“Gaycation” recap (1.1): Japan

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I’m not sure what we did to deserve Canadian unicorn Ellen Page, but it must have been something good. In Ellen’s new show, Gaycation, we follow the sparkly wonderlez as she and best friend, Ian Daniel (true lezbro material), travel the world in search of LGBT communities. In the kickoff episode, Ellen and Ian travel to Tokyo and have all sorts of unique adventures you have probably never seen on a travel show before. This show isn’t about the hot spots you should hit up on your future travels, but exploring the culture and experiences of queer people across the world. In other words, it’s pretty fascinating and wonderful.

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The show kicks off with Ellen and Ian exploring Tokyo’s gay district, which has hundreds of bars for its relatively tiny size. (It’s only five square blocks!) Their first stop is Tokyo’s smallest and oldest gay bar, Yo Chan Chi, where they interview the bar’s owner, Yo Chan, about how the gayborhood got its start. What once started as the city’s red light district has evolved into an area that is brimming with energy and countless ways to express oneself. While lamenting the rapidly changing scene, Yo Chan imparts wisdom that I want etched onto my tombstone:

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Next on the list is a small club with an unfortunate name (Cholesterol) and its very well known owner, Takuya. Takuya is famous for, well, blow jobs. He’s even performed them on Japanese television and has a sex toy modeled after him. Hey, it can’t all be leztastic, right? “I want to have a penis just to try it, honestly,” Ellen says after inspecting the frankly unassuming toy.

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OK, bring on the lesbians! Ellen goes solo to Goldfinger, a lesbian bar owned by Chiga Ogawa, who happens to be one of the pioneering players in the Tokyo lesbian scene. Not unlike back in the States, Japan has way more venues for gay men to congregate than lesbians and queer women. Goldfinger is one of the few, and it is hopping. And famous or not, like any lesbian worth her salt, Ellen is adorably nervous and excited to be around so many beautiful queer women.

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For their final stop of the evening, Ellen and Ian head to a secret club called Onna No Ko Cafe. A place where being yourself is encouraged; it’s a safe haven for trans women. Cis men are also encouraged to attend and try on the vast assortment of typically women’s clothing, wigs and makeup provided by the club. Ian hangs out with a regular customer who helps him get dressed. Much tequila is consumed by all and the duo bids us goodnight, as they have a full day of exploring to do the next day.

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