mamma san is term used endearingly for the old women who take care of the military boys on the tiny island of Okinawa. I'm sure it's not specific to only this one station in life but it's the one I'm most familiar with.

When I think of them, I think of skin tempered from a life that's been anything but easy but heavy crows feet from smiling anyway. Calloused hands from hard work but a gentle touch because there's not an ounce of malice in them.

Even though there was always a language barrier, they mothered us like doting hens. Mamma sans were the safest people on the island because they had platoons full of protective sons. If someone messed with mamma san they messed with the largest military power in the world.

In the Philippines, a Mamma San is quite different from the description.

She does take care of a brood too, but not of men, but rather a brood of hospitality girls or prostitutes that cater mostly to japanese sex tourists.

Instead of having a male pimp "manage" them, some women who work the trade approach a known mamma san and ask if she can join. Usually these are pretty young girls (yes, pretty and young) who did not have very high education and need to send money back to their folks in the province.

Upon acceptance, she will be trained in the ways of her trade and in the behavior that she must assume. Some even learn japanese to better accomodate their clientele.

Though exploited, they are taken cared off and even brought for medical check ups regularly. Prostitution is illegal here in the Philippines but well, nobody can stop it.

If you think about it, it's actually like a bastardized version of the traditional Geisha House.

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