90-Day Geisha: My Time As a Tokyo Hostess

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Overview

An introspective journey into the glamorous world—and temptations—of Japanese nightlife, by former model Chelsea Haywood.
The hard-drinking, drug-taking, all-night culture that dominates Tokyo’s Roppongi district can be a surreal place. Overworked Japanese business men will pay handsomely for the services of a hostess—someone to talk to, someone to provide hot towels and drinks, and sometimes just a companion with whom to sing karaoke with all night. Intrigued by rumors of this ...

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90-Day Geisha: My Time as a Tokyo Hostess

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Overview

An introspective journey into the glamorous world—and temptations—of Japanese nightlife, by former model Chelsea Haywood.
The hard-drinking, drug-taking, all-night culture that dominates Tokyo’s Roppongi district can be a surreal place. Overworked Japanese business men will pay handsomely for the services of a hostess—someone to talk to, someone to provide hot towels and drinks, and sometimes just a companion with whom to sing karaoke with all night. Intrigued by rumors of this strange subculture and armed with her 90-day work visa and new husband, Matt, Chelsea throws herself into the lion’s den. Yet what she discovers about herself and about the inhabitants of this nocturnal life far exceeds her expectations.
Hostessing, she comes to find, has “very little to do with sex, quite a lot to do with psychology, and nothing to do with prostitution.” Her personality and conversation skills are her top commodity, and Chelsea quickly finds herself charmed by these billionaire men, many of whom are funny, intelligent, even kind, and often, very lonely. But as she becomes more and more attached to her clients, Chelsea soon finds herself getting burned at her own game, as the endless presents, compliments, and destructive atmosphere of alcohol and drugs threaten to take both her marriage, and her sanity, to the edge.

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Editorial Reviews

The Independent [Australia]
“An extremely entertaining debut book. She neatly hooks the reader, teasing us through her adventures in the oh-so-different cultures of urban Japan. Chelsea is wise beyond her years.”
Famous Magazine [Australia]
“Hilarious and fast-paced, this is a book you never want to end.”
Booklist
“Starred Review. Like Karin Muller’s Japanland and Lea Jacobson’s Bar Flower, Haywood’s candid, lively debut celebrates the cultural complexities of modern-day Japan.”
Publishers Weekly
Haywood, a Canadian model who was 20 when the events of this book occurred, reassured herself and her husband, Matt, that working as a Tokyo hostess in an upscale Roppongi bar was more akin to being a geisha than a prostitute. Once she got the temporary but full-time job as hostess at Greengrass, all she had to do was look hot in a dress and heels, keep the rich customers drinking, make conversation and occasionally sing karaoke, all for a couple hundred dollars a night. Or so she thought. As she quickly learned, she had to be popular with the clients by building relationships, going on dohans, or dates, outside the club, and generally being at her favorites' beck and call. Some of the clients got pretty weird, such as the importunate, chatty surgeon Nori, who took the author on extravagant shopping sprees in the hope that she would love him, and the dangerously morose, cocaine-fueled Yoshi, the scion of a Japanese entertainment empire whose jaded diffidence Haywood began to fall for. Gradually, the mollifying of lonely older men's egos began to grate on the author, and she succumbed to a punishing routine of drink, drugs and late nights, rarely spending time with her husband (he also worked at a club), while declaring that Matt was “completely supportive.” Haywood's sulky pose at decadence is not quite convincing. (Dec.)
Kirkus Reviews
The high and low times of a temporary hostess in Japan. At age 20, former model Haywood decided to travel to Tokyo with her husband Matt to write a book about the curious profession of hostessing. She soon found herself in the city's infamous Roppongi district, where sex and other vices of all varieties are available for a price. With her blond good looks, she easily found a job at a club. Hostessing in Japan, she writes, "has very little to do with sex, quite a lot to do with psychology and nothing to do with prostitution." Haywood and the other hostesses-from Europe, America and several places in between-spent long nights in the club fulfilling the fantasy of an adoring girlfriend for an endless parade of lonely, overworked "salary men." Haywood lit their cigarettes, poured their drinks and listened with feigned interest to their complaints and dreams. There might be dinner outside the club, but it was all fantasy. For a lot of money, the author was "available but unobtainable," the hostess motto. Still, some customers became friends or more than friends, including Nori, a rich doctor who became obsessed with Haywood; Shin, who became like her big brother; Koji, who may or may not have been a serial rapist; and Yoshi, a handsome, dashing, cocaine-snorting multimillionaire with whom Haywood began to fall in love. The author's story begins to falter as it becomes more about her unconsummated affair with Yoshi and her struggles to choose between him and Matt. Beyond a discourse on burusera, the Japanese male obsession with schoolgirls and their uniforms, and a hilarious adventure as a dancer on a Japanese pop-music TV show, Haywood fails to delve into her encounters with Japanese culture.Ultimately the narrative becomes part bodice ripper, part teenage diary: e.g., Yoshi was a "groomed, polished, virile specimen . . . egotistical to the point of narcissism, yet he oozed an invisible nectar that made him irresistibly attractive." After three months, burnt out from booze, lies and endless partying, Haywood returned to Canada with Matt. An entertaining but shallow read that reveals more about the author than Japan. Author tour to New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605980713
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 12/15/2009
  • Pages: 307
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Chelsea Haywood was born in British Columbia and has traveled independently and as a fashion model since she was 16 years old, and has been featured in magazines, on catwalks, and television throughout Asia. She splits her time between London and Vancouver.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    Terrible book!!

    The author is a terrible writer and the book is so stupid. Not worth the money trust me! The only reason it has a star from me is because i couldnt post this without choosing a star.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 4, 2011

    Lost in Translation mixed with a lil Pretty Woman

    Having lived in Japan for a few years myself, it was fun transporting there again with this book. Chelsea's adventures as a "gaijin" hostess is exciting and addicting. One will be charmed by the characters she meets as she gets sucked into the crazy underworld of hostessing. You will be in awe and reverence of the old customs, culture, beauty of the land. At the same time, the devil in you will be curious of the dark seedy side and lust over the wealth and glamour of modern Japan. I wanted the pages to magically multiple as the end neared.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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