It doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, as long as no one finds out.
In many parts of the world, this attitude is abhorred. In others, it prevails beneath the surface. In Japan, there’s a whole industry dedicated to it. Alibi services (“alibi-ya” or “aribai-ya”) do exactly what you’d expect – help people keep their dirty little secrets.
Alibi services for sex workers
Working in Japan’s sex trade, although potentially lucrative, offers a variety of disadvantages. The folks back home might be ashamed, it may be more difficult to rent a flat or obtain credit, and potential husbands and their families might disapprove. For the sex worker who wants to keep her job a secret, alibi services offer bogus documentation to show she has a respectable job, and in some cases a special office phone number. Someone calling the number will find their way through to a “colleague” of the young lady, who explains that she has popped out of the office and takes a message. Family happy, flat rented, eligible young executive smitten.
Alibi services and lying to your partner
The constant scrutiny of a domineering spouse can really cramp your style, especially when all you want is a quiet evening in a love hotel with your secretary, or a good cruise around the local red-light district. Thanks to alibi services, you don’t need to make up transparent lies on-the-spot, you can construct fully-documented, watertight lies instead:
A: Hello darling
B: Why are you late? Where have you been?
A: I’m sorry I missed dinner, sweetheart. My train broke down.
B: Nonsense. You’ve been cavorting with that little floozy in some seedy hotel!
A: No, I’m telling the truth. Look, they gave me a special letter of apology.
B: I still don’t believe you!
A: Here’s the card of the stationmaster I spoke to. If you really don’t trust me, give him a call…
The souvenir shops in large train stations perform a related service. As well as the local trinkets and specialities one might expect, some shops also offer souvenirs from other parts of the country. Strange as this might seem, it’s amazingly handy for people who spend the weekend doing naughty things while their partners think they’re on business in another city.