Business Hotels are the Basis of Life: The “Tragic Reality” Experienced by a Young Woman | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Business Hotels are the Basis of Life: The “Tragic Reality” Experienced by a Young Woman

Nonfiction writer Kota Ishii takes a close look at the reality of the "young homeless," young people who have lost their homes!

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Young people who have left home often hang out around Kabukicho, Shinjuku

Young women live from one inexpensive business hotel to another.

Why do these young women use business hotels, which are more expensive and risky than apartments, as their residences, and why do they live as if they were drifters?

Continuing from Part 1: The Surprising Background of Young Women Moving from One Business Hotel to Another, we will now take a look at the unknown ecology of these women.

Among the young women who move from business hotel to business hotel, there are many who make a living from prostitution, especially private prostitution.

In the case of Ugetsu Hotta (a pseudonym), she used the “P” and “H” dating sites to find customers. Once registered, she would receive dozens of messages a day from men. They would choose the safest ones, negotiate the price, meet in front of a station, and then go to a love hotel.

The market price for private prostitution for a woman in her 20s is 10,000 to 20,000 yen per client for a short session and about 30,000 yen per client for an overnight stay. If one calculates that the rate at a business hotel is 4,000 yen per night, then if a woman works five days a week and takes one or two customers per day, she can make a living.

However, private prostitution is a very risky business. There is a risk of being arrested, and if there is a dispute with a client, she has to resolve it herself. Why did she continue to work as a prostitute even after the COVID-19 crisis was over?

Even if I knew soaps were safe, I couldn’t do it.”

Uzuki explains her reasons as follows.

I have always been very bad at socializing with other people. Especially not when it comes to working at a store. It was the same when I was working at a soap, but I can’t do something that I’m supposed to do, like come in at a certain time and work until a certain hour. After a few days of doing that, I would get depressed and my mentality would suffer.

Also, when the manager tells me to do something, I panic. I know in my head that soap operas and delis are safer than prostitution on my own, but in my case, I can’t do it because of my constitution.

This is true for many of the women in private prostitution, but they are not very good at fitting themselves into a frame.

In many cases, they have some kind of characteristic such as a developmental disability or have mood swings due to mental illness, but they have difficulty following shifts, working according to a set procedure, maintaining relationships in the store, and earning a paycheck.

That is why these women choose to engage in private prostitution only when their moods are stable and they are driven by the necessity to work. The risks are high and the income is not stable, but it is the only way to live.

A young woman standing downtown (some photos have been doctored)

In fact, the same applies to the reasons for living in business hotels.

These women live in one apartment, pay a set monthly rent, plan to spend their money, and cannot socialize with their neighbors. They can also be extremely concerned about minor noises and odors.

For these people, living in an apartment is very stressful. That is why these women find it easier to live adrift in business hotels, even if they have to pay more than double the rent and take high risks.

This is also true in the following words from Uzuki: “Business hotels are much more soundproof than apartments.

Compared to apartments, business hotels are better soundproofed. I am very sensitive to sound, and even the slightest noise makes it difficult for me to sleep. So once I start living in a hotel, I can’t leave.

However, I don’t like to get to know people. I feel so much pressure to be greeted by the people in the lobby and the cleaning staff. I don’t even want to leave my room if I think they might see me. So it’s better to move from one hotel to another within a week or so.”

Uzuki has never been examined in a hospital, but if he has sensory sensitivity, one of the symptoms of a developmental disorder, he can be extremely sensitive to small noises, and if he has fear of other people, even greeting people can put pressure on him. It is highly likely that he has some trait.

Uzuki’s only purpose in life

In fact, she never leaves her room unless she has something to do outside of work. She spends most of the day playing a game called “#Compass” on her smartphone or drinking shochu (distilled spirit) she bought at a convenience store, and she has avoided contact with other people as much as possible.

Still, she seems to have a need for approval, a desire to have her existence acknowledged. The only thing she cites as her reason for living, other than playing games, is chasing the underground idol unit “A.” A is a group of girls who perform at various places about once a week, and they have a lot of fun.

A holds live shows in various locations at a rate of about once a week, and at the venues they sell expensive goods and hold photo sessions with checkers for 1,500 yen a piece. Uzuki was earning about 400,000 yen a month from private prostitution, which she spent on everything but living expenses. She bought dozens of the same goods and took 20 to 30 Cheki photos (30,000 to 45,000 yen) at one photo session.

She says, “For me, it’s ‘my’ favorite.

I’m not interested in major idols like BTS. I’m not interested in major stars like BTS. I’d much prefer unknown, underground idols. I’m not interested in major idols like BTS, because I feel like they can be a part of my daily life.

If you spend a lot of money on your “guess” and they say “thank you,” you feel like you’re alive. I almost fainted when he patted me on the head.

Oh, but you can’t actually meet them in private. Never cross the line between idols and fans. The fact that there is a barrier between idols and fans is what makes it good, but if that barrier disappears, it’s just men and women. If that were to happen, I would become afraid, so I can’t do it.

It is likely that she is afraid of a real relationship between human beings. Without a barrier between “fans and underground idols” or “prostitutes and prostitutes,” she would not feel safe in dealing with people.

There are many reasonably priced hotels for young women (some photos have been doctored).

However, there is nothing constructive toward the future in these ways of life. Whether it is private prostitution, business hotel living, or underground idols, everything is just to satisfy the present moment. Why is there no concern for such a life?

Uzuki says, “I don’t think I’m going to live a long life.

Ever since I was a child, I never thought I would live long. I never thought about the future, and I never imagined myself living many years in the future. So when people ask me what I’m going to do in the future, I just say, ‘Nothing.

This is a common feeling among children with a strong sense of self-denial. However, time moves on in reality even if the person cannot envision the future. It was not long after she turned 22 that she was reminded of this.

One day, she realized that she was pregnant through irregular bleeding. According to her, she had always had irregular menstrual periods and was obese, which delayed her realization that she was pregnant.

Already growing to 3,000 grams

However, she learned a little later that she was already in the last month of pregnancy at this point. In light of this, she had probably been aware of something wrong with her body for some time, but had simply been distracted from the reality of the situation.

Realizing that she could not escape the reality of her pregnancy, she contacted a non-profit organization she found on the Internet that assists pregnant women. She had no savings and no knowledge of pregnancy. This was her first visit to the hospital, and the fetus had already grown to 3,000 grams.

Even when the doctor told her that she was about to give birth, she could not imagine raising and living with a child as a mother. So she decided to give the child she had given birth to up for special adoption.

Perhaps this ad hoc way of life of hers is the basis of her business hotel life. The characteristics she carries with her and her character to act only in the moment are what keep her living in the business hotel.

What must be considered is that society is hardly aware that these women are moving from one business hotel to another. They are now living in business hotels, but the slightest thing can reduce them to homelessness. The local government and those who provide support should have a greater sense of urgency about the fact that there are not a small number of such invisible reserve army of homeless people in business hotels.

Call for Applications

The series “Young Homeless” is looking for people in their 10s to 40s who have no permanent place to live. We are looking for real-life experiences of people who have lost their housing, either now or in the past, such as people living in cars, Internet cafe refugees, migrant sex workers, day laborers living in dormitories, hotel dwellers, store dwellers, and people living in support facilities, or people who are providing support for these people. Anonymous or other conditions are acceptable, so please contact the author.

Kota Ishii (Author)

Twitter @kotaism


  • Interview, text, and photography Kota Ishii

    Born in Tokyo in 1977. Nonfiction writer. He has reported and written about culture, history, and medicine in Japan and abroad. His books include "Absolute Poverty," "The Body," "The House of 'Demons'," "43 Killing Intent," "Let's Talk about Real Poverty," "Social Map of Disparity and Division," and "Reporto: Who Kills the Japanese Language?

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