Of course, I had to go the bath house in ni-chōme, at least once. But there was so much to do and I easily spend more time than not enough in bookstores or record stores. I just found out about a chain of second-hand CD shops called Disk Union, which opened the door to treasures of more music...
There was one sauna at the end of a little alley that I particularly enjoy going to since my first years in Tokyo. But the timing was wrong: it was the middle of the week so I couldn't expect too many people that night.
I had browsed a few shops selling videos and books in search of some porn manga for a friend. My search was fruitless. Friends advised me to try online.
I had spent the day seeing my little sister Yoshino and Yuichi. Yoshino is now doing well as an illustrator. She had to struggle for many years, but she never gave up. Her work is simple, poetic and innocent with a touch of melancholy. I was very sad when her father passed away. Uncle Ushida, one of my father's closest friend and fellow student at the conservatoire. One of Yoshino's earlier lithographs is hanging on my wall. I'm thinking of organising an exhibition for her in Taipei. Her face lit up when she heard that. I think it's totally possible as her style may find lots of following in Taiwan.
I bought a little book of zen for which she did the illustrations. "My French is getting worse and worse" she said apologetically. But it was still fine to me.
Yuichi and I also met in the same area. He had been partying with some friends the previous night so he arrived much later than planned. Always the little lost young man with his mind wandering somewhere far, cigarette in hand, and his deep and sensual voice. He had longer hair today, which gave him a post teenager look. We went to a restaurant to have a meal. So much to talk about. He had been working without a break. "I maybe had one day off for the past half year!"
He took out a heavy book from his bag.
"I don't know if you have this already..." It was a Leslie Kee book. Leslie Kee's work has been quite popular in recent years. Somewhere between David LaChapelle and Terry Richardson, his photo have caused lots of scandal, not just because of the nudity he likes the display, but for his sense of publicity. The man knows that sex and scandal sell, so he doesn't hesitate to cross the line. I had been curious about his work last year and tried to find some of his books, which are sold at a ridiculously high price.
I was very touched and happy when I received the heavy item.
"I bought the book (Super Tokyo, 1,000 celebrities posing nude with some Hello Kitty artwork on each picture), because a friend of mine was in it. But when I flipped through the pages, I didn't want to have another look at it again! It's been sitting in my bookshelf for two years. I'm happy to give it to you!"
My bag was already filled with Cd's and books, and I was glad to welcome that one.
"Oh I wanted to tell you one thing. But I forget each time I talk to you..." Yuichi said to me as we were walking toward the metro station.
"What is it?"
"It's about porn... I saw your pictures on a gay porn blog..."
I stopped. Was I suddenly discovering about a second life I had which I knew nothing about?
"Yes, somebody posted your pictures on that blog"
"When did you see them?"
"Maybe two months ago..."
Words failed me.
"Oh it's the black and white pictures... Someone took them from your Facebook... Facebook is dangerous. One click and it's on millions of screens..."
"I suppose I should see that as a compliment..." I replied
"Oh you're tagged in the 'hunk' section... Also many celebrities on that blog. Any sexy Asian..."
"Nothing much I can do about, I guess... and anyway, these pictures are fairly tame, maybe too arty compared to what one can see online nowadays..."
I was flattered in some weird way, but had the feeling that a big chunk of myself was escaping me. Indeed sex sells. Should I talk about my work or my music on Facebook, I would raise little interest. As soon as I post a picture showing some skin, the reactions are sky-rocketing and leave me with a ambivalent feeling. The temptation is strong to repeat the formula and I guess I have yielded to it more often than not.
Yuichi and I parted way at the metro station. I wanted to stay longer with him but I also had another friend to meet for a short drink and go to the bath house and this was my last evening in Tokyo!
My friend, was waiting for me in a small coffee shop in the heart of ni-chome. It was our first meeting in real life after a long time sending messages and e-mails, a situation which has become quite common nowadays. The place was playing Christmas songs (badly) arranged in all sorts of styles: bossa, trance, reggae, disco, Disney... The jolly season knows no boundaries!
The appointment didn't last long. My friend was tired and found it challenging to express himself in his poor English. He kept apologising while I was much too impatient to go to the bath house. I regretted to have not stayed longer with Yuichi instead. My friend left to go back home and finish some work for the next morning and I reached the bath house with my heavy bag full of books. As expected, it wasn't the high time. I made myself comfortable and enjoyed the spa area. Not many guys that I found attractive. The one who dared to approach me were the older, chubby men who have nothing to lose. I walked into the dark open room: three big rooms connected to each other, with double deck beds on one side and mattresses placed on the floor on the other. Couples were making love on some of the beds, moans could be heard across the room. Some would stop and watch for a moment, but never too long, for intimacy had to be respected, even in an open space. I felt the impulse to join some couples but the invisible walls around the beds were shielding their love-making from any intrusion.
A young man lied down next to me but stayed there motionless. I thought I recognised him as the one who was showering beside me earlier on. Tall, tanned, not too bad-looking, with a sophisticated hairdo and a goatee. I didn't move either and held my breath. For a few minutes, I observed the slow and silent ballet of silhouettes moving about the room, people stopping to appraise a body or a face, hesitate then go. One man was bold enough to sit in between me and the young boy. The boy kept motionless. I felt a hand making its way through my body. His touch, though pleasant didn't ignite any desire in me. He left eventually. The boy timidly extended his left arm and I felt his finger caressing my nipple. What follows is determined by this particular moment. If I move away, that would signify rejection, would I lie still, then he must try a little harder; if I make a gesture toward him, then the play can start. I moved closer. He unfastened his bathrobe belt.
I found out that there was a big gap between the fantasies that my mind generates and what really works for me. A person endowed with a handsome look, an athletic body isn't necessarily the perfect, ideal partner. When there is no compatibility, there is not genuine pleasure, in spite of the ideal appearances. My sensitivity to people's aura makes it more difficult to me. Hard-ons are not automatic. "The dick chooses." Nicolas once said. I found the idea amusing and slightly scary. No more waste of time on the wrong person. I shall alas, never be the almighty stallion who gets hard in all circumstances!
The boy lying next to me reached his climax quite quickly. Quite strangely it was after sex that he displayed signs of tenderness and affection. We embraced and kissed passionately until the moment he had to leave. Not a word had been exchanged. The evening was young and I still had some time. I walked around for some time before deciding to go down to the shower room. New guys had just arrived. I had forgotten how Japanese people have long days at work.
I made my way to the second floor. Next to the shower booths were the steam rooms and the sauna. A couple was having sex in one of the steam rooms. I walked around for a while until I saw light coming from under a door. I pushed it tentatively. Inside, a man on a sling with his head covered by a towel was being fucked by another. Someone had been tailing me for a few minutes. I glanced at him - young, tall with a handsome face and yearning eyes. One of the persons who had just arrived. I motioned him to enter in the room with me. We stood there and observed the couple for a moment then sat on a nearby bench and started to explore each other's bodies. The man fucking found our presence disruptive and left. The one on the sling didn't move, obviously waiting for the next dick to enter him. Whoever fucks him would do. I came closer to him and pressed my young partner to service him. The door opened and three other men came in. One stood behind me and began to play with my body. When I saw that young partner was about to leave, perhaps thinking that I wasn't interested by him, I seized his hand. I disentangled myself from the group of men and we went to one of the shower booths, closely followed by a third man, the one who had been standing behind me in the sling room. My young partner didn't seem to mind so I let him in as well. The young boy turned out to be a very passionate lover. "I like you" he said to me later.
He was Thai. The third man was Filipino. All of us thought the other was Japanese so only the basic words were uttered! The threesome was accompanied with excess of water. It was more erotic than sexual.
It was as wild as I expected, but the eventual tenderness soothed me. We exchanged contacts, not sure when we would meet again.
I certainly didn't suspect that the gay porn blog story would have a sequel the following day. My plane was to take off at 6 PM. I had plenty of time to enjoy the morning (and buy a couple more CD's). I still had not seen the Shoji Ueda exhibition Tsuyoshi had told me about, so I took a couple of hours to go to Tokyo station and enjoy more art. The gallery was celebrating the centenary of the photographer. His work was heavily influenced by the surrealists (Dali, Magritte, Man Ray) but retains an innocence and simplicity not present in his peer's works. From what Tsuyoshi said, Ueda has lived most of his life near that desert in the vicinity of Hiroshima. Watching his work gave me more courage to go out and show my own. I couldn't wait to do the forthcoming exhibitions with Adrian!
Everything was ready. The luggage and bags were packed, all loaded with books. I had all my belongings with me. I was only slightly concerned about one thing: the Taiwan government always makes sure that each of the visitors will leave the country and demands evidence of it, for fear of illegal immigration. I had nothing, except that my passport showed how often I have flown in and out of the country. Would that be enough? I also had a pamphlet advertising for the Yokohama performances of PLAY 2 PLAY in January with my picture on it. Would that convince them? I could also try to be as charming and suave as possible, although one look at the mirror and the sight of the dark circles dissuaded me from trying that path.
Eventually, I needed nothing. I arrived just in time for the boarding. I had tried another route and took a local train to the Narita airport. It took forever and by the time I reached the registration counter, it was thirty five minutes to the boarding! Fortunately I had registered online the previous day so they had to accept me. A young lady from the staff accompanied me to the boarding gate, allowing me to run past all the security control and passport check without waiting in line. Das war knapp!!! I was sweating and breathless, but I was on the plane!
If they had demanded I showed a flight ticket I couldn't have done it from my phone. That is until I realised the phone wasn't in my pocket nor in any of my luggage.
"I must have forgotten it at Kakuji's flat" I thought. How silly! As I was locking the door and about to throw the key of the flat in the mail box, my intuition had told me to check one last time whether I had everything with me. I was sure I had not forgotten anything, but obviously, I had my head the clouds once again!!!
It wasn't until I reached my home in Taipei that I found out something was going wrong. As I opened my Facebook account, I saw that 150 people had clicked 'like' on some pictures I had posted, which was very unusual. When I saw the pictures, my heart nearly stopped. Two of them were of me naked, lying in bed on my stomach, another one showed me in the shower. The set of pictures was accompanied by one comment: "Like this?" My profile picture had also been changed. The low key Raymond Huang photo had been replaced by a photo of me in my underwears lusciously cooling down on the armchair, legs spread apart. Who was the culprit? My friends seemed to have enjoyed it. Their comments were ranged from appreciative to aroused. Flattering as they may have been, I deleted the pictures. I was amused, more shocked than embarrassed. I couldn't ascertain who was behind it. I didn't imagine Kakuji playing such tricks on me. That wasn't the person I knew. But then, what did I really know? Were he and his boyfriend drunk that evening, found my phone and messed up with it? I wrote an e-mail to him but received no reply. A friend I saw the next day told me with a twinkle in his eyes that I must now be quite popular since a cock picture was now gracing my profile on some other social network accounts. Then I remembered how one man was staring at me from the train platform in a very unusual manner. Japanese people rarely lock eyes with someone they don't know. That man then stepped into the crowded train and stood near me, his back to me. Could it have been him? Was it at that moment that he stole my phone? The mystery shall never be solved.
"Why would a perfect stranger waste his time changing pictures on your accounts?" James exclaimed. The story was more comical than anything, but I slightly felt violated.
"At least now, you must have tons of admirers!" Adrian joked. "I thought you made the ultimate sacrifice to boost up people's interest for your work!!!" Yes or like the character of Tyler Durden in Fight Club who inserts subliminal images of cocks in the film negatives.
Was I unconsciously preparing for the filming of the Don't be Koi music video, which evolves around the theme of sex addiction?
In the light of the recent Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac, the graphic gay sex scenes from L'Inconnu du Lac or La Vie d'Adèle, this little incidents look tame in comparison. If nothing happens for no reason, now I feel the urge to go further.
Sex sells, a friend said. I like to say: it connects.