This story can only be found bundled with the Erotic Novella “Love Across the Miles”
I came to Tokyo in the Year of the Snake, with the vague intention of doing research for my doctoral dissertation. When my informant fell through, I was left with an expired student visa, and over a thousand dollars in debt. I took a job waitress at a seedy hostess bar in Kabukicho called Papillon.
Kabukicho was a hot bed of sex clubs and mob activity, but the bar where I worked paid well and let me drink for free, and booze was about the only thing I cared about at that point.
The thugs who frequented the bar were known as chinpira. The chinpira wore cheap suits in hideous shades of purple, red, and yellow, their hair teased into frizzy orange perms. They were low-ranking yakuza, missing teeth and bits of fingers. They were lecherous and rude, never tipped, sprayed me with spittle when they insulted me in torrents of Osaka-tinged Japanese. They never seemed to make it past the age of 30. I didn’t mourn when I found out that certain individuals had been busted by the police. There would be a fresh wave of over-eager 18-year-olds in less than a weeks time.
Daisuke was 35, hovering somewhere towards the middle of the yakuza hierarchy. It seemed improbable that a yakuza of Daisukes caliber would bother to penetrate the cramped confines of Papillon, but it was also difficult to believe he had ever been a chinpira. Perhaps the seven years he’d spent in prison had refined him, his jail cell like the proverbial oyster lovingly polishing the secret pearl tucked away inside.
Daisuke’s fingers were long and slender, fully intact, though he was missing the small toe from his left foot. He wore a full body tattoo concealed beneath his cream-colored linen suits, carp and dragons inked in lurid shades of red and blue. He was soft spoken and polite, and I had to repeatedly remind myself that this was an evil man whose money came from murder and extortion. I knew about his obsession with fucking white women. I knew he had come for me. I did not care. I graciously allowed him to pay my debts, wine me, dine me, and fuck my brains out. One does not mess around with the yakuza.
Daisuke was a gourmet when it came to both women and food, his tastes running towards expensive shellfish. Every night Daisuke took me to a different restaurant with a new specialty to try. During this time I developed a taste for hot sake, the culinary enabler. Mild drunkenness allowed me to bypass my gag reflex and enjoy the erotic intrigue of Japanese food. It all seemed vaguely perverse, yet prepared to obsessive standards of beauty and cleanliness. Certain foods reminded me distinctly of sex: a gummy fermented substance known as natto stunk like unclean genitals. Viscous tororo starch, served over noodles, was white and sticky like come. Powdery soft mochi cakes made from pounded rice had the silky weight of a testicle.
Eating these things made me feel as though I was a culinary whore, being mouth fucked by one strange flavor, odour, consistency after another.
Everything was eaten raw, served with horseradish, pickled ginger and strong liquor in order to combat the ill effects of any parasitic micro-organisms hiding in the muscular striations of fish meat. The danger of food poisoning or tapeworms loomed perilously near, yet never close enough to be perceived as a real threat. As long as Daisuke was picking up the bill, he ordered and I ate shamelessly.
At a family-owned izakaya in Asakusabashi, we ate slick pink pregnant female shrimp, belly bulging with shiny black caviar, spindly legs and antennae jutting out at random angles. I fought the urge to scrape off the gelatinous eggs and eat the otherwise innocuous shrimp on its own, but consumed the delicacy whole, enduring the chitinous crunch of the tail, savoring the creaminess of the flesh, the hundred tiny eggs that popped in my mouth and got caught between my teeth.
While we ate, Daisuke told me about the first woman he’d made love to, a naive peasant maid, “the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen.” They’d sneak off at night to fuck in barns and fields. When she’d discovered she was pregnant, she’d killed herself to protect the honor of her family. He’d fucked her one last time as her body convulsed from the poison she’d eaten, mixed into sweet bean cakes, her spasming body ripping the orgasm from Daisuke’s loins.
“I could have kissed her,” he said. “The poison from her mouth would have killed me, our sin would have been wiped clean. But I didn’t. Now you know why I am a criminal.”
Daisuke related the tale with fond nostalgia. I took another sip of bracing shochu, liquor made from the clean wheat in the peasant fields where Daisuke had lost whatever semblance of innocence he’d once had, and ate another.
A week later we had fresh spider crab, eaten cold with lemon at a fancy restaurant in Ebisu. Daisuke told me what he’d done that day – breaking all ten fingers of a man who’d defaulted on his loans – as we snapped the spindly crab legs one by one, teasing out the red and white flesh with picks and scissors. When we had picked the crustacean clean of meat, there was an elaborate ritual of sucking out the muddy brains, then sipping hot sake from the bare shell.
At a bar managed by an Australian surfer in Hibiya, we drank cold Sapporo beers and slurped fresh Uni, the slimy orange innards of the sea urchin divested of its spiky purple shell. Each glob was daintily served on an edible green leaf, to be grasped by chopsticks quickly before it dripped to the table like fluorescent snot. Daisuke told me about the special sushi restaurant he went to, to celebrate his release from prison five years previous. He called it “sushi in the raw”, sashimi served off the supine bodies of beautiful naked women. The women shave their entire bodies and bathe in ice water beforehand, in order to lower their blood temperature by a degree or two. Then the raw fish is arranged artistically on the chilled body of the human serving tray. He’d said he’d never been so aroused. His erection was so hard it pained him. And they’d eaten his favorite, an exquisite tuna with fresh roe.
I asked him if he’d fucked the girl afterwards. He seemed appalled. She wasn’t a whore, he said, just a serving tray. Her flesh was cold; it would have been like fucking a corpse. He preferred the warm-blooded women in Kabukicho, their wet mouths slicked the color of fresh tuna sashimi. They call adult video stars maguro, he said, because of the way a lubricated vagina looks shiny red like slabs of raw tuna.