Billionaires in TokyoBy: Cynthia Dane
A Dom Vs. Domme Story
I’ve been all over this great earth for business and pleasure. This year alone I’ve traveled to… hang on… ten different countries? None of them compare to Japan when it comes to making me feel like an utter fool.
It’s not really the culture shock. I’ve been worldly enough in my life to know to go with the flow and do as I’m told when in another culture. Besides, when you’re worth over a billion dollars, certain cultural matters don’t mean anything anymore – you’re living on a different level from most of the people in the whole world.
Unless you’re dealing with other rich assholes in a culture you barely understand.
Let’s say having to take off my Valentino’s to sit down to have a thousand-dollar dinner is not something I will ever get used to. Because what heiress wants to conduct million-dollar business barefoot?
I am the only barefoot person at this table. Out of the seven of us – four women, including me – I’m the only one who didn’t think to wear nude socks or pantyhose. Even my boyfriend’s assistant Valerie showed up in classy knee-high socks to wear beneath her dress. She blends so seamlessly into the background at the end of our dinner table, taking notes and doing last minute research for her boss, that I’m starting to feel like the big fool here. It also does not help that I am not good at parsing Asian accents speaking English, no matter how good that English is.
Flawless, really. Let me tell you, I can tell you what any Frenchman or Swede is trying to convey at a dinner discussing politics. I think I’m simply too overwhelmed by the place our business consorts have chosen.
We’re in Ginza, a Tokyo neighborhood that caters to the rich and richer out looking to eat and shop until their bank accounts have taken a sizable hit. (At our level, that’s almost impossible to make happen. Almost. I’ve seen enough price tags here in Ginza to make even me swallow before signing tabs with my credit card information.) The restaurant we’re in only has one table. Yeah, that’s right. One table. Its size can change as often as necessary to accommodate between two to twenty people, but it’s still the only table currently serviced in this restaurant no one has ever heard of before. They don’t advertise. They don’t have to. They do so much filthy business that they’re probably booked for the next five years. The people we’re dealing with have a standing reservation here. They must, for us to get supper at the last minute.
We can eat whatever we want. Of course, our hosts have ordered us standard Japanese group food, although I’m sure it’s been catered to Western tastes – I’m told these people are highly Westernized as it is. I wouldn’t know. My boyfriend Ian knows them much better than I do. This is my first time meeting them in person.
I am in way over my head here.
What’s the line between a family representing their culture as a whole and simply being stinking rich assholes? I mean, if you used my family to represent all of American culture, you’d be rightfully laughed out of the building. Although now that I think about it… unhappy marriage? Check. Wife having a mental breakdown and fucking off to God knows where? Check! One child who will be in therapy for the rest of her life? Check-check. Same daughter constantly trying to make amends for the shit her ancestors did when they arrived in the New World? (My ancestors are Swedish. Let me tell you about the shit the Swedes got up to when they showed up a couple hundred years ago…) Er, half-check, depending on who you ask.
The family here goes back as far as our own families. Cumulatively, the Isoyas are worth over a billion dollars, and that doesn’t include every single share and holding in their possession… only the ones we know about. If you looked at the four people sitting before us, you’d think they were the quintessential Japanese family: father, mother, one daughter and one son.
These business-oriented families are ruthless. Granted, from what I gather some people died along the way, and these people are blood related… somehow… but it’s not as simple as Daddy loves Mommy and now they have two little heirs to carry on the family tradition. Nope. The woman whose eyes I’m staring into every few seconds (even though I thought the Japanese hated eye contact?) is the twin sister of the chairman, the man sitting on her left. On the other side of him is the heiress of the company, a woman who looks like she can’t be much older than me. I’m still not quite sure who the young man taking the older woman’s notes is. She keeps referring to him as her nephew, even though my own notes say that this woman’s only nephew is married and weighs about fifty more pounds.