Monday, August 23, 2004


Japan has always had a reputation as a world center of special eroticism. One thing I used to do when I lived in Tokyo as a gladiator in the singles arena was to wander now and then into the small and seedy erotica stores that dotted the back alleys of the entertainment districts in those days, places usually run by old men with whom the goods were reasonably safe.

I'd usually have my Japanese date with me as we scanned the latest and oldest apparatuses and devices "This was invented by the last empress of China, who used to wear her silver one all the time; now you can also get it in stainless steel," the old man would say, leering at my companion (rare back then, a woman in those shops) as we asked questions about the all-natural, traditional apparatuses, substances and depictions that decorated the walls and shelves, ever deepening my erotic education. "This is what knowledgeable men used to do with pearls..." the old man would say huskily, pointing to an arresting display.

This was back in the 70s, when the US was still undergoing the sexual liberation that has yet to reach its climax. Japan, though, has always known there's no need to liberate sex, which is by nature free; what you have to do is freely explore it in situ, where it belongs and is native. Japanese love hotels, for example, are museums of eroticism.

Still, you could have knocked me over with an inflatable sex doll when I saw the current thrusting edge of the business.


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