Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Aribai-ya (Alibi shops)

Finger on lipsIt 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.

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11 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. anonymous

    talk about lies deceit and soulessness

  2. Peter

    Talk about pure genius. What a brilliant idea.

  3. Pat

    True and true.

  4. bob

    3 words

    “i was mowing the lawn”

    seamless, your husband wont suspect a thing

  5. noticing bob

    Hey, Bob. 5 words, not 3

  6. angie

    That’s no different than here. There’s a few out there. The most convincing that I’ve see thus far, is http://www.CovertAlibi.com.
    From the page:

    WELCOME to CovertAlibi.com
    The Leader in Highly Technical Alibi Services

    CovertAlibi.com is your one-stop solution for ANY situation. Whether you need professional assistance with a marital affair, a Fake Dr. Note to provide a formal excuse for an absence, a Fake Dr. Note faxed to your place of employment, a top notch resume created, with job references to verify your work history, investigative services or perhaps you require assistance with another sensitive matter. In every case…
    “We’ve gotcha covered.”

    This isn’t something that is strictly foreign. I don’t think that it’s strictly an amoral issue. Nor a cultural issue. It’s more of societal issue. Perhaps all of the above.

    Hmm… if only there was a way to stop all sin on earth, you could just make these guys go away. Until there is some sort of a magic button, I think we’re stuck with these types.

    How many people actually use these types of services though. I can’t imagine it being very many. If you can’t figure out how to hide an affair, than you shouldn’t be having one. Not, that I have, am or will. I’m just saying, it can’t be that complicated.

  7. tim

    I went to http://www.CovertAlibi.com and I don’t know what the hell I think about all of that. Is that even something that is allowed. Maybe. I guess. You would think that there would be some sort of a law or something that would prevent publicly licensed companies from “selling” to the public, falsifications. I’m not a politician, but, hmm, I gotta say, I think I would review this concept.

  8. Mike

    I think it’s hilarious! It’s not like there criminals. Bottom line…. people cheat everyday of the week. People call in sick, every day of the week. Is that a crime? No. Is it “right”? That’s up to perception of what’s acceptable within one’s own views. That’s why it’s legal. That’s why it’s accepted. That’s why people have affairs, call in sick and the like. Their just simply filling a need. lol. Regardless of whether any of us would do any of the above, it’s a market! I also find it particularly funny! lol.


  9. Neo

    No Comments – I just wish the world ends on 21st December 2012.

    All these things is just to escape reality, there are people who help you be that way.

    People escape reality in some form or the other every day.

    Reality is – Nothingness.

    There was nothing to begin with and nothing will remain. But we tend to get acquainted with temporal objects and feelings.

    Whether you like it or not you are just keeping your self busy until the Hour glass finishes.

  10. Madyson

    Hey, people are going to do what they’re going to do… it’s not a sin to make a little money. And anyway, who knows what you might need an alibi for?

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