Miwaku-Tekina: Whatever You Wish
Chapter 3: Additional Services
Ms. Fujimura was always the first employee to arrive at Miwaku-Tekina every day. It was she who greeted the cleaning staff, supervised the deliveries of kitchen supplies and alcohol, who oversaw the transfer of profits to the bank’s armored car off the loading dock. She dutifully tended the books, kept an eye on the inventories, and even calculated the efficiency of every last dishwasher and bartender. Nothing escaped her hawklike glare.
But her primary responsibilities took place whenever the phone rang. The instant that gentle ring sounded, she would scoop up her wireless headset and seclude herself into the main office.
The first call came a 12:03 PM.
“Good afternoon, Miwaku-Tekina. May I help you?” Ms. Fujimura murmured smoothly.
The husky male voice on the other end seemed hesitant. “Good afternoon. I would like to inquire about... the additional services.”
“Of course, sir,” Ms. Fujimura replied smoothly. She scooped up a pen and a notebook. “Perhaps you can visit our establishment in person? This makes for a more private conversation.”
The husky-voiced customer arrived within an hour, long before the club opened. He turned out to be short, but stocky. Probably in his mid-thirties, he had broad shoulders, unusual for Japanese men, and a bit of a hunch when he stood. His powerful arms and legs fit well within his custom business suit, which was immaculate even by Japanese standards. Ms. Fujimura immediately noticed his manicure and Nosema silk handkerchief, status symbols among Japan’s business elite.
But his most distinctive feature was the unfortunate scar that ran down his broad face. Long ago, this poor man had been in an automobile crash, costing him his left eye. Now, he wore a silk-covered eyepatch that squatted over his deformity.
In business, this aberration did little to harm his social dominance. But it would almost certainly cause him to be outcast from the daughters of wealthy Japanese families. No doubt he was struggling to find a suitable wife.
Ms. Fujimura bowed deeply the moment the customer appeared, and she gestured for him to follow her. The two swept through Miwaku’s main barroom, ignoring the curious looks from the Korean cleaning people. Ms. Fujimura and her guest slipped behind the velvet cordon and headed into a private sitting chamber. She shut the door behind them.
Here, there was a pair of American-style leather couches, a small table, two chairs, and a private sound system. A miniature bar was mounted into the far wall, and Ms. Fujimura now unlocked this with a tiny silver key which appeared in her elegant fingers. The lighting was soft, but not dim.
“May I offer you some refreshment, sir?” she asked, using formal addressing.
The customer, obviously uncomfortable, looked about. “Ah, no, please,” he rumbled.
Ms. Fujimura hesitated, then reached for a small red teapot. She quickly went to work.
“I’d like to discuss the specifics quickly, if you don’t mind,” the customer grunted, lowering himself into one of the chairs. “My time is valuable.”
“Of course, sir,” Ms. Fujimura murmured. “How might I address you?”
The man hesitated only a moment. “I am Haruto Tanaka,” he said unconvincingly.
“Haruto Tanaka” was about as common as “John Smith.” But Ms. Fujimura nodded once in acceptance.
“Of course, Tanaka-san,” she smiled, turning towards her customer. “If I may ask: How did you hear about our additional services?”
Tanaka’s face flickered. “The other customers,” he mumbled. “They mentioned it. I thought...”
“I understand,” the woman said easily. “Forgive me, but you do know that the services’ fees are quite... expanded?”
The two talked figures.
“That’s quite exuberant,” frowned Tanaka.
“Then perhaps we can discuss your expectations,” suggested Ms. Fujimura. She turned back to the minibar, and selected a single liquored teacup, frosted white on the outside, deep jade green on the inside.
“Well...” Tanaka said, then his expression fell.
Ms. Fujimura smiled in an understanding way. Her special customers often had a difficult time with this phase of the conversation. In America or Europe, a man could speak about his romantic or sexual fantasies in the open. But not in Japan.
“Take your time,” she advised, setting the teacup before her customer. Then, in perfect, graceful execution, she lifted the teapot and poured the tea. The gentle fragrance of jasmine lingered in the room.
Tanaka watched her, approving of her mastery. He sighed, struggling with the words within him.
“Perhaps you can describe how you would like to meet your companion?” suggested Ms. Fujimura, returning the little teapot to the minibar.
The businessman nodded, trying to concentrate on the ceiling. “Well... she will be beautiful... desirable... a unique blossom.” He nodded. “Yes, unique.”
“Of course,” coaxed Ms. Fujimura, folding her slender hands before her hips.
“She will approach me,” Tanaka said awkwardly. “Yes, she will... no...”
He grimaced, obviously squirming to express his desires.
“Take your time, sir,” suggested his hostess. “Such matters are delicate, and cannot be rushed.”
Tanaka frowned again, but he lifted the small teacup to his lips. He blew on the hot liquid, then sipped once.
“I’ve only been to your club twice,” the man confessed, shifting in his chair. “Your young ladies are the loveliest I’ve ever seen.”
“We are very selective,” said Ms. Fujimura, bowing in appreciation of the compliment.
Tanaka sipped again, feeling his muscles relax slightly. He sighed, setting the teacup back onto the table.
“Now then,” Ms. Fujimura demurred, “perhaps you can describe your encounter once more?”
“Yes,” agreed Tanaka, drawing a hand over his scarred face. “Yes... Yes, I will see her when I first arrive at the club. And she will approach me. No, wait,” he said suddenly. “I will approach her. I will go up to her and say, ‘You will be mine for the night.’”
“Of course,” Ms. Fujimura said. “Please describe freely.”
“She will be...” Tanaka grinned slightly, stealing another sip of tea. “She will be so beautiful. So beautiful. Tall, elegant, refined. Like a classic princess.” He sighed.
“If I may, sir,” Ms. Fujimura said, bowing slightly, “but it is best if you describe what your heart most desires. Your discretion is assured; you may tell me of your wildest fantasies.” She paused before adding, “Whatever you wish.”
“My woman...” Tanaka smiled, his eye becoming slightly unfocused. “She will be... sleazy. Tall, beautiful, well-dressed... but SLEAZY. Like gaudy American movie star!” He laughed quietly to himself. “She will have wonderful lips, big eyes, and nice... big...” He cupped his hands. “...breasts. Yes,” he murmured, “big breasts. Great, big breasts.”
“Of course, sir,” said Ms. Fujimura, bowing again slightly.
“I want blonde hair,” Tanaka said suddenly. “Last night, I saw you have a blonde girl. I have always wanted a blonde American. Like Marilyn Monroe. Big breasts. Blonde hair.”
“Tell me about what happens when you meet.”
“When I see her,” grinned Tanaka, “I walk right up to her. I say, ‘You will be mine for the night.’ There are no arguments. No protests. She simply looks at me and says, ‘I am yours.’ And then she does as I command.”
The stocky man sipped again. “I take her to this room,” he said carelessly. “At first, she is... saucy. Spunky. Tries to take control. Tries to swindle me out of my money. But then I grab her by the wrist.” He reclined in the chair, his grin growing wider. “I grab her by the wrist. And she cannot resist my manliness.”
“Good, Tanaka-san,” Ms. Fujimura smiled, approving. “Please continue.”
“I command her,” Tanaka went on, staring into space. “She removes her dress. She is wearing nothing underneath—nothing. When she is finished...”
He broke off, hesitating.
“Tell me everything, sir,” Ms. Fujimura prompted softly.
“When she removes her dress, she is completely naked...” Tanaka said. “She moans. Like American porn woman. She touches her vagina. She lies down on the couch so I can watch her. She makes herself pleasure. And then...”
He sighed, lost in the fantasy.
Lori could already tell that working as a Miwaku hostess was going to take some adjustment. It sounded like she would be expected to work from six PM to midnight, six days a week. Evenings could go longer, if big spenders attended. And it would take, at minimum, an hour or more to get home once the club closed.
So right off the bat, Lori could see that she needed to cancel all her morning classes. There was simply no way she would be rested enough for any lecture—given in Japanese—before 11 AM. That cramped her academic schedule... but was still manageable.
Another challenge was how to safely deal with an all-cash salary. The yen she earned needed to be deposited into the bank so she could use it for rent or tuition. She could see the suspicious looks of the Japanese bank tellers when she arrived with stacks of bills. And it was always very tempting to go shopping with all that cash in hand.
But all-in-all, Lori thought she could manage all of these problems. If she could work as a hostess girl, at least until her degree was completed, she might make it after all.
It didn’t take long to fall into the natural rhythm of the life of a hostess. Lori typically rose from bed after 10 AM, jumping in and out of the shower to be on campus for her classes no later than noon. She’d be a student for most of the afternoon, until the sun began to set. Then, feeling like a superhero with a secret identity, she’d hurry back to her apartment, shower again, and then change into a suitable dress for the evening. She and Ayaka would share a taxi, sometimes hurriedly applying their makeup at red traffic stops.
The customers grew easy to handle. Ayaka was right; these men simply wanted to feel attractive. As Miwaku’s only blonde, Lori had a bit of a disadvantage, as she stood out. There was nothing more un-Japanese than standing out in a crowd. But the customers swooned for her cheerful laugh, melted whenever she whispered awed compliments, and fawned over her whenever she pouted for them to spend just ten more minutes in her company. She grew used to, and then immune to, the number of customers who gawked openly at her American-sized chest.
The biggest problem with working as a Miwaku hostess, Lori decided, was that she no longer had time for her social life. Evenings and nights were needed to make money.
At home, Nanami and Hiyori were growing suspicious. When Lori provided a wad of cash to cover utilities, Nanami pressed her lips together in unspoken disapproval.
“Lori,” she said suddenly.
The American student paused. It was 4:30 in the afternoon; soon she would have to shower to get ready for work. As circumstances had it, Lori and Nanami were alone in the apartment’s sitting room.
Nanami fixed Lori in a concerned look. “It is not my business,” she said tenderly, “but you don’t worry about money now, do you?”
“I try not to,” replied Lori, displeased at her roommate’s tone.
The Japanese woman drew closer, resting a hand on Lori’s forearm. “Oh, Lori,” she whispered, “you aren’t working in the sex industry, are you?”
Offended, Lori let her jaw drop.
“I wouldn’t think less of you if you were,” Nanami said quickly. “But... oh, Lori, that is not safe work!”
Nanami was a prelaw student, specializing in social work. She knew about sex trafficking, slavery rings, abusive treatment of prostitutes, and worse. In Asia, stories of what happened to the women sucked into these horrible underground industries were grisly indeed.
But Lori saw a world of difference between fleecing the customers of Miwaku-Tekina and the cases Nanami studied. And she certainly didn’t think of herself as a “sex worker.”
“What I do to hold up my keep is my business,” she said stiffly. And then pulled back from Nanami’s grasp.
Two weeks after Lori started at Miwaku, it rained all day long. In Japan, rain is heavy and oppressive, and immediately the American student doubted that the club would draw many customers. But she and all the other hostesses prepared themselves nonetheless.
As the hour neared six o’clock, Ms. Fujimura appeared in the main barroom, as usual. This time, however, she had unusual instructions.
“Where is Lori?” she frowned, craning her neck to scan across the sea of hostesses.
The American student froze. “Uh... here, Fujimura-san,” she called out hesitantly.
Immediately, the Japanese businesswoman locked eyes. “Head up to the office,” she instructed, a no-nonsense tone in her voice. “Mr. Hatanaka wishes to see you.”
Lori’s stomach flipped. She glanced worriedly at Ayaka.
“Go on,” snapped Ms. Fujimura. “Hatanaka-san does not like to be kept waiting.”
Ayaka offered Lori a shrug and a look that said, ‘You might as well go.’
There was nothing to be done. Wishing she knew what was in store, Lori crossed the barroom, slipped behind the velvet rope, and then hurried up the stairs.
Miwaku’s office was exactly as Lori remembered it: threadbare, cramped, uninviting. For some odd reason, one of the electric paintings was softly glowing. As the colors pulsed and swirled, they created a dreamlike, smoothing pattern.
Mr. Hatanaka, sitting at his desk, looked up. He waved Lori in before she could politely knock.
“Enter,” the club manager rumbled. “Close the door, please.”
Uh-oh, Lori thought to herself. Was she about to be lectured? Or FIRED?
She pushed the office door shut, noting that it was set to lock.
“Very good,” Hatanaka said, rising from his desk. He gestured to the small kitchenette. “Ms. Fujimura prepared the tea. Please serve each of us a cup?”
Lori bit her lip, but there wasn’t time to puzzle over circumstances. She moved to the kitchenette. Sure enough, there was that small, dark red teapot, steaming on the hotplate. Two lacquer teacups were placed neatly to the side. There was no serving tray.
‘This has got to be some test,’ Lori fretted to herself. ‘I know how to pour tea for a man, but what about for a couple? Is there some special trick? What would Ayaka do?’
Behind her, Lori was aware of Mr. Hatanaka sitting down at a little table. He was watching her most intently.
‘Goddamnit,’ Lori swore to herself. She had no idea how to serve Japanese tea for two.
Well, she knew enough that a proper Japanese woman would never handle a teacup except from the bottom. One’s fingers must never touch the places where the tea or a guest’s lips would touch. And Japanese teacups have no handles, as do American coffee mugs or English teacups. So there was no way to carry both cups and the hot teapot in one go. She’d have to make two trips.
Trying to look elegant, Lori lifted up the cups, then glided to Hatanaka’s table. Bowing at the waist, she set one cup before her employer, then other before where she was obviously meant to set.
Then, using more smooth and deliberate movements, she returned to the kitchenette, fetched the teapot, and poured two neat cups. Not so much as an extra drop of tea dripped from the spout as she lifted up.
‘I hope that does it,’ Lori thought, returning the teapot. She switched off the burner.
“Please,” Hatanaka intoned. “Sit.” He remained in his chair, his back ramrod-straight.
So Lori obeyed, making sure to sit Japanese-style; her back also straight, her hands folded in her lap.
Hatanaka’s expression betrayed none of his thoughts. Over his shoulder, Lori could clearly see the electronic painting, glowing and swirling away. The colors were distracting.
“Tell me,” Hatanaka rumbled, “how do you think you are doing here at Miwaku?”
This was another test. In America, a new employee would be expected to gush, Oh, just great! I love working here and making a difference every day!
Lori pursed her lips delicately. “I... enjoy my contributions,” she said, bowing her head once. “I hope I am equal to the other girls here.”
Hatanaka’s fingers twitched once. His stony expression softened, just a little. “Very good,” his deep baritone rumbled. “I think you are doing well...”
Relief flooded through Lori. She allowed a smile to escape, and said, “Oh, thank—“
“So far,” Hatanaka finished.
Inside, the American student flinched.
“You do know how to charm our customers,” remarked Hatanaka, lifting his teacup with one hand. “And I can see that they are becoming curious about you. That is good. But you also still behave like a foreigner. And that is denying you repeat business.”
Lori’s polite smiled faded.
“You cannot prosper at Miwaku if you cannot attract repeat business,” the club owner said softly, absently swirling his teacup. “But I think you can establish a regular clientele here. If you are willing to accept my tutorage.”
“Please,” he added, gesturing to Lori’s own drinking vessel, “drink.”
Lori let out a slow breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. So she wasn’t about to be fired. That was a relief.
The American lifted her teacup with both hands, then politely sipped, once. The tea was hot and bitter.
The evening was still in full swing when Lori finally made it back downstairs. Hatanaka-san had spent, what? thirty minutes filling her head with advice, and she felt more than a little dizzy. There was so much to learn about Japanese men.
With some surprise, the American student found Ayaka still standing in the greeting line. “Hey,” she whispered to her roommate. “Slow night?”
“We always do poorly when it rains,” sighed Ayaka. She smiled and patted her friend on the arm. “How’d it go?”
“Huh?” Lori mumbled. Her head was still a little cloudy. “Oh, Hatanaka-san thinks I’m not Japanese enough yet. He wants me to work on cultivating repeat customers.”
“Wise,” agreed Ayaka. “In fact, I was thinking—“
The double green doors opened. Stepping in from the rain was a short, squat man, hunched over from the drenching weather. Lori immediately thought that he must lift weights for exercise, as the man had thick, powerful arms and legs. He stripped out of his water-covered overcoat, revealing his tailored business suit and white, silk tie.
The man thrust his dripping coat at Shiori, then turned to peer at the hostess girls. Lori sucked in a breath of surprise; the man had a long gash down the left side of his face. A black eyepatch covered his lost eye.
Beside her, Lori could tell that Ayaka was intrigued by this handicapped... but obviously rich... stranger. Already, the Japanese young woman was lowering her face in demure submission.
But the man ignored Ayaka. His lone eye swept over the line of hostesses, coming to rest on Lori. His glare was positively eaglelike. Lori couldn’t help but stare back.
The man smiled, a squat grin that seemed to enjoy a private joke.
Then, with an aggressive bearing Lori had not seen in a Miwaku customer, Eyepatch lumbered straight up to her. “You will be mine for the night,” he growled.
Lori felt a strange feeling possess her. The desire to cater to this man was overwhelming.
“I am yours,” she heard herself reply.