nigerians. I know, a hostess club in Ikebukuro owned by some Nigerians, the ultimate location to climb that corporate ladder and secure a bright future, right?

I was living in Ikebukuro at the time and was completely fucked for money as I hadn’t had a job in 2-3 months, so I gave it a try.

My first day…
The owners were seemingly nice, and the other girls were being friendly. Okay, so far so good.
One thing I noticed right away was the stripper pole in the middle of the room and the black lights that lit the room. I soon found out that yes, there was a stripper, but no we (the hostesses) were not expected to take our clothes off. Phew.
There was one stripper a night, who usually performed once or twice depending on how busy it was. All together there were 3 strippers, all Japanese girls. There were about 8-10 hostesses that were all foreigners. It was mostly Philippino women, with the whacky Spanish girl, a French girl, a Brazilian woman….and me. The club had a ‘no touching’ policy, but it was considered a cheap, lower-class club, so many of the customers would ignore that policy and try to grab the girls. I saw most of the girls get grabbed/groped quite a bit. But I was pretty good at dodging and blocking their quick hands while laughing it off. Plus, I usually made it a point to mention to every customer that I was a professional kickboxer. Sometimes it seemed to ward off potential attacks. Cop a feel, lose some teeth.  It was an unspoken agreement between the customers and I.

The paycheck was once every 2 weeks. However, your first month there you had to wait until your 4th week to get paid. So I had made it 3.5 weeks, we were getting paid in literally 3 or 4 days…when the club got closed down. They had apparently not paid the rent in quite some time. There was a big fiasco regarding whether they were going to pay us or not.
One of the owners knew how broke I was and suggested that I work for his friend’s club in Shinjuku. They paid ¥12,000/night ($120) in cash. Not having the option of getting a better job and having to wait another month to get paid, I decided to check it out.

This is worst place I have ever worked….

There was still no concrete answer on whether I was going to get the ¥50,000 ($500) they owed me, so I went to work at the other club. (I never did get that money.)
This place was in the middle of Kabuki Chou, an area known for its high population of Yakuza and sex clubs, not so much for its pristine parks and Virgins. It was on level B1 of some random building. The place was real small, probably only able to hold about 10-15 customers at a time. It was even darker, with even more black lights than the last club. There were 2-3 tv’s posted on the walls, all usually playing a dvd of those 90s style, rap/porn videos. There were about 6 girls, the main girl was from Ethiopia, a French girl who was black, the old Brazilian woman from the last club, and a couple other older, less attractive women that I can’t remember. Helluva line up.
I worked there for 3 days.

Day 1
I’m told to dress sexy. I’m the only young, white girl there, and get requested right off the bat. The customer a young’er’ Indian guy who was visiting Tokyo. He orders some drinks for us and we start talking. After a few minutes he asked me how much the handjob was going to cost.

…come again….?

I didn’t say anything for a moment as I tried getting my thoughts together. I finally managed to blurt out that it was my first day and I wasn’t aware this was part of my job description. Thankfully, he was a descent guy and apologized for making me uncomfortable and said that the owner had told him I would give him this ‘service.’
I apologized and asked if he wanted to speak to another girl. So I called over the Ethiopian girl, told her the situation, and she confirmed that no, we don’t ‘usually’ do that.
He left.
After that, I sat on the couch thinking about the situation I was in. I thought about getting up and leaving right then. Then I realized….I don’t even have enough money for the train ticket home. So I stayed.
The rest of the night was slow and uneventful. Then, I got paid.

Day 2

I went back, only thinking about the money at the end of the night. The second night started off pretty normal. Then I was sat a table with a Japanese man and the Ethiopian girl. He bought us drinks, and apparently that means that he could now grope us. First he turned to me and asked in that sickening, drunk Japanese way,

‘Can-Iee-toucha-u?’

I smiled, shrunk back and politely explained I don’t feel comfortable with that. The Ethiopian girl injected her self into things at this point and told him that he could touch her. Then I witnessed something that will probably be burned into my memory for a long time…He aggressively and hurriedly slid his hand right down the top of her dress. He rubbed her breasts in big, circular motions while she just sat there smiling and drinking. I was just sitting there watching, with a feeling of not really being there at all. It seemed like forever, but he finally left.

I was still living with my friend Hannah at the time and had mentioned the name of the club to her, it had no meaning to her at first. But I was sitting on the couch later that night, waiting and hoping there would be no more customers, when I got a text message from her. It urgently read something like, ”GET OUT of there! I told the name of the bar to my friend, and she used to work there and said it’s the place where customers get mad if you don’t let them touch you and will hit you!”

I sighed heavily and thought to myself, ‘This can’t be happening.’

And yet, I decided to stay. I had already made it through most of the night and I knew there would be money soon. However, since this night had been ‘slow’ they only paid us half, and said the rest would come tomorrow.
Which leads me to my last day….

Day 3

By this time I knew I would not be continuing this job much longer. I know, who would have guessed it? I knew that it would only be a matter of time before I got a customer who wouldn’t take ‘No’ for an answer. And in this situation I was scared to think of what would happen.
Two things happened during this night that were the final deal breakers. First, we had a Japanese man come in. He sat with the Ethiopian and the Brazilian. I didn’t have a customer so I was able to witness them being heavily groped as the drinks kept flowing. He became really drunk and for god only knows why, the Ethiopian chick started rubbing in between his legs. He got excited and of course, in clear sight for me, he wipped out his cock. It wasn’t like he pulled it out a little, he fully unzipped and slightly pulled down his pants and presented his already hard cock….laughing and trying to get them to touch it more. I then drifted back to that not really being there feeling. I was at that moment being traumatized and I KNEW it. A bizarre and sickening feeling. God knows when the Ethiopian girl or the burnt out Brazilian woman first felt this way.

Finally they got his pants on and he left.

I had a customer that night, but he was an American on a business trip and just wanted to speak English to someone. I was not really sure how true that was, but thankfully he never tried anything funny.
Next, another Japanese man came in. He got the Ethiopian girl and now the French girl. Again, the drinks were flowing, the groping was hardcore, and he was getting wasted out of his mind, he was having trouble getting the rim of the glass to his mouth. This time, the Ethiopian girl took advantage of the situation, grabbing his wallet out of his pants and ‘buying’ them more bottles of wine. He ran out of money and the owner and the girls got him to go to his ATM to get more money. Not sure what happened when they were out, but when they all came back something had made the guy mad, and they had a conversation in the front hallway for 20 minutes. I didn’t understand what was being said, as it was all in Japanese. But apparently they were trying to make him happy.

Then…
I happened to look over…
To my left was a single stall bathroom. The door was open, I could see the owner and the customer standing in the bathroom together, the customer’s back was facing me. I wasn’t sure why they were in the bathroom together for a while…until I saw the Ethiopian girl stand up in front of him. She was facing me and I saw her wipe her mouth off with the back of her hand, a neutral, bored look on her face, nothing at all in her eyes.

Holy shit…is that what I think…did that just happen?

At this point I felt sick to my stomach and a bit light headed. The Japanese customer was now happy as ever and he left all smiles.
The owner walked past me, and must have noticed that I was sitting stiffly on the couch looking pale, and asked if I was okay while he chuckled a bit. I forced a smile and said I was fine.
Soon after, I made my way into the bathroom, everything moved in semi slow motion as I took in the scene, the moist and humid smell of piss and bodies, the alcohol, lingering vomit and I turned to look in the mirror, my reflection somebody else, someone I didn’t know. When I looked down to turn on the water in order to wash my hands my whole body froze in place. There was cum shot across the front edge of the sink. I blinked a few times, turned around and walked back to my sofa. I got the rest of my money that night and never went back.

The last hostess club I worked at.

After the place in Kabuki-cho I had already started working as an ALT part-time. So I was able to eventually move back into a private apartment in Asagaya. However, money was still really tight since it was just a part-time job. So I decided to give hostessing one last chance, as I knew that if you got into a nice, expensive club the circumstances were much better. So I got a job at a club in Ginza, and it was nice. The customers were mostly businessmen and the ‘no touching’ policy was actually followed for the most part.
There isn’t anything too exciting about this club, so I’ll keep it short.
This was the last club I worked at for a few reasons..
First, I realized I was walking around absolutely hating and despising any Japanese man who I saw, especially salarymen. Working in those conditions and seeing what I was seeing, even at the more upscale clubs, I couldn’t help this.
Second, I obviously don’t enjoy being talked down to like I’m some idiot and sex-object by a complete asshole, egocentric men.
Third, and the reason I got fired from this last place, I just can’t pretend that I am in love with, or want to have sex with these men. Which, even though you aren’t expected to have sex, is what this kind of job is really all about.
The illusion that young, beautiful women want old, ugly men.

I am now a full-time English teacher and I am training for a kickboxing fight in September. And even though I have a hard time with certain teachers I work with, or troubling classes, after writing this and remembering my experiences, I realize the job I have now is the-fucking-shit compared to being a hostess.

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I am done kids.
The gym successfully brought the pain today. It was helped in large part to me deciding that I would be “rambunctious” and post a wager on facebook asking people who thought they could lose the most weight in a month to get ready for the summer/the beach/etc and, obviously I have every intention of winning this bet.

I have a real problem with gambling and thats why, by and large, that (gambling) and recreational drug use are pretty much the only two vices ever created by man-kind that I don’t whole heartedly love. I mean, by this point, it’s universally understood that I love stealing, can consume on a daily basis enough alcohol to kill a hippopotamus, have a habit of binge eating to the point of paralysis and engage in compulsive masturbation triggered by the most unorthodox things, sometimes, I don’t even know why I have a boner- I simply DO. I also have what I would regard in another person as poor hygiene, what can be considered at best an eclectic fashion sense, I’m selfish, rude, I cuss like a sailor, or even worse a Marine, and, according to a Doctor friend of mine, I’m a clinical narcissistic sociopath.  What a catch right?

All that having been said, I dislike Gambling. The big issue is not a moral one because, there is nothing even remotely morally wrong with Gambling (or prostitution), I just lose my shit and flip out if things don’t go my way. I grind my teeth, sweat, curse the world and eventually start dreaming, fantasizing of really exotic ways to mutilate whoever STOLE my money and, for this reason, I don’t Gamble.

This is why it is imperative that I WIN this stupid weight loss wager. If I don’t, I’ll have to go super sonic Jihad and light everyone on fire then karate chop an orphanage full of blind poor kids in the face. Since these are all my friends (not the orphans, but I feel bad for them), I guess that isn’t the best way to do things, so, I must win.

Win win win.

Now today I have nothing important to write about so I am just going to briefly, without frills or back story or excessive nonsense bring to light, to you, the reader, some things that I think we all just need to SAY NO TO.

Robot weddings
I’m not talking about two robots trying to get married or whatever, although I’m certain that before the end of my time comes, that will be an actual legitimate problem and I am waiting terrified, for when that day comes and I have to hear an actual person say “But, Robots have rights too!”. Jesus.
No I’m talking about ROBOT PRIESTS actually wedding two people. Really, seriously, it already happened. And can you guess where??

BINGO!

The home of Rapelay the video game.

Right here in Japan.

The four-foot tall wedding-machine, called the I-Fairy, takes the form of a seated, vaguely feminine humanoid sporting a head adorned with flowers. In spite of being made of metal and plastic, the overall effect is closer to Hello Kitty than The Terminator

…..JUST SAY NO.

Why should we say no to this, aside from it being FUCKING DUMB?
The simple and inevitable progression is as follows:

The year is 2125 and I’m Dead. I died from liver failure or I got shot or hit by a flying bus or I have been eaten by a vengeful unicorn, whatever, I’m dead. My body is in a good ole fashioned pine box and my spirit is hovering over the grave, lots of people will be there to say goodbye, lots of hot hot women who are weeping at the loss of such a strapping Alpha male…anyway….Guns N roses “November Rain” is playing over the sound system, something I have written in a will someplace, seriously, and just as the song is coming to the moment in the live performance they did for the MTV video music awards where Slash walks up on the grand Piano and rips a mega awesome guitar solo, here it comes, rolling across the grass of the Cemetery, R2D2 and right behind him is C3PO to say some words over my eternal resting place because now, these two are ordained ministers.

No thanks.

If any of you let that transpire, I will haunt you so bad, I swear to god, it’ll make “Paranormal Activity” look like well, something un-scary.

JUST SAY NO.

Teenage girls touching me
I know I know, initially based on common sense this is clearly a JUST SAY YES situation, but read on for clarification.
In my new school, for whatever reason, there are some girls that are hell bent on touching my body.
Yes, this is as pleasing as it sounds.
However there is a catch or two.
First, I am supposedly a teacher SO, it doesn’t look too good if I’m standing there while some girl puts her hands all over me, or better yet/worse yet, if two girls are doing it. I understand that they are just curious about me because….um….I guess they have never seen a man before? I don’t know. The “They’re just curious” excuse frankly has lost its fire and I sort of think that it’s bullshit. 6 year old kids out in the country side that have literally never seen a non-Japanese before and who are curious about a variety of mundane crap including book cases, watermelons, cats and baking soda, sure, they are “curious”.  17 year old girls living in the heart of Tokyo….hmmm… Their curious all right, but I don’t think their curious in the way those teachers are insinuating.
Anyway, it looks bad so I have to dodge, roll, pivot, block and stay mobile, cant have the girlies rubbing me and the principal walks by.
The next issue is a little more tricky and much more dynamic. When a pretty 17 year old girl in a short skirt with legs that go from here till tomorrow is standing in front of you smiling, positively beaming, staring straight in your eyes and putting her hands on your chest, arms, grabbing your thighs, well….Erections are a very real and serious concern. And, in case you don’t know, slacks for summer suits were not made with any options to assist in hiding a rock hard, raging love pump.

JUST SAY NO.

Because prison is something I can actually do without.

Fat Drug dealers in Shinjuku
Keep this one short.
When you are enjoying the sun, sitting at the tables outside near Barneys New York in Shinjuku on an afternoon, maybe a Sunday, and have a German beer to sip and are listening to your ipod and a fat half Japanese half American 48 year old drug dealer sipping a Chuhai that looks like he bought it in 97 and just refills the can with Vodka every morning at 1100 when he wakes up next to another phillipino prostitute comes up and sits next to you, JUST SAY NO.
Do not engage him in conversation.
Do no t give him any contact info, in fact, give him a fake name.
Do not try to just be cool and have a friendly chat because when you tell him your not interested in buying, right at the moment, some Quaaludes from him, he will get really upset.

JUST say NO. Get up, lie, say your late for an STD test and your doctor said things “are pretty serious…yep…pretty bad actually” and then get away.

Thats it for today.

Heed my warnings.
Learn from my mistakes.
Asta La Vista.

Corn Soup Confessions

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You could say that I am a Teacher (Talented English-speaking puppet). It would be more accurate to say however, that I am a part-time Teacher (see above), because, that’s what I am.   So three days a week I wake up pretty damn early in order to A) do the training I need to do in the morning and B) finish said training with enough time to cry about the cold/heat/pain while I take a shower, then stuff a piece of white bread and a can of cold tuna fish into my mouth as I throw clothing on, pack my gym bag and hope I don’t forget one of the many articles I need in order to survive my training (kickboxing) after work. These mornings are generally hectic and this is all taking place in the dark starting at 0400.

I have to be out the door and walking/running/hobbling to the train station by 0615, being late, even by 5 minutes is not an option since the distance I have to travel is so insanely far and the number of conveyances I am forced to take and perfectly time to catch just right are so overly complex, even five minutes late to rub one out before work is not really an option these days. I know, bummer. This can become a problem on a crowded train when an office woman in a tight, attractive skirt is packed into the car with 50 other people and decides to Lego lock her ass directly to my crotch.  That rolling rhythm of the train on the tracks, the warmth, the early morning, the direct contact…it can all lead to…an uncomfortable equation. Anyway, I was at school on Tuesday, shivering, watching snow fall outside as I split my time between grading the last 3rd grade exams, contemplating my existence (thinking about sex and training and movies/books I hate/love) and getting bored, then wandering around the hall in the freezing cold near the vending machines and student shoe lockers mumbling to myself. Third grade junior high schoolers have been studying English for at least 6 years and this is their LAST high school exam.  One question on the test worth five points was:

I think that having a girlfriend is good because I can spend my holidays with someone special.

The student has to change the underlined vocabulary to fit them personally. We have been doing prints like this all year so the format is very familiar to them as is the content of each question.  I was told to make this exam easy because as one teacher (Japanese, full-time, REAL Teacher ie. Talented Japanese speaking puppet) put it to me “They have basically already graduated so if you give them a bad grade on the test, everyone will be mad at you.” Got it. So Yusuke’s answer to the above question is…

I think the having a dog is fun because I can eat my dog with a dog food.

It is… snowing like a bastard outside and somewhere on this mountain within this complex of “education” I can here some gang of adolescence screaming all bloody murder.  I once told a girl, about 6 years ago, after I had  my first Japanese lesson, I had told her “Anata ha totemo Mazui desu”.  I meant to say you are very cute, but I had confused the word for “cute” with the one for “bad/ugly/no good” and had told her “You are very ugly”.  I remember that she didn’t find my new-found Japanese ability too terribly impressive. In the hall way, I stand shivering in the cold because they refuse to close the doors and Japanese schools have no insulation or for that matter heaters in the common areas so I stand there in front of the line of vending machines shivering in my suit jacket with tie and scarf wrapped around my head, plumes of steam from my breath filling the air as I contemplate infinity and whether or not to get a corn soup for 70 yen. I don’t really talk, it talks all by itself. “Corn soup Corn soup we likes it, we likes it, corn soup Mt. Fuji, we had it there. 70 yen. I have 70 yen. TITTIES its cold. Corn soup Corn ok ok ok ok ” Inside the Teacher’s room it’s silent and empty except for me and the snow is just coming down down outside.  The exam in front of me reads:

I want to meet a Girl that is fun and interesting but a hard worker.

Sami, this is a cute and sort of shy girl in one of my 3rd grade classes, she writes:

I want to meet a boy that is cool, tall a muscle and likes me but is angry at me often.

I blink and then stare at the paper cup of corn soup that sits ominously on the desk in front of me. For a moment, I imagine myself balling up Sami’s exam, dipping it in the now cold corn soup and then eating it.  I continue to scowl at the cup of corn soup. The next question on the exam reads:

Do you think Michael Jackson died too early?

Masato writes: “No, because he was very very old. : ( “

Emi writes: “I don’t know but I like his the song “But”.

Raymond writes: “Yes, because he is almost my age.”

When I finally manage to lift the cup of corn soup to my lips and taste it, I decide I would rather pour it all over my head and shit my pants  than drink this, so I set it back on my desk in its rightful place.  The snow looks like it is falling quite heavily and I pray to whoever, begging them to not let this complicate my bus schedule to get back to the “world” and train on time. I walk into the Full time teachers room to turn in the exams I have checked.  In the conference room I see a kid from the first grade junior high-class I teach and I walk in there and ask him “Are you ok?” Students in the conference room are usually there to be interrogated by teachers and forced to write long, detailed confessions about their respective offenses.  The style used at the school is a mirror image of what Japanese police do to suspects to illicit all those false confessions they are so damned proud of.  Hours and hours of isolation and talk and questions.  It reminds me of a lot of my relationships. He looks at me, slouching in his chair, one arm hanging off the back of it, his neck tie loose and disheveled, the parody of an exhausted salary man.  He used to go to an international school so he speaks some English and answers me with “yeah, I’m cool”.  I stare at him for a minute, the stack of exams in my right hand.

He isn’t even looking at me. I am transparent to him.

” So what did you do?”  I ask him, I can see out the windows behind him the snow falling. He looks right at me. “I touched a girl.” The lucky bastard. Now he smiles, and motions toward his crotch “Down there…” now he is smiling and staring straight at me.  I look at him and blink once, twice, three times.  “Ok…uh..” Well done? “…take it easy.” I say and I  quickly leave. At the gym that night, I have to run outside in the freezing rain.

Learn all the Dirty Secrets for Teaching in Japan with Build a killer robot or…? and Adventures in Babysitting: Teaching in Japan.

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