“The old man will be here shortly to escort you to your new room,” said Instructor O.
When the old man arrived the only words spoken were “follow me.”
Yuuto followed him out of Instructor O’s office and walked to the room he was currently sharing with Rinji and Motoki.
“Gather your things quickly,” growled the old man.
Yuuto gathered his few belongings then followed the old man to the 10th floor which was one of the two floors reserved for active hosts.
They stopped at a door with the painted number #23.
The old man opened the door without knocking and stepped inside. Yuuto followed and found the room to be far smaller than the one that he had been living in for the past 2 weeks.
There were only two beds in the room one on the left and one on the right under the bed were several wooden drawers. On the far wall in between the two beds was a flat-screen Tv hanging on the wall.
Yuuto’s new roommate was already inside the room, leisurely sitting on top of the bed on the left.
“Look what the cat dragged in,” said Pretty boy.
Yuuto let out a loud sigh of relief when he saw that his new roommate was someone he already knew.
“Yeah, nice to see you too,” replied Yuuto.
“I hope you two can get along with each other and not cause any trouble for me. Both of you will be working the same shift so there should be no problems with someone interrupting your sleep.
Yuuto, you need to make sure you’re ready for tonight’s meeting before the club opens. Tonight you will finally be able to start paying off your debt and pay for your rent and food,” said Kentaro.
He exited the room leaving only Pretty boy and Yuuto in the small room.
“So it looks like we are going to be teaming up together, at least for now. Let’s keep our friendship strong,” said Pretty boy as he held out his hand for Yuuto to shake.
“So how is it being a host? Is the work hard? Are the customers nice?” asked Yuuto after shaking Pretty boy’s hand.
“I wouldn’t know. If you’re a new host you’ll be stuck doing the crappy jobs like cleaning the bathroom, helping the other hosts clean the clubrooms, and the kitchen. You have to make sure everything is set and ready for the club to open.
When the club does open, we new hosts have to go outside and invite and persuade the ladies on the streets to come to our club.
You won’t be getting paid much until the Old man decides to let you greet and entertain the ladies in the club. You’ll get the full details at the meeting in a few hours before we start working.”
Yuuto and Pretty boy continued to talk with each other getting caught back up on things that had happened to them while they hadn’t seen each other over the past two weeks.
Later, they turned on the TV and watched some anime until it was time for the meeting.
Yuuto followed Pretty boy as they walked through the hallways and down the stairways until they reached a medium-sized room on the 3rd floor.
Inside the room were two rectangle tables joined together end to end with several chairs placed on both sides.
On the wall was a dry erase board with the names of all the active hosts.
They were listed in the order from the top to bottom with the best host at the top and the worst at the bottom. A number was next to each name recording the amount of cash they had earned the club so far this month. Yuuto’s name was not on the board yet.
On the table was a paper for new hosts, there was only one question on the paper asking for the name he would be using while working as a host.
Yuuto thought about it for a while and then wrote down the name ‘Yasuo’.
The other hosts filtered into the room and sat down. A few minutes later the old man opened the door and walked to the head of the table next to the dry erase board.
“For those of you who are just joining us today I’ll quickly explain how things work around here as well as a few rules,” said Kentaro as he looked at Yuuto.
“All new probationary hosts will be in charge of cleaning the bathrooms and helping the other host with setting up and cleaning the club room. You need to make sure everything is ready before the club doors open.
When we open the doors for the customers, all probationary hosts will go to the streets to invite and lead customers to the club.
If you try to escape and do not return to the club after work hours are over, there will be no second chances you will be fired,” said Kentaro. He waited a few seconds before speaking again to let the words sink in.
“You will be paid a flat 5000 yen a night as base pay. If you bring in a client, you will be immediately paid 5000 yen for each client brought.
When you pass probation, you will be allowed to host customers in the club. You will receive your base pay plus 30% of the alcohol and food sales your clients make.
If you can make it to the top and become the number one host you will receive 40% of what your clients spend.
More guidelines will be given when you start hosting.
As for some basic rules, I expect everyone to be wearing the suits provided when you are working. You are to keep your suits and yourself presentable at all times while you are working.
I do not tolerate drama between workers. I expect you to act like adults and work together.
Lastly, no host is above going to the streets to get customers on slow nights. Now go get the club ready to be opened tonight.”
With the end of the old man’s speech, everyone stood and bowed to him before leaving the room.
Yuuto walked with Pretty boy to the cleaning supply closet that was just down the hallway to gather supplies for cleaning.
At the closet, Yuuto was handed a pair of yellow rubber gloves, a black rubber cleaning apron, and an air filter mask.
“Trust me, you’ll need these, it’s not pretty inside the bathrooms. It’s like germ warfare inside the bathroom after a night of heavy drinking and eating,” said Pretty boy.
Then they each put their cleaning gear on and picked up their buckets that had several sponges, washcloths, and a few bristle scrubbers.
In Yuuto’s other hand, he was holding a toilet scrubber, while Pretty boy was pushing a mop bucket on wheels with the mop inside.
Now that they were properly armed to fight, they charged valiantly into the nearest bathroom ready to do battle.
“Retreat commander, it’s too much, we’ll be wiped out!!” said Yuuto, whose voice was muffled due to his mask.
The smell was horrible even while using a mask. There was puke everywhere, in the sinks, the toilets, on the walls, and floors. It was so bad it almost made him want to puke as well.
“This is only the first bathroom, we still have another one to do. You better get used to it, we will be doing this until we get done with probation,” said Pretty boy as he began working on cleaning up the mess.
They spent the rest of the hour mopping floors, scrubbing the sinks and toilets, and wiping down walls and counters with industrial-grade disinfectants.
When finished they took the tools and protective gear back to the supply closet where they rinsed everything off using the water hose.
Yuuto and Pretty boy then walked to the club room where the rest of the probationary and low ranked hosts were cleaning and setting up for the night.
It was Yuuto’s first time seeing the club room. The room was dimly lit with artificial candles in glass bowl containers, along with flashing strip lights on the ground. On the walls, there were a few shelves holding odd pieces of artwork that were lit up.
Near the entrance was an L shaped bar. On the wall behind the bar were the pictures of the top ten hosts with their hostname and their rank under their picture. It was a form of advertising to customers as well as a motivational goal for the host to work hard so they could reach the top ten and get their picture placed on the wall.
Further into the room were the booths with small flat-screen TVs hanging down near each table.
At the back of the room was a large number of couches and a dance floor that was raised a few feet above the rest of the club’s floor. There were multiple microphones and a large screen for singing karaoke as well as a disco-ball that changed colors to the beat of the music.
Right now the room was bustling with hosts wiping down chairs, tables, and the counters, while the rest were setting the tables that had been cleaned.
“What an interesting room,” Yuuto commented after taking in everything.
“It’s Nothing much when you get used to it. They probably haven’t vacuumed yet so we can do that when they finish wiping down everything,” said Pretty boy as he went to find the vacuum cleaners.
“You go over to the dance floor and start from over there, I will start here,” commanded Pretty boy.
Twenty minutes later they were finished vacuuming and the club was sparkling clean and ready for the doors to open.
Yuuto followed Pretty boy and the other hosts as they walked to the locker room to freshen up and change into their work suits.
When Yuuto looked at Pretty boy in his suit he cursed under his breath.
Pretty boy had leveled up!! He was now Pretty boy v2.0 while wearing his black suit.
“What are you staring at me for?” asked Pretty boy v2.0.
“Go die, Pretty boy v2.0,” said Yuuto.
“What are you talking about?”
‘Oops,’ thought Yuuto. He ignored the question and asked, “So what are we supposed to do next?”
Pretty boy checked Yuuto’s black suit to make sure everything was okay before answering.
“Right now all probationary hosts can go to the kitchen to eat a quick meal. Most of the time it’s a random soup and sandwich. I suggest you eat now because when our shift starts we’ll be outside most of the night with no break until the shift is over. The non-probationary hosts don’t have to worry about when they eat since they eat and drink all night with the customers.”
“Then let’s go eat and drink something before we have to go out,” said Yuuto.
They walked to the second floor and entered the kitchen in search of dinner.
On a silver metal counter, there were several plastic lunch trays with bowls of soup and sandwiches cut into two triangles.
Yuuto and Pretty boy each picked up one of the trays and went over to a corner of the kitchen where there were two small square metal tables with four chairs around each one.
Their meal for the night was a vegetable soup with a few thin noodles added. The sandwich was a basic cheese and ham combination.
“Here use this,” said Pretty boy as he handed Yuuto a paper bib to protect his suit while eating.
The table had some basic condiments placed on it so Yuuto found the bottle of ketchup and added it to his dry sandwich making it more edible.
When they finished eating, they walked down to the 1st floor where they waited at the front door with the few other probationary hosts who would be gathering clients from the streets. The doors would automatically unlock when it was time for club Winter Night to open.
With a loud thunk and click, the front doors unlocked themselves signaling the start of Yuuto’s first night as a probationary host.
“I’ll try and help you out tonight,” said Pretty boy as he slapped Yuuto on the back.
Together they went outside, breathed in the night air, and started to walk down the streets of Shinjuku that were lit by billboards, signs, restaurants, and bar lights.
The streets were loud and teeming with people out enjoying shopping, eating, and drinking at the many bars.
This was the nightlife of Shinjuku.
“Okay Yuuto, let’s test your skills and see if you can catch any fish,” said Pretty boy.
Yuuto walked up to a passing middle-aged lady and called out to her, “Hello, I’m a probationary host…”
“No thank you,” said the lady as she kept walking without looking at Yuuto.
On his next try, a group of girls was walking by and he tried to talk to them, “Hello, I’m trying to recruit….”
“We’re not interested.” said one of the girls briskly as they walked by.
Pretty boy was laughing at him. “That’s all wrong. The way you’re approaching them screams that you’re a novice. That’s not going to get them interested in coming to the club. And your last try, you sounded like you were a salesman trying to sell something or a shifty person trying to recruit girls to take pictures or videotape them. That’s a major no, and you also need to stop sounding so needy.
There are several things you must consider before walking up to a possible customer, are they in a rush or meeting someone, are they too drunk to want to go to the club, do they even want to be talked to, and lastly can they afford to pay for food and drinks.”
“I see… this is a lot harder than I thought it would be,” said Yuuto.
“Now that I’ve given you some tips, I’m going to go start working elsewhere,” said Pretty boy before leaving Yuuto and walking over to the opposite side of the street to get to the people on the other side.
“That’s all you’re going to say? That’s not much help,” shouted Yuuto at Pretty boy’s back.
With a huff, he went back to trying to persuade potential customers to follow him to club Winter Night.
He was repeatedly shot down, some of the replies were extremely rude while other reactions were just cold replies. A small portion of the people he called out to, apologized and said that they were too busy.
Yuuto watched as many of the girls that had rejected him all seemed to be picked up by other hosts from different clubs.
That stung a lot.
It wasn’t long before Pretty boy came back over to where Yuuto was. He had a girl hanging on his arm and gave Yuuto a thumbs up and said, “Keep trying you’ll get better.”
Yuuto didn’t see him for the rest of the night as he persevered in his search for his first customer.
With the morning sunlight now shining down on the streets the neon signs, as well as the bar and restaurant lights were all being turned off.
The people on the streets changed from the drunk and sloppily dressed people out for the nightlife to the fresh and clean suit-wearing office workers busily walking to the train station to get to work.
Yuuto let out a long sigh. On his first night of work, he was unable to get any customers to go to the club.
He looked at his watch and saw that it was 7 am, time to return to the club.
He was hungry and his feet were killing him. All he wanted to do was eat something and then go to sleep. As he walked to the club, he picked up his pace spurred on by the thought of food and sleep.
He was greeted by Pretty boy at the front doors.
“Not much luck huh? We have to go to the staff room and do the end of shift meeting before we can eat and sleep.”
The meeting was quick, it was only held to add up the money people had earned for the night and write down the results next to their name on the dry erase board.
There were several names at the bottom of the list that had little to nothing tallied.
Yuuto and two other names were added to the list and a big 0 was placed next to his name.
The people who earned money for the first time were applauded by everyone for a few seconds.
Then the meeting was over just like that and it was time to go to the locker rooms to shower, and then change back into their regular clothes.
The people who hadn’t eaten breakfast, headed to the cafeteria on the 6thfloor.
Yuuto sat with Pretty boy as he tore through his food devouring it quickly.
After eating as well as taking a shower he was now feeling extremely drowsy and walked half asleep to his room he shared with Pretty boy and flopped down onto his bed falling asleep immediately.