New Year’s cleaningBill's Briefs Thursday, January 19th, 2017
Social Chaos: Bill's Briefs
Before I left for my yearly visit to Japan, my home for 40 years, I engaged in the traditional New Year’s house cleaning, a custom I follow as religiously as my resolution to lose 10 pounds.
A hard look at my “must keeps” instantly reminded me of my father’s comment, “If you have a closet, you will fill it.” I agreed and shutting my eyes threw out my prized stack of floppy discs. College term paper essentials came next, the White-out and ream of Erasable Bond still usable. A major pause resulted from a huge box of photos. There I am in my bell-bottoms, smiling and youthful, but an appalling number of people, events and locations drew a blank. The handsome youths should have stirred some memories, but alas, all I could think of was how old their grandchildren must be.
After the snapshots, I condemned to the dumpster a foot-high pile of “Japanese in Three Weeks” type books. Next came the large bookcase of VHS art films featuring male stars of the ’70s and ’80s. Somehow I became diverted and decided a careful culling was needed before destruction.
Upsetting, but necessary was discarding my 40 years of matchless lesson plans, brilliant lectures and, most painful of all, a public speaking textbook scheduled to be published, but canceled; rendered out of date by the computer’s invasion of traditional techniques.
Handling the clothes closet was less traumatic: We all know the San Diego weather is the major cause of snugness, therefore lots of fab outfits got tossed and my Nehru jacket too. A painful start with a lot more waiting for my return. As Plato (maybe Napoleon) said, “ A new broom sweeps clean.” For you too. Get busy.
Tokyo’s lesbian scene
Seniors with a little extra money and a lot of extra time often visit Japan. Sadly, the LGBT presence there is seldom acknowledged. A few drag queens and transexuals are on TV, but never anyone masculine or lesbian. Job and family reasons keep the majority in the closet, especially seniors. Furthermore, men over 35 are invariably married with the obligatory two children. Women have a little more freedom to be unmarried, but not much.
In spite of that and the public pretending otherwise, things are jumping in the gay areas. Note I did not say gay-lesbian areas. Fear not, the women’s scene does exist though it seldom publicizes itself or its establishments. The gals seem to prefer staying at home so their bars are limited and difficult to spot in the crowded and famous “night zone” Ni-Chome (section two) of the Shinjuku area. The bars I once knew are now closed, so check the guide books, google, lesbian magazines and hookup sites. Eventually a connection will tell of a welcoming location.
Probably they will insist on escorting you. Why? Because the city of 13 million has no street names (!), also the bar sign may be in Japanese. You’ll meet up at the nearest subway station’s Starbucks and then it’s off to be introduced to some new friends. It’s part of the adventure and guys have to do the same.
If all else fails, get to that section which abounds with our community members, smile, look lost and say, “Lesbian bar?” Some will panic at speaking to a foreigner, but others will help and even lead the way. Once inside, you will find women with enough English to fill you in on what’s happening.
Go. You’ll come back with a story to tell.
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