The Visits

Each time Gianni returned to The Designer Club it was a wonderful experience. He happily handed his credit card to Miho san when he arrived, entered into the bar and began an evening of fun and conversation. Sometimes it was serious conversation; one evening while Gianni was with Kumiko and two of her beautiful friends he found himself completely engrossed in a long conversation about the bomb. Gianni had the impression this was not a subject that came up frequently in The Designer Club and further he had the impression that the girls were experiencing some kind of therapeutic value in discussing it; each of the girls told of personal stories that were past to them verbally through family about that terrible day; about grand parents who went on a bicycle ride out of town, returning to find a huge smoking vacant lot that was their beautiful city they loved a few hours before, of parents, family, children, pets, treasures that were suddenly gone. Gianni had, of course, visited the Memorial Museum and was profoundly touched by what he had seen and learned that day at the museum but sitting with his usually sparkling and cheerful friends and hearing these very personal and tragic stories broadened enormously his comprehension of what really happened, still he realized he would never even come close to a real understanding of the lives that were changed, the world that was changed, by that event.

Without noticing when and how, Gianni and the girls were laughing, telling jokes and playing games again, without noticing The Designer Club had somehow returned to it’s social purpose, Gianni was back in his new found pleasure refuge.

There was becoming more to The Designer Club than just spending time with Kumiko, it was emerging as a place of great fun, a place where all social codes could be forgotten, where a man could comfortably forget himself and happily be a fool. The conversation about the bomb was an anomaly and had Miho, the Mama san, come into the bar and seen and heard that conversation she would have probably not been pleased.

Ordinarily Gianni was something of a loner. He was generally happiest in one to one situations, groups and parties made him uncomfortable. However, frequently at The Designer Club other male guest came in and it always resulted in a very enjoyable party. Sometimes the girls sang or danced and sometimes the girls would get the men to join in the singing and even the dancing. Once Gianni was amazed to be participating in a game where the girls would blindfold one of the men, spin him in circles and yell instructions to him until he was able to get his hands on the girl of his choice. It was great fun until the girls yelled instructions that led the blindfolded to one of the other men at which time the girls would break into hysterical laughter. Gianni would never forget one humiliating time while listening to the instructions of Kumiko and her friends, expecting to have her in his arms at any moment, found himself, as the girls pulled off the blindfold, about to embrace the president of Sony, they didn’t stop laughing for a full minute! Rank and identity, very important aspects in the Japanese sociology, were normally left outside and only when Gianni was alone with Kumiko again did she tell him who these other guests were. Sometimes Gianni was able to completely forget that all these people, the girls and the other guests were effortlessly speaking English through all the games, jokes and conversation; these were extraordinary people.

Gianni tried not to be intimidated by these very rich prestigious men but he was beginning to little by little get stressed when Miho san would return his credit card and have him sign.


Gianni was not rich, but he owed no one in the world anything and made enough money to do and have just about anything he wanted. He was careful not to be greedy with his wishes; he did not wish for a beautiful house, he did not wish for a twenty-meter yacht or a Ferrari. He loved to dine out and he did it when and where he pleased. He had brought his daughter, who lived in London, over to visit several times, but all this life style was pre The Designer Club; he was not sure he could bring her again with this frequent new expense.

One day he finally looked at the VISA receipts from The Designer Club and it was always several hundred dollars for the few hours he would stay, just to come through that beautiful door it cost ¥10,000, that’s around $100. This could be a problem, even once a week could run over ¥100,000 a month. Gianni was not used to not being able to have what he wanted and he was troubled by this new reality. Put in hard language; Gianni couldn’t afford to go to The Designer Club at the frequency he would like, this was difficult for his conductor’s ego to even understand not to mention accept.

Continue to Section 5: The New Guest

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