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Stayed in Shinjuku for about 5 days on business. After being entertained and dining out with my business associates, I would explore the local scene in nearby Kabukicho. (I could have asked by business associates about some hot spots but my situation asked for some discretion so I didn’t ask)

Kabukicho is about 5 minute walk from my hotel Intercontinental. There are hundreds of people walking the streets, many in 3 piece suits, young girls, street hawkers etc. I later learned that you have to be careful in that area, as it is controlled by organized crime types.

In fact, I had a close call in one establishment. I entered into it, and then suddenly this European male started to speak to me in Japanese, (I look like Japanese). I told him I only speak English and he told me to leave immediately because this place will rip you off. They’ll take your money and then nothing will happen. No girls. Just big Japanese guys waiting for you to leave. Had it not been for him, I could have lost a lot of money. Throughout the whole evening, I saw him standing in front of the establishment warning people not to go in.

I’m sure, the above is the exception, but it demonstrates it is better to go with a local Japanese to take you around.

Not knowing where to go exactly, I ended talking to some male street hawkers. One, looked like a decent older gentleman who spoke good English. He said he could take me to a Japanese girl who spoke English.

Winding thru some back roads, up a small elevator to the seventh floor, I ended up in a Karaoke bar. He confirmed with the Mamasan that there was a girl who spoke English.

I sat down and the minimum charge is 10,000 yen to the bar and 30,000 for the girl. After some small talk, we leave and take a taxi to my hotel, where she stays with me for 3 hours. As you may know, girls look good in dim light but in full lighting, their age shows up. My girl was only average and for about $350.00 I would have expected higher quality. It turns out she is Japanese having grown up in Hong Kong. Not exactly Japanese. In fact, I always got the feeling that she was waiting for an opportunity to rummage in my wallet.

Overall, if you are on a budget, be more discriminating and patient. And try to get a local you can trust to show you around. It can save you a lot of money and time.

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