New alife, old alife
alife recently went through a minor renewal for its 6th year of business. I went to visit the place last Saturday to see what has changed, if anything.
Inside, some of the columns and walls are now covered with a cartoony theme, the lounge above appears more spacious but the rest was frozen in time.
If you’ve never been to alife, it can be an interesting experience. It’s the Japanese meat market par excellence.
The place doesn’t even try to make an excuse for it. The normally shy Japanese guys, there tend to run out of manners when it comes to physical contact.
Being a Japanese club it’s certainly still very safe (though, worryingly, bouncers constantly check the dance floor), but the testosterone meter is off the scale.. above and beyond.
Word has it, that alife is indeed part kyabakura as some of the prettiest girls are sitting idle waiting for someone, anyone, from the VIP areas to call them in.
The VIP setting is as pretentious as it could possibly be. Sofas pointing to the main dance floor are mostly empty. But they are taken, and you can’t sit on them. So close and yet so far away..
This time around, the VIP area at front of the dance floor was reserved for some curious types, including a man in his 50s dressed along the lines of Napoleon Bonaparte (what was all that about ?).
As usual, by 1 Am it starts getting quite crowded and one hour later it’s packed with people.
Music rotates between hip-hop, J-pop, and J-disco trance remixes. Some common tunes unchanged for years, bring moments of excitement, jumping and chanting. For men it’s an excuse to “attack” from behind.. rise your hands in the air and get closer from behind. No.. the music isn’t really what this is all about 8)
Some guys will go in couples blatantly hunting for girls in the dance floor, some work their way from behind in what I call the “forklift position”, because they extend their upper arms perpendicularly as a forklift and encase the victim from behind.
At the same time, arms become a barrier and, may you have the audacity to dance nearby, the forks can extend laterally to push you away from the “payload”.
By 3 AM the desperation kicks in. Some of the girls will be drunken beyond recognition and also sought out “preys”.
The less fortunate girls may go on the attack themselves, possibly even on some rare foreigner (what’s wrong with me ? Maybe the foreigners will like me more ?).
Then it’s important to remember that social interaction there is especially frivolous. In such a competitive environment, being seen with somebody of the other sex alone is a precious token of achievement.. it’s good to have fun, but beware of the aggressive girls that start demanding drinks, smokes and whatnot… they aren’t really thirsty or craving for a cig, they are there work their leverage.
In conclusion, it’s still the same good old alife. It can be fun as long as one doesn’t take it too seriously.