Esinem plies his trade in the UK and the EU and has made it to the Far East now on two different occasions. He just finished up an intensive course with Osada Steve and also managed to squeeze in some visits to various SM live shows and events as well as to the lairs of Tokyo’s cruelest mistresses. But those things were nothing compared to an ordinary-looking Korean restaurant in Shin-Okubo. — KJ
KABUKIJOE: I guess this was your second visit to Tokyo. When did you come the first time and what did you do on that occasion?
ESINEM: My first visit was last year for a month from late April to late May and was for a combination of reasons. Firstly, to fulfill a long held ambition to visit Japan, which has fascinated me for a long time. I was able to see a little of the country including Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, Nikko and Hiroshima, culminating in a two-week stay in Tokyo. Fortunately, I have friends here and came with a couple I know from London, Dave and Kazayu, who were able to show me around. Whilst in Kobe, we stayed with Kazayu’s mother so I experienced Japanese home life first hand, rather than merely a tourist’s perspective. Another of my reasons for coming was to study shibari with Arisue Go and to check out the SM scene.
What do you think of Tokyo overall?
I love Tokyo and its split personality. On one side, traditional, beautiful and serene — shrines, temples, kimonos. On the other, modern, fashionable, hectic, high-tech and with eye-jarring colours. It’s hard to say what my favourite parts are, there are so many and for so many different reasons, and I really can’t think of anything to dislike about it. I like Harajuku a lot but then I’m a sucker for cute girls, especially Goth Lolitas.
What was that dish you tried this time? Something to do with dog’s balls?
Yes, I had a rather unforgettable meal in a Korean restaurant in Shin-Okubo, not far from where you and I ate, with a couple of friends. Halfway through the meal, they asked me what sort of meat I thought I was eating. That question, together with what I know of Korean delicacies, made me assume it was something out of the ordinary, so I ventured: “Irish Wolfhound?” as we had recently been to a combined birthday party for a dog of that breed and an arts fair launch. “Close…Chow Chow” came the reply. Apparently, the soup was dog and the chopped meat side dish was dog’s penis. The soup was very good and spicy, although the dog’s cock was rather too chewy for my liking. Still, it’s a story I shall be dining out on for a while. I had some fantastic meals while I was in Japan, although I wouldn’t put the latter at the top of my list.
What was it like working with Osada Steve? What was the schedule like and how many lessons in all? Did you have access to your own rope models or did Steve provide some?
I must say, I was a little apprehensive about working with Steve as we have had our disagreements in the past. However, I think it had a lot to do with the problems of communicating via email rather than face to face and we can both be pretty stubborn and opinionated at times. When we actually met, we got on really well with quite a lot of mutual, good-humoured piss-taking. I had about nine or 10 hours of actual hands-on lessons but I also had the advantage of watching him do sessions and being able to discuss various aspects of shibari at length. Steve has obviously spent a lot of time thinking about his rope work and he is an excellent teacher. I learnt a tremendous amount. Although, now I need to practice what he taught me as it is one thing teaching your brain what to do and yet another to teach your hands to be able to do it on auto pilot. You know you have learnt a particular tie when you can do it with your eyes closed. In practical terms, that is just about what you are doing when you do it in a dimly lit club or similar situation.
For most of the sessions, I had my own models but towards the end of my stay, I used Steve’s models as mine had other commitments.
How long were the lessons?
Mostly, they were broken down into two-hour sessions but they were pretty intensive.
What new thing(s) did you learn?
The main thing I wanted to learn was his vorsprung durch technic, as they say in the Audi ads, takate-kote. He taught me a lot stylistically and about economy of movement, plus some very cool ties like a teppo that can be used for suspension.
You told me you didn’t want to just copy Steve’s technique. How will you adapt things to your own style?
Steve is very particular about the way he moves and his physical positioning. I have my own style, which I will retain, but I will add a few of Steve’s tricks into the mix. One example: He showed a way to minimise the amount of rope I had to pull through. I countered by saying that having to pull a lot of rope through can be an advantage, demonstrating my point by pulling a long length slowly through my model’s crotch. When I had finished, I turned to him saying, “Check out her smile and tell me I’m wrong.” I will definitely be incorporating the principal characteristics of the good solid ties he taught me but maybe I won’t duplicate them to the letter every time.
You were behind a small brouhaha concerning a statement by Yukimura Haruki sensei on this blog. Were you surprised by the reaction?
I’m still enjoying the responses on ARA. Although, I am surprised it didn’t cause more comment. Maybe the “What is shibari” comment was read as confirming that anything can be called shibari? As Steve pointed out, it is taken as read that a good solid tying technique based on the principals and stylistic considerations is assumed.
What is your life like in the UK as far as SM is concerned? What activities are you involved in? What’s your favorite thing to do SM wise? What do you enjoy doing not related to SM?
The UK SM scene is quite different. Mistress bars don’t exist there. A lot revolves around clubs, which have varying mixtures of play and partying, and other SM events. I’m out almost every weekend at one event or another, either doing official shows or just public play. My diary this month includes teaching two one-day bondage classes, Valentine’s Day Torture Garden and creating human chandeliers for a new club, Decadence. I’m not one-hundred percent sure exactly what the latter entails yet but it will involve two girls, plus lots of rope and candles. Favourite thing SM wise? Would it amaze you if I said rope? Although, I have been getting into single tail whips quite a bit of late.
Non-SM things that I enjoy? Top of that list has to be bikes; the madder, the better. Currently, my garage houses a Honda Blackbird (CBR1100XX) and a Honda XR650R supermoto. Scuba diving is right up there, too, but it’s too cold for that in the UK. I’m a holiday diver these days but when I was young(er) and (more) stupid I dived here all year around, even in mid-winter, in a wet suit.
How is it that you’re always getting your mug in SM Sniper? What did the Sniper people talk to you about?
Bribery and corruption, of course. Just kidding! I think it usually has something to do with my good friend, Rik Sanchez, the fetish photographer. I suppose a gaijin doing rope is also a bit of a novelty. Other that that, I am mystified, yet hugely flattered.
You went to Torture Garden in Tokyo, right? What was that like? Any other SM events you attended while here?
TG was very good and not unlike the London events, save the lack of a dungeon or much in the way of equipment except for a suspension frame. The only downside was that a lot of people were surprised to find that the venue demanded ID regardless of age and couldn’t get in or had to go home to get it. From what I hear it was much, much better than the last one, which suffered from a lack of dress code. This resulted in a lot of non-scene guys in suits turning up to grope, gawk and take photos, which is not really conducive to a great night. No, I didn’t get to any SM parties, only a few mistress bars. I’m hoping Tokyo Kink Society or Tokyo Decadence are running something during one of my future visits.
Have you had any problems traveling with SM gear?
When I went to Paris on the Eurostar for Nuit Demonia, I had a little trouble with French customs. After putting my bag through security, I noticed it was on a separate table rather than the conveyor coming out of the X-ray machine with a customs officer standing over it with folded arms.
Him: “Why do you have handcuffs in there, monsieur?”
Me: “Because I’m a professional pervert!”
Him: “Have you been making a video?”
I explain about visiting Nuit Demonia and doing shows.
Him: “May I see them?”
I open my bag and hand my Hiatt Speedcuffs to him, which he inspects and tries his key in. He then wanders off and has a brief consultation with his colleagues, returns and asks: “Do you have a professional card?” I hand him an Esinem business card. By this time, there is a small crowd of bemused officers peering into my bag which is overflowing with rope and various SM toys.
Him: “Do you have anything else?”
Me: “What? Like this?” brandishing one of my whips.
Him: “OK, you can go” with a typically Gallic shrug.
Of course, at Narita, since my Stan leather trousers have a fair bit of integral metal work (zips, buckles, etc.) that always set off the walk through detector, I went through the usual handheld metal detector scan. This produced a signal as he ran it over my chest and a very puzzled look from the security guard. Lacking sufficient Japanese to explain nipple piercings, I whipped up my T-shirt to display them, which seemed to satisfy his curiosity. Maybe it’s time to add to my two weighted hafadas? Although, I’m not sure they would take too well to a similarly public response in that department.
Visit Esinem at www.esinem.com