A Memoir from Mr. Chen

A Memoir from Mr. Chen

A Story by Mason

The vices of a city catch up to one man, far from his home.


In my four years of living inside the city limits of Omaha, I have met many interesting people. One stands out among all of them like a sore thumb. We will call him Po Chen. He asked that his real surname be kept confidential.

Po lives across the street from me in a white, two story contemporary with his fiancé and a few roommates. He and his fiancé charge them rent to live in their basement apartment. He moved to this neighborhood 5 years ago, and in the time I’ve known him, I’ve gained the right to call him a friend.

It was a cold evening in mid October, the sky was clear and the moon shined a bright white hue. He and I sat on canvas chairs in his screened-in back porch. Po sat relaxed, yet, aware of his surroundings. He’s a small man, no taller than 5’6” and no more than a hundred and forty pounds. He wears round, rimless glasses and has a balding head. He claims it’s because of all the hair gel.

“Tonight is a good night for a bowl.” I said to Po as he blew smoke rings into the still, frigid air.

“This is my first time ever smoking a hookah, and I must say it is much better than cigarettes.”

“I’m pleased you like it. Would you accept it as a gift in return for a favor?”

Po paused for a moment and set down his hose.

“What kind of favor?” he asked me sternly. His look was wise and intimidating. It spoke life experience and struggle with hints of pain and humiliation; a full, yet young life with many ups and downs.

“I have to write a paper for my college English class. I… would like to write my paper about you, if you wouldn’t mind. I won’t use your last name if you don’t want me to.” The look on his face changed from concern to interest.

“You want to write a paper about me? Why?”

“I’ve always had an interest in people from outside this country. The culture is so different in other places and I admire someone who has been immersed in both lifestyles.”

Po managed a smile. “What do you want to know?”

 “Let’s start with your journey to America. Did it take you a while to save up enough money to start a life here?”

He began to chuckle. “To tell you the truth, it took me three years. But I lived as if I were a king the whole time. Before I came here, I lived in Japan as a male escort.”

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that?” I didn’t believe what I was hearing

“Eight years ago, I moved to Japan to find a job at a large company in Okinawa. I was going to use the foreign business degree I earned back in my home city of Chong Qing, where I studied Business, English and Japanese at the university. As I lived in Japan and learned their culture, I became fascinated by the male escorts in the clubs. I just couldn’t believe beautiful young women would pay men to go on dates with them.” He took another drag off of the hookah. “I knew prostitution was legal in Japan, but didn’t know it was anything like this. I worked on my look, perfecting my hair and my personality, and when I applied to train at a club in Okinawa called the Fat Panda, they said I could make up to two million yen ($24,000) a month or more… if I was good.”

Po went on about his immersion into the world of the male escort service. To be a male servant, you have to be Japanese, or at least speak Japanese. Po hardly looks like an islander, but picked up the language fairly well in school. He used his attributes to make his character, a foreigner named Po Tao with a cowboy hat and a chip on his shoulder.

Po Tao is a quiet and reserved man. He owns a ranch back in China, where he says, the water falls over the rocks in the stream like waves of wind through a field. Po is 19 years old, and a widower. His wife was killed in a tragic city bus accident two years ago, and life for him has been an emotional roller coaster ever since.

While he was training to work in the club, Po perfected the smallest details of his character. On a normal day, he would wear black slacks and a button up silk shirt with his cowboy hat and boots. He slicked his hair back with gel so he could wear the hat without it messing up his do. Eventually he learned that if he just sat in the corner booth with a dreamy look in his eyes, women would flock to him.

“By the second year, I was making two to three thousand dollars a day.”

The women that attend these clubs are no ordinary Japanese girls. They have money. It’s provided by their husbands or fathers and is spent rather quickly. A session can last four or five hours and often doesn’t include sex. All the business is taken care of by a monthly paid tab. Girls pay for everything; the host time, the Champaign, the musical requests and the condoms.

“What if a girl wanted to date you? Or marry you?” I asked him.

“Of course we couldn’t say yes,” he replied, “but we wouldn’t say no either. That would scare them off, and no love means no money. I can’t count how many girls fell in love with me. It was at least one every day.”

Some customers were regulars. One of the girls Po serviced went to him for over a year and a half towards the end of his time in Japan. She called it a relationship. Her name was Jenshi. She told him that she was married, and that her husband was a club owner, but he turned a blind eye to her promiscuous acts every Friday and Saturday night. Jenshi was Po’s biggest customer, but his relationship with her, and his career as an Okinawa w***e was about to come to an end.

It was a Sunday night at about 12:30. Po had just finished his shift at the Fat Panda and was making himself a cup of tea in his two bedroom apartment on the east end of Okinawa City. A knock came on his door. When he opened it, 3 men in black suits threw a felt bag over his head, and wrestled him onto the couch in his living room. Two of them held his arms and legs. He heard footsteps, and the ceramic Buddha statue being lifted from its place on his shelf. A sharp crack fell over the top of his head as it shattered on him, and when Po felt the stainless steel switchblade against his throat, he stopped resisting.

The third man removed Po’s hood. He was shirtless, and the patterned stain of tattoo ink covered his body. Po’s vision was blurred, but a familiar and feared symbol across the man’s solar plexus came into vision: the Yamaguchi Gumi Mon, the crest of the most well known Yakuza family in Japan.

“I believe you’ve met my wife?” The man said as he retrieved a photograph from his waistband, right next to his black pistol. He held the picture up to Po’s eyes, and Jenshi’s familiar face made his heart sink to his stomach. Po said nothing.

“You have five days to leave this island Mr. Chen.”

And with that, the men filed out of his apartment, the last one out knocked over Po’s $4000 dollar porcelain vase, and laughed as it fell to the ground, shattering.

“I was on a plane to the United States in two days.” He said looking down at the ground. “I’ll never go back to Japan, but I try to stay in touch with my family in Chong Qing.”

A blanket of silence fell over us. The breeze whistled in the air outside.

“What ever happened to Jenshi?” I finally asked.

Po looked up slowly. “I’m a bit tired.” He said. “I think you’d better go.”

© 2010 Mason

Author's Note

This is another essay I wrote for my English Comp class. It is fiction.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register


You have a very smooth writing style. In some ways it sneaks up on you.

Posted 9 Years Ago

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


1 Review
Added on December 2, 2010
Last Updated on December 4, 2010
Tags: okinawa, prostitute, yakuza, style, women, money, vices



Omaha, NE

My name is Mason. I love the bizarre. I love to write. I think language is universal, and if we could write poetry to be understood by the other creatures of this Earth, we would be one step closer to.. more..

People of The Sea People of The Sea

A Screenplay by Mason

Creation Creation

A Poem by Mason

Warrior Warrior

A Poem by Mason