I have an attitude declaring that when abroad going to museum is a great way to understand a city and the culture of a country. I should honestly add that going to a gay sauna is another way to have an unfiltered idea of what people do and like. Culture and sex are intertwined.
I spent some days in Tokyo with friends last year: we followed the book of things to visit, the markets, the restaurants, the stores, the temples, the museums, the streets. I stole a couple of hours for myself and went to 24kaikan sauna, in the Shinjuku area, which seemed quite popular on Google. It was an utterly and completely different experience from any other sauna I’ve ever been. It was a first time in many ways, It made me feel the country. it was probably the most sensual place I have ever been in my life.
First, the place has a sign which is quite visible from the street, something unusual compared to the saunas around Europe. Then, even if I had read the instructions online, I felt confused for the first 15 minutes, which is basically the rule in Tokyo for every first time you are doing something: even ordering food or taking a train. I stepped into the place with my shoes, but no, big mistake, guests are supposed to take them off immediately, not even one step inside. Then I tried to wear my flip flops (as people do in London, Munich, Rome…), but no, again I was reproached by the man at the counter: barefoot is the rule everywhere inside. The place is more clean than my house, if you are wondering.
I put only my shoes in a small locker (a coin is needed to get it closed) and when straight to the counter to buy a ticket. Another mistake: tickets must be bought by a machine in front of the counter. Everything is automatic. When I had a ticket, then finally the guy at the counter took the key for the shoes, gave me another key for the dressing room and a bag with a small towel, a bigger towel (not so big for European bodies) and a small bathrobe with the name of the place on it. Never had so much choice of dressing in a sauna.The very few not Japanese guys prefer to wear the towel, the Japanese definitely the bathrobe.
There are no showers and particularly no semi dark places for showers. Cleaning is a serious stuff in Japan and there is a neat row of stools where everybody sits and washes his body with hot water and soap in front of a mirror. It could almost be a place where people get purified before entering into a temple, apart that here people are completely naked. It is a big and well lighted room, with the washing area next to the whirlpools, at the second floor. We are in Japan, so it is a multi-floor building, of course, and a lift is available to go till the 7th floor! On the top floors there are private and expensive rooms, where just a few people want to go.
The sauna area is quite average, not particularly big, nor peculiar of the Japanese style. What really blew my mind away was the cruising area at the third floor. No videos with porn at the walls – they are in a separate room where you can lay down and watch them. The cruising area is made of 3 big adjacent rooms with beds and bunk beds. I cannot explain the totally unique sensation it creates and the thrills it gave to me. I found myself walking among people laying comfortably down, someone hinting their sexual preference, others sleeping – it is so Japanese sleeping in public places, exhausted by the day, even in place where people have sex next to them. Then of course there are couple making out in bed, which is at the same so incredibly more intimate and sexy then in the cabins in Europe. It is like peeping into a bedroom where a couple is having sex, but in fact there are dozens of couple fucking at the same time. You could spend hours just watching real sex, or amateur porn if you prefer: is it porn or making love? The exhibitionist couples choose the single beds (which are in fact single beds all in a row, so it is more like a bed for 5 couple at least), the very exhibitionist ones go on top of the bunk beds, where everybody can watch them, touch them and even join if they let them. I saw so many couple having anal sex, mostly young guys being fucked by older men. I wonder if it is again something of the Japanese culture, those boyish, skinny, hairless guys that lay down and get fucked by much older men which whisper in their ears while penetrating them. Tenderness and pain at the same time, from what I could hear and understand.
My sexual intercourse started with an act of kindness. I met another western guy, mixed-race, and we smiled at each other with the instinctive feeling of empathy that only lack of certainty can provoke in two strangers. We commented silently the uniqueness of the place we were in and it came completely natural to start touching our nipples and kissing gently. He was much younger than me, with lovely curly hair and a bit chubby. I’m not sure I would have felt an interest in him elsewhere, but there I couldn’t help desiring him. He took my hand and drove me to the bottom of the beds, next to a couple and a man sitting alone. Making out was the most natural thing we could do.
We both enjoyed foreplay and it seemed to me we spent hours just kissing, playing with nipples and caressing every part of our bodies, letting other guys watching us. I remember someone kissing my feet. Then things went in a way that he was over me, so I open my legs and let him fuck me. His cock was not too big, so I could enjoy it without pain. I came when he was inside of me, while he was kissing my neck with passion. He came later, jerking off. Everything was sensual, voyeuristic and intimate at the same time. We even kissed goodbye before departing. Someone was snoring nearby, some couples were having sex, many guys were walking.
I went downstairs and washed my body with calm and pleasure, then I dressed up again and finally went out, meddling with the Tokyo crowd, feeling happy and clean and desirable.