"Welcome to the Player's Haven! When you're losing at a game, it is not due to bad luck or a bad deck. The reason you lose, is because you don't understand what is the most important requisite for victory. 95% of our customers will have a winning record (positive score), so come on by and have a relaxing massage!"
How would you react to this billboard if you saw it? Under normal circumstances, I'd turn around and walk the other way to avoid being swindled by a traveling huckster. Everything sounds a lot like a quack remedy, and feels "highly suspect".
Of course, Keigo Osumi and Yohei Osumi aren't snake oil salesmen. This is simply a humorous marketing technique to advertise their massage services right here at Grand Prix Tokyo!
Keigo Osumi (left) and Yohei Osumi (right)
Keigo is the younger of the two brothers, and is currently a Level 2 judge who is very active within the Japanese community. He also happens to be the Side Events Manager at Grand Prix Tokyo, which means that he definitely has no time for a squeeze since he'll be handling the the endless wave of tournaments this weekend.
The story of how "Player's Haven" came about at a Grand Prix is a rather interesting one, and you'd be surprised to find out that this has been going on for quite some time already.
Keigo shares, "this is not the first time that we've had massage services at a Grand Prix. In the past, I've had my older brother, Yohei, offer free massages to the judges and staff members. Everyone puts in a lot of effort and physical labor to ensure that the players have the best tournament we can provide for them. Providing a quite massage is just one of the ways we give back to the local community, for all their hard work at every single event. Even until today, we've specifically set aside all Fridays for this purpose, since everyone is going to be supremely busy on Saturday and Sunday."
Today, Yohei is the owner of a successful spa and massage business and also happens to be the mentor at his establishment. Over the years, he has trained several apprentices, imparting them his skills on a daily basis. This weekend, he is here at Big Sight with his team of 5 to provide relaxing sessions for Grand Prix-goers.
Keigo and Yohei were able to secure a booth to offer these services to the general public. As part of an ongoing process to improve the Grand Prix experience, Big Magic (the organizers of Grand Prix Tokyo) was more than happy to allocate some space for the "makeshift spa".
For just 1000 yen ($9), you could enjoy a twenty-minute rejuvenating massage from an apprentice. If you'd like the service of the mentor himself, the price is 2000 yen ($18) for fifteen minutes, and every additional fifteen-minute extension is an additional 1000 yen ($9). The booth is open on Saturday and Sunday, from 12 pm to 8pm.
Personally testing out the services solely for "journalism" purposes.
How has the general public reacted to this unique facility at their local Grand Prix? It's only been a couple of hours since "Player's Haven" opened for business today, but they've already had more than 30 customers. Yohei is expecting at least 50 – 75 customers per day, up to 150 for the weekend. Assuming that there are around 3,000 players this week, that's 5% "market penetration"!
"The prices we charge are very low compared to the market rate. The main purpose we do this is to educate the public about taking good care of themselves. In the midst of our busy lives, most of us don't pay as much attention to our health as we should. We don't really earn a profit by doing this, at least not at a Grand Prix, but I guess the end result is that our customers are happy and they have a more smooth-sailing tournament."
While we're not going to actually tabulate the win-rate of all their customers to ascertain their claim, one thing is for sure. I had a great time and I invite everyone to visit Player's Haven and celebrate being Alive & Well!