From hostess bars . . . to brothels . . .
In Japan, a type of hostess bar where young women serve you drinks and keep you company are often called “snack bars”. This type of establishment is becoming more and more common in China as well. In central Qingdao (Shinan Ward) that has a population of 2,500,000 of which maybe 5,000 are Japanese, there are at least 50 such bars. These are very similar to those found in every town in Japan, and have a similar range in both price and quality. In fact, there is very little difference between those in China and those in Japan. There is a set fee (cover charge), and then you just pay for whatever you drink, normally by the bottle. These would be the relatively safe bars in town.
In the 5-star hotels, it would be rare not to find a Karaoke Club. In these clubs, about twenty young ladies are lined up in front of you for you to choose one that you like. Since you don’t have the chance to talk with them, you have to rely on appearances and first impressions. But, don’t worry; if you don’t like any of the twenty, another twenty will be brought in for you to choose from.
After drinking beer and singing some karaoke, you then have the choice to go home alone, or to take the young lady who has been sitting next to you back to your hotel room. Yes, these are just dressed-up brothels!
While there is no obligation or pressure to take the girls back to your room, if a lot of the customers didn’t, there wouldn’t be so many of these establishments.
Of course, this is illegal but, especially with the clubs in the larger hotels, they have arrangements with the local police, and so there is supposedly nothing to worry about. Legally, at least.
There are also karaoke boxes where you just go with your friends to sing. These are the same as those common in Japan: just singing and drinking, no girls supplied!
The type of karaoke club usually found in 5-star hotels, and often called “take-out clubs”, are frequently used to entertain business guests, especially those from Japan as it is thought that the Japanese are hoping for and expecting to visit such establishments. As the meal ends, it is quite normal for one of the hosts to invite you to go and “sing some karaoke”. Refusing to go is definitely not good for business. So, the best thing to do is politely accept, go with them, drink your beer, and then just go back to your hotel. Well, each to his own!