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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Burgers and beef bowls spur sex shop strategy

A well-known hamburger chain once boasted that their customers could "Get off for 280 yen". Little did they imagine that a sex service in Osaka would use this claim literally.

Shukan Gendai (9/8) notes that as Japan plunges further into a deflationary spiral, one Osaka sex shop has been inspired by recent price wars between restaurants to come up with a deal to satisfy sexual appetites.

But behind the unprecedented offer lies a torrid tale that has more to do with Kinki than kinky.

Osaka, economically the jewel of the Kinki region, has copped the brunt of Japan's decade-long downturn.

"Regions around Osaka have a concentration on traditional industries. It's weaker, in terms of industrial infrastructure and development potential than the capital area. Everything lost in the past is carried on now," says Masaru Takagi, a professor at Meiji University. "Osaka needs to drastically alter its industrial infrastructure. They've got to go all out scrapping and building. Osaka's also tougher than Tokyo when it comes to competitiveness. But price wars and discounts aren't good for businesses. What has to happen is the destruction of traditional businesses in a creative way so that growth industries can be produced."

It's there, screams Shukan Gendai, that traditionally downtrodden Osaka can rise above its more prestigious Tokyo rival because of the sex business. With women unable to find jobs at struggling companies, more are turning to the "ejaculation industry" for employment. That raises the quality of worker and stimulates competition in the sex business. It also allows "modern" businesses to supersede more "traditional" forms of carnal entertainment.

Considering such a situation, then, it shouldn't be a surprise to learn about the plans of City Angels, a new sex shop to open in Osaka next month.

Inspired by a price war where bowls of rice and beef are offered for 280 yen, City Angels will apply the same price for the services of its girls for the first 2,000 customers who visit any of its outlets from Sept. 17 to 21.

Known as the "beef and rice course," customers will still have to foot the hotel bill, but will be able to partake in the pleasures offered for only a fraction of the regular price of 22,000 yen for a 60-minute session.

"To pick up downtrodden salarymen giving their best for the Osaka economy, we're taking a huge hit," Kazuyoshi Oyama, planner of the campaign, tells Shukan Gendai.

Oyama tells the men's weekly that even paying the full price of 22,000 yen, the course is a winner because girls will also bring a bowl of beef and rice for the customer to enjoy a number of tastes. And there're apparently added bonuses on offer.

"Unlike normal sex services offering to go out to meet up at a place of the customers' designation, we've also got our shops. Customers won't have to wait around in a hotel room for hours, nor will they have to send the girl home if they get someone they don't like. Customers save time and the girls don't get offended," Oyama says. "The girls are also able to see their customers instead of first having to head off to a hotel to meet up with a strange guy who could really be anybody."

And, it seems that the women who'd otherwise be struggling for work also stand to benefit from City Angels' 280-yen sex service.

"For a first-time customer, we take half the regular fee of 22,000 yen and the girl gets the other half. But if he comes back and asks to see the same girl again, she gets the whole lot. Our establishment will make enough money to get by through new customers," Oyama tells Shukan Gendai. "With so much money to be made provided they can make guys come back, the girls are as keen as mustard."

August 28, 2001

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