The Japanese call what Yumi and Mariko "do" enjokosai.
in Japanese, the word translates into "compensated dating." It is a polite word that has become synonymous for teenage prostitution.
They clutch their Peace brand cigarettes, letting the smoke pour out their mouths, suggesting to anyone who takes a second look that they're just normal, average Japanese teenagers. She has hungry, greedy eyes that never blink but gulp it all in. Observe how she unfastens her wallet and how her fingertips pass over the bills. Together, they disappear into the white Honda that, during the day drives toddlers to daycare. Since both girls have working parents, who are overloaded with jobs and caring for their own ageing parents, nobody checks out the story. Now, let's turn to Monday morning and peek at the girls. Do you think that Yumi and Mariko will be sneaky-chain-smoking never-on-time glue-sniffing students? This time, look beyond the midnight neon light, beyond the expensive name brands clothes, beyond that reckless jump into an unknown car.
Much later, they flow back home a little wasted on Asahi Super Dry beer, in need of a shower but 8,000 yen richer. Sure, there is suspicion, but no one wants to confront it. Do you think these girls will be the scamps of the village? You will see something incredibly normal, maybe even boring.
They look comic with smudges of Channel purple metallic lipstick on their front teeth. See how she clings to her cell phone for dear life. The driver parks by the curb and flips on his hazards.
They show no outward signs of troublemaking in school.
They are sort of like the big boom version of the sex lines that were so hugely popular in States during the 1980s. " Mariko giggles and shakes her hips like she's doing a defunct version of the mambo. This body's had a baby, girl," I say and wiggle my hips back at them. Then, like all scandals, the frenzy around this one died down, and enjokosai faded again into the background.
The difference is that in the States, women ran the lines and the interaction stayed there. With less coverage and no real changes, the ignorance grew and the abuse continued.
What Yumi and Mariko do at night and on the weekends, and how they behave in their daily lives, is a bizarre phenomena occurring all across Japan, from the cities to the inaka.
No place is without these types of girls, including the town where I live.
The cell phone of choice these days is the latest J-Phone model. Small, shell pink and so kawaii, it runs anywhere between 25,000 to 45,000 yen, depending on whether you want the mini digital camera option. The girls tell me the cell phones and beepers come in handy when the "dates" want to continue the "conversations". About 10 years ago, "telephone clubs" began to open everywhere. In a desperate attempt to win them back, I wiggle my hips back and forth and shout out, mambo, mambo. "I knew you would ask," Mariko finally says and tosses her hair. Many high profile cases shocked the public, especially those where the people buying the sex where men in positions of high public trust, such as teachers, police officers, and even a judge.