I noticed something peculiar yesterday around Iidabashi station in Tokyo: there was a lovely white crane, wading in the water of a polluted runoff into the city sewers.
The scene reminds me of a regular customer I once had when I was still a hostess. "You are like a hakidame ni tsuru," he told me once, in a half-hearted attempt to dissuade me from working nights so often. Hakidame ni tsuru is a Japanese expression that literally means "a crane in the trash." Some people may say "a jewel in a dunghill" in English.
I am ambivalent about the comparison. Though the mizu shobai might be a trash heap of uninhibited vice, the other women I worked with were not trashy in the least. They did what they had to, sending their earnings home to Manila, Vladivostok or rural China. They were my friends. Still, the context in which we met was nothing to brag about.
But either way, there is no need to pity or be too be concerned about that crane who dwells in the trash heap. She's got wings after all, and will spread them whenever she pleases.