|Tadashii shinshi no otoshikata by Minazuki Sarara and illustrated Nagato Saichi
||[Sep. 21st, 2008|11:26 pm]
Tadashii shinshi no otoshikata by Minazuki Sarara and illustrated Nagato Saichi is an odd novel. I struggled to think of a good way to describe it until I read the lone amazon japan review and things clicked. The reviewer commented that the writing and the dialogue were old-fashioned. It tries to achieve an old-style coolness that works (more or less, except when it doesn't) but is just so unlike the genre it feels almost wrong.
Honjou Takashi is a divorcee in his late thirties, successful and very hot. Shiina Yoshiaki is a handsome young salaryman 11 years younger who loves to have affairs with bored older married women. They first meet in a bar when Shiina's current lover tries to come on to Honjou. They run into each other twice more and end up attracted to each other...
Their love affair runs rather smoothly because the author doesn't throw random plot devices at them and the two are quite honest about their attraction and their feelings. No conflict for conflict's sake. That's not saying that it isn't full of cliches (some of them rather lame). The words that come out of their mouths are at times gag-worthy (old-style does not always equal "classic", unfortunately) but the smoothness of the novel was rather refreshing. I also likes the switching of POVs between the two so you can get the full picture (and a lot less of the navel-gazing angsting about what the other dude is thinking/feeling/doing that can get really irritating).
Honjou Takashi visits an understated yet elegant bar his uncle had taken him to way back when he was a young man after several years abroad. He chit chats with the bartender (one of those uber-professionals totally able to put their clients at ease in an instant). He plays the piano (fabulously), then is approached by a woman. She's a married woman come with her young lover, but she asks for a light for her cigarette. They make thinly veiled sexual references (he: "Doesn't your young companion have a lighter?" she: "Oh yes, he does. One I bought for him. But sometimes you want a different lighter, you know?") until the young lover comes back and takes back his lady. Honjou is surprised that the young man doesn't seem chagrined that his lady had approached another man in his absence. He asks the bartender about the young man and finds out that the young man loves to have affairs with older married women and has an interesting personality.
The young man, Shiina Yoshiaki, is a carefree salaryman working in sales at a company that sells alcohol. He isn't attached to much and loves to woo bored well-to-do wives (and is very good at letting them break things off so that the affairs doesn't end badly). He had noticed Honjou immediately in the bar--Honjou's fabulous good looks and powerful manly aura are hard to ignore. He knows he's quite good looking himself, but Honjou is just in another league. That's why he didn't resent his current lady approaching Honjou. How could she? It's like a moth drawn to fire.
The two meet again at a party thrown by Shiina's company. Honjou is accompanied by a high-class lady, one too high quality for Shiina as of yet. He can't help but playfully approach and flatter her, however. Honjou sees Shiina working hard at the party, running around doing all the little things that need to be done that his co-workers don't even seem to notice. He ends up with a very good impression of Shiina.
Their third meeting is at a fitness club. Shiina hadn't felt like working that day and had called in sick. When Honjou chats him up at the pool in the club, Shiina doesn't recognize him at first. It's only when Honjou pulls back his hair that Shiina recognizes him. They banter, and somehow or another they decide to have a swimming contest. The loser will treat the winner to lunch. Shiina wins, so he asks Honjou to take him to a restaurant Honjou likes. They go to a very exclusive Japanese restaurant where Shiina drinks an entire bottle of alcohol (Honjou, having driven, refrains). They become very casual with each other and very playful. Shiina even cajoles Honjou to feed him dessert, which Honjou does. They very naturally end up acknowledging their attraction to each other (while not failing to note that neither had been attracted to men before). Honjou is a bit hesitant since he can't even fall back on the "I was drunk" excuse, but Shiina tells him that he can say that Shiina had been interested in his technique in bed. He just knows Honjou is awesome in bed. They kiss, which only makes them want to do more. Honjou takes Shiina to his home (they don't forget to banter in the car, however--Shiina: "Didn't you say today was your birthday?" Honjou: "That's right." Shiina: "I need to buy flowers and champagne." Honjou: "I don't need that kind of thing. You're my present, right?" Shiina: "That's such a lame line." Honjou: "Well, I *am* an old man.")
They don't rip each other's clothes off as soon as they get there. Shiina explores Honjou's home first. Only after some light conversation do they head to the bedroom. Shiina comments that it's been a while since he'd had sex in a normal bedroom instead of a love hotel. They converse about the tastes of the married women Shiina had wooed, resulting in a discussion of Shiina's tastes. Honjou notes that Shiina had never been really in love. He thinks it'd be quite amusing if Shiina fell for him. He then declares that Shiina will fall in love with him. He knows because there's good reason for it. He himself wouldn't mind falling in love with Shiina, or not. It'd be interesting either way.
They have sex, with Honjou carefully and thoroughly exploring Shiina's body. They also continue to banter (Shiina: "I feel like a fish on a cutting board" Honjou: "I'll kill you as gently as I can"). When Shiina requests a blow-job, Honjou complies. The sex continues with the statement that Honjou's technique in bed was full of new things for Shiina....
The next day Shiina goes to the bar again, hoping to see Honjou. He's quite sure Honjou will show up, and Honjou does appear. They are straightforward in their desire to have sex more. To get to know each other more. They eat dinner and go to Honjou's house again. Shiina again is amazed at how in control and how good Honjou is in bed. He knows he couldn't handle himself so well. Shiina thinks that though normally a romance with a man would be a cause for worry, he has nothing to be concerned about with Honjou. There's no man better to have an affair with than him.
At work, Honjou is faced with document after document to approve. But he's focused on a document he'd pulled strings to get--Shiina's personnel file. It lists Shiina's parentage (his deceased mother was a geisha and the mistress of Shiina's father, a legislator married with with a proper son), his educational history, his achievements at work, his surprisingly bad reviews by his boss, even personal info like the fact that he is into married women. Shiina had also been a record holder in swimming in high school, which explains why he'd beaten Honjou. Honjou is visited by an old school friend, whose wife had accompanied Honjou to that party earlier in the book. The old school friend, a sake connoisseur, spies a sake set produced by Shiina's company that Honjou had received. He is amazed by the quality of the sake (by small-quantity, high-quality brewers).
In the meantime, Shiina's boss takes credit for obtaining the distribution agreements with the very proud and distrustful brewers even though he'd only (unwillingly) signed the papers. Shiina had done all the work, building trust with the brewers and putting the whole project together. Shiina himself doesn't really mind, but his co-workers (who don't necessarily like him all that much) are mad for him. Shiina tries to get more information on Honjou by asking around the company (Honjou must have some connection to his company to have attended a party thrown by the company) but gets nothing.
Shiina's boss goes to the company president's office to present the sake set to the managing director of their company's parent company. Shiina's co-workers make more nasty comments about the boss, wondering if the boss will be able to explain the sake to anyone (since he hadn't even read the documents Shiina had put together on the products). Shiina's boss comes back looking like crap (to the delight of the co-workers). Shiina is called up to the president's office to play shogi with the managing director. When he gets to the office, Shiina is shocked to find out that his lover Honjou is the managing director. They talk about Shiina's boss (Shiina sort of defends his worthless boss) and a bit about the sake, but then Honjou asks the president to get them an othello board to play on since there's no shogi board available. The president rushes out to get the board. Shiina accuses Honjou of being too cunning by far in introducing his position to Shiina. Honjou defends himself, as he had only suspected that Shiina was the guy in charge of producing the sake set when he'd showed up at Shiina's company. Shiina understands why someone of Honjou's position wouldn't necessarily appear on the party's list of attendees--Honjou is so high up he can make the company president run errands. They wonder why the president is taking so long. Honjou wonders if the president had sent someone to buy a board even though he'd said they had a board. He comments that they could've just played on the internet. Shiina tells Honjou that he won't lose. Honjou suggests they bet on the game. If he wins Shiina will become his, to the very marrow of his bones. Shiina is embarrassed by Honjou's straightforward desire. When Honjou asks what Shiina wants if he wins, Shiina is still a bit in a tizzy over Honjou's stature in business, but manages to ask that Honjou take him to a particular exclusive restaurant in Ginza and if possible introduce him to its hostess. Honjou asks if Shiina intends to woo the hostess, but Shiina wants to meet her for business. He wants to pair the sake he'd managed to get with food by partnering with a high-class restaurant. Honjou thinks Shiina's idea is a great idea, but he wants Shiina to ask him for something personal in the bet. Shiina struggles for something, knowing that Honjou wants him to say something of an erotic nature. He comes up with asking for Honjou's car. He knows Honjou is VERY attached to his car, and just as he'd expected Honjou is a bit troubled. He doesn't want to give up his very customized car, but in the end he gives in. Shiina senses just how deeply Honjou has fallen for him.
The president returns with a othello set still in plastic wrapping. They play. Shiina loses. Shiina is shocked since he's quite good at all such games. Turns out that Honjou is a world-ranked player. Shiina is amazed that othello had world-ranking, but mutters under his breath that Honjou played quite dirty. Was Honjou getting his revenge for the swimming contest? Honjou borrows Shiina for several days because he wants Shiina to "help him out with various things." The president happily lends Shiina to Honjou, and they leave.
They head to the restaurant Shiina had wanted Honjou to take him to. The hostess is interested in the partnership and likes the sake sample Shiina had brought. They eat good food, and Shiina looks at the other set of fusuma doors in the room. He suspects there's a futon laid out in the other room. Honjou sees Shiina looking and tells him to open the doors. Shiina declines for the moment--he wants to drink more of the delicious sake they'd been served first. He drinks quite a lot and splays his body out on the table. He starts singing a song. Honjou asks if Shiina is going to fall asleep. Shiina doesn't respond, but tells Honjou to call him by his first name already. Shiina is filled with anxiety. He'd only played the love game until now--now that he's serious he's afraid of being devoured thoroughly and how he might react if Honjou ever gets tired of him. He hadn't had the time to be afraid until now. Was this romance the biggest gamble of his life? Shiina comments that he'll be good and not make a big scene when it's time to part ways. Honjou reassures Shiina that he doesn't have to think about breaking up someday. Did Shiina think that Honjou had fallen in love with Shiina and decided to have a relationship with a man without some kind of strong resolve? Besides, it's more likely that Shiina will break up with Honjou as Shiina is young and very attractive. They reveal all the cards in their hands (Honjou admits that his ex-wife and he had given their arranged marriage a try but had failed, he also tells Shiina to check the reason why he's a managing director at his age), and then move over to the other room. Shiina gives Honjou a blow-job and tries to deep throat him (succeeding only on choking). Shiina is chagrined that he couldn't give Honjou a pleasure that Honjou couldn't control, but Honjou soothes him saying he can do that some other time. They have sex as usual.
The next day Honjou takes Shiina to a small winery and to a classical concert. He shares with Shiina his dream of bringing excellence to all of Japan (with a chic restaurant for the winery and a new concert hall to make classical music something to aspire to for the young people). Shiina is awed by Honjou's vision and wonders if he can accompany Honjou to such heights.
Shiina moves into Honjou's house and transfers from his old company into Honjou's office as a secretary trainee. He will be trained by Honjou's gorgeous secretary (who tells Shiina with a wink that she's a married woman--she'd been told of Shiina's taste by Honjou). He looks up Honjou's info in a directory filled with info on top level/high class people and is shocked to find out that Honjou is actually the nephew and heir of the group president--in other words, he's heir to not only this company but to a whole bunch of companies. Honjou was much, much more than he'd ever expected. Shiina goes into Honjou's office to serve tea. Honjou is a bit suspicious as to Shiina and his secretary but Shiina assures Honjou that he won't cheat on Honjou. He's very satisfied. Honjou wraps his arm around Shiina and suggests they have a bit of "office love"--which I assume actually means office sex because they start making out. They only stop because they don't have condoms and Shiina doesn't really want to have full-on sex without them--the cleanup is messy, after all. Honjou gives up, noting that it takes preparation to have "office love." Shiina tells Honjou not to try vulgar things he's not used to. After all, Honjou didn't even want to use a love hotel before. He comments that he hopes Honjou didn't make Shiina his secretary for "office love." Honjou responds that if Shiina doesn't want him to admit it he won't. When Honjou lights up a cigarette, Shiina asks for one as well. Honjou's secretary comes in as Honjou is lighting Shiina's cigarette with his. She's taken aback by the scene and comments that two gorgeous men of different types smoking together just looks suspicious. Honjou chuckles and asks if they don't look good together. She says they do, but then picks up on their relationship...She promises to keep their secret. Shiina is embarrassed, but Honjou just thanks her. She winks at Shiina as she leaves. Shiina sighs, but Honjou pats his shoulder and comments that looks like they'll be able to have their "office love" after all, and quite smoothly. He kisses Shiina on the cheek as Shiina sighs again.
Honjou is surprised at Shiina's reaction to his lady's flirtation with Honjou.
A tipsy Shiina being indulged by Honjou.
Honjou and Shiina deciding to give in to their desires.
And have sex.
The second time they have sex. Honjou is the man.
Shiina and Honjou seriously commit to each other.
I like the play on words the title is--you can either take it as "the proper way to catch a gentleman" or "the way to catch a proper gentleman." XDXD