Archive for June, 2005

デリヘル (delivery “health”)

delivery-health Snapshot of an advertising flyer I got in my mailbox at home a while back. In any given month, maybe 10 or so similar ones show up, usually in batches — and. usually at the beginning or end of the month (probably because that’s when people have the most money to blow).

In case you can’t tell, it’s an advertisement for an outcall “companionship” service. You call the number and they send over a “talent girl” to your home or hotel. You pay according to the number of minutes of companionship you want. It looks like in the case of this one, if you want 60 minutes of companionship, you have a choice between paying 13,000 yen for a ヘルスコース (health course), or 18,000 for… a different course. I would guess that since that “different course” will set you back another 5,000 yen, you get something extra with that one that’s not included in the “health course”…

Speaking of “health”, I am told these services are commonly described as デリヘル (transliteration: deriheru). Which sounds like “Deli Hell” but actually is an abbreviation for “delivery health”.

So, since at this point I figure probably you’re thinking, OK the “delivery” part makes sense, but why “health”?, I guess I should stop and explain that (I think) the “health” is itself shorthand for “health massage”, which, the way it used in Japan, means a massage that:

  • instead of being administered by a real masseuse, is instead administered by, say, a woman dressed in schoolgirl uniform
  • involves a degree of, um, stimulation that is more than you would get from, well, an actual masseuse

So, returning to the 13,000 yen “health course” that I mentioned at the beginning: I think that name may be designed to created some ambiguity in the minds of prospective customers, to be resolved during a call — an example of which might go something like this:

Ring RingRing Ring

Staff: Hello, this is “Talent Girls”. How can I help you today?

Customer: Hi. I’d like to have a woman dressed in a schoolgirl uniform come over to my place for a while.

Staff: Great, sir. You’ve certainly called the right place. We can have a beautiful girl pay you a special visit very soon. You just need to let me know how much time you’d like to spend with her.

Customer: OK, yeah, about that: I was thinking probably 60 minutes would be OK, but I notice you have both a 60-minute “health course” that costs 13,000 yen and also another 60-minute course that costs 18,000. So I was wondering, if I pay 13,000, do I get, you know, “health” with that, or do I have to pay 18,000 for that? You know what I mean, right?

Staff: Yes sir, I think I understand what you are asking. The 13,000 yen course does not actually come with “health”. If you want “health”, I recommend getting at least the 18,000 yen course. Of course, all of our longer courses also come with “health” and I would very highly recommend one of those. But if you have only 60 minutes, then, yes, I can guarantee that you will enjoy a very nice 60 minutes with the 18,000 yen course.

Customer: I see. OK, then I will take the 18,000 yen course. But I have to say that I think that “health course” name is a little misleading. That name had me a bit confused. I mean, I know it wouldn’t make sense to call it the “non-health course” or “without health course” or something, but I really think it should have some other name. Can you see what I mean?

Staff: Certainly, sir, I can definitely understand that and I can promise you that I will forward your comments about that to our marketing department and ask them to give it some serious thought. …

Author’s note: (because I’ve been asked…) No, I am not the “customer” in the above conversation. It’s purely imaginary. I have never engaged the services of “Talent Girls” or any similar “delivery health” provider. Not that I am morally opposed to it or anything — it’s just that it would take too big of a chunk out of my drinking budget.

Where Did I Park My Bike?

Country Mouse.

For all you city mice, let this be a warning to ya.

Mountain of Bikes.

Some of those bicycles look

It seems the owner of the Family Mart in front of Nishi Tachikawa station does not take kindly to commuters using the FamilyMart customer parking space as long term/all day parking. Which is understandable. His or her solution is simple, just clear the offending bicycles out in the morning.

So be careful, you city slickers, we won’t be putting up with your modern, free-wheeling ways.

Fragrant for a Moment.

Nose Job.

I sniff. Before I step foot into the elevator in our building, I do a pre-entry sniff. Some days it is safe, other days… The most offensive smells are dog urine + unwashed canine, cigarette smoke + dog urine + unwashed canine, and rotting garbage. The little old lady who owns the dog doesn’t exactly smell pleasant, either.

The other end of the spectrum would be pizza, ramen, perfume, shampoo + conditioner, and a sprig of one of the local plants. These are all nice, but yesterday I had the ultimate smell experience. Tatami.


There are three different parts to an authentic tatami mat–the reed or rush cover, the straw core and the decorative cloth edging. In Japanese these are the tatami omote, tatami goto and the tatami beri. The tatami omote is made of a soft reed and each one needs about 4,000 to 5,000 rushes. Hemp or cotton string is then used to weave the omote together. To make the tatami goto or straw core, 40cm of straw is crushed to just five centimeters. Finally, cloth is used to border the mats.

That smells good.

The Elevator Ride: 7 Floors of Bliss.

The last time I got a good solid nostril full of tatami, I was moving out of my old apartment in the late ’90s. Unfortunately, the apartment I was moving into, my mother-in-law’s place, had carpeting on top of the tatami, so the smell was masked. This explains why for seven floors my brain ran around shouting, “What is this lovely smell?! My God, it is wonderful! Anyone got a label for this? (quizzical looks all around.) Don’t we know what this is?” Frustration.

All was revealed to me on the first floor.


Standing on the first floor with a tatami mat in his hand’s was the tatami dude. I said, “I LOVE THE SMELL OF TATAMI.” Initially, this startled him, but a big grin bloomed across his face. I followed up with, “This is the best smell on the planet.” He agreed with me and then I walked away.


Tatami Maintenance
Japanese Tatamis, a way of living

Japanese Youth and Manners

Everyone knows that the Japanese are the politest people on the face of the earth. I was completely amazed when walking into even a McDonalds in Japan and having the employees bow to me. In the trains I quickly learned to not talk to loud and turn my phone on mana- modo and if I was rude enough to answer to cover my mouth and quickly tell the caller to call me back because I’m on the train to which they would quickly understand and hurridly say “ok ok,, call me back.”

However, it would seem that these manners are quickly slipping among the Japanese youth. This however can definately not be compared to the rudness of youth in other countries since Japan is in it’s own league when speaking of politeness, but it seems that the youth are bringing it down just a notch.

When I first arrived, I was unaware that the young girl putting her makeup on in the train was being rude….

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