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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect read for a long haul flight to Tokyo
Having lived before in Tokyo for 19 years and spent much of my time on the Roppongi scene,I was curious to see what this book would bring.Although the hero Zack was a little too good to be true with his success in everything he seemed to touch(or maybe thats bitterness on my part),I found the book a fun read.A good representation of the hedonistic lifestyle that can often...
Published on May 5, 2012 by Nick Bailey

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All right at best. Not a bad read if you're bored.
The first half of the book is pathetic -- narcissism at its finest, with the main protaganist, Zach, the most perfect person in the world. No one parties like Zach, no one gets the girls like Zach, no one has sex like Zach and no one understands the world better than Zach. It goes on and on: Zach this, Zach that, blah, blah, blah. It's quite pathetic, really, and about...
Published 1 month ago by Dan B


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect read for a long haul flight to Tokyo, May 5, 2012
This review is from: Roppongi (Paperback)
Having lived before in Tokyo for 19 years and spent much of my time on the Roppongi scene,I was curious to see what this book would bring.Although the hero Zack was a little too good to be true with his success in everything he seemed to touch(or maybe thats bitterness on my part),I found the book a fun read.A good representation of the hedonistic lifestyle that can often be found in many major cities,though none more so than I have found than Tokyo.A bit of poetic licence obviously ,but a great book to read if you're on your way to Tokyo or fancy a couple of hours visiting an Alice in Wonderland world for modern times filled with larger than life characters.Look forward to more of Nick Vasey's musings set in the land of the rising yen.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down for 2 days!, February 5, 2012
This review is from: Roppongi (Paperback)
I had never lived in Tokyo, or even heard of Roppongi till I read Nick Vasey's book. Once I started, I couldn't put it down, I was totally immersed for 2 days.

Wow, what a place. It's decadent, hedonistic, indulgent, a place where all your wildest dreams and nightmares can happen. The story follows the adventures of Zack, a world traveller, who has his first tour of duty in Roppongi, then promptly removes himself to go back to reality and heal his body from the drug addled, sleep deprived, wild lifestyle. His new adventures take him to Israel, where he works and befriends other travellers. He regales them with tales of Roppongi, and the riches to be had. Finally, the lack of money finds Zack lured back into Roppongi's seedy morass. He convinces his friends this is a place to make big money fast.....accordingly they too are soon drawn into the Roppongi orbit.

Cocaine, ecstasy, sex, clubs, lines, strip clubs, hostess bars, alcohol, Rohypnol, music, pipes, sex, more alcohol, little sleep.....you quickly get sucked into the Roppongi lifestyle. In a pervy voyeuristic way, it's enjoyable and interesting. Then bang, you get slapped in the face with reality. Zack and his friends realize that there is sometimes a heavy price to pay for quick money and a decadent lifestyle.

I look forward to reading more about Zack in the future, I am wanting more!!!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roppongi the novel, February 21, 2012
This review is from: Roppongi (Paperback)
Being a first novel, I had no idea what to expect from `Roppongi'. The promotional blurb describes a hedonistic adventure within an infamous sub-culture in Roppongi, one of Tokyo's notorious night-life districts.

The main character Zack, decides, after a stint working on a charter yacht in Israel, to return to Roppongi to pick up some fast cash to fund the continuation of his global backpacking lifestyle. He lands firmly on his feet, renews old contacts and re-joins the sexed-up, cashed-up and drugged-up nocturnal world of Roppongi's bars, strip clubs and dance venues.

Zack is portrayed as a confident, fun-loving and competent individual. Reminiscent of a good travelogue, there is plenty of commentary and opinion on the cultures and characters he encounters along his way. The first third or so of the book leaves a cruisy, feel-good impression. Things work out, opportunities continue to come his way and one gets the feeling there is actually nothing much wrong with his amoral, hedonistic lifestyle. Somewhere along this wayward road, Zack also meets the love of his life.

By this time I'm half-way through the story, and wondering where it is all going. The next couple of chapters introduce more characters, more situations, and the pace is upped by several notches. I've passed the point of no return by now and it's clear I'm not putting this book down anytime soon.

The false sense of security I previously felt for Zack and his world then evaporated as I was sucked into a rollercoaster of twists and turns that left me desperate to see what happens next, right up to the very end. Vasey skilfully weaves his characters and sub-plots towards a crescendo of surprises, unexpected emotions, and what must surely be very personal revelations.

'Roppongi' is insightful, clever and entertaining. One of the most engaging reads I've enjoyed in some time. Hats off to a talented first-time author is all I can say. Read it ... it's truly worth it.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roppongi the Novel, February 1, 2012
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This review is from: Roppongi (Paperback)
Having lived in Tokyo as an ex-pat for 4.5 years, I believe the author, Nick Vasey, has captured the spirit of Roppongi brilliantly in this novel. The friendships and situations portrayed are very similar to what I experienced. A lot of people have their own story about Roppongi, I'm happy to read Nick's story because I can relate to it. I agree with another reviewer, this is a book I'd like to see as a movie!

His character 'Zack' perfectly portrays the experience of someone who lived, and survived, a year in Tokyo. He shares his experience with friends who haven't been there, and he wants to go back. I don't blame him. Back in Tokyo, he settles into a job in Roppongi, catching up with his friends, and enjoys his new life.

In real life Roppongi, if you're associated with a club or bar, you're an instant celebrity, as 'Zack' was. At some point, you realize some of your friends are very important people, then you realize they're involved in things you don't want to know about. It's at that point that things can change rapidly, and your life will change forever. So many things can happen so quickly around you that you don't really understand what's real, and for someone like 'Zack' who isn't Japanese, it takes a lot to get through these situations, in an unfamiliar world.

This book reminded me why I think Tokyo is one of the most interesting cities in the world, and Roppongi should be a destination for anyone looking for an adventure.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roppongi: Vegas in Tokyo., July 11, 2012
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This review is from: Roppongi (Paperback)
Roppongi is a novel that can be hard to put down at times. If one has ever visited Roppongi district or even just to Japan, then this is your book. The main character Zach returns to Roppongi with a plan to make and save some serious cash and then get out before he manages to get sucked back in again as when he was there before. Everybody looks to Zach for answers. He knows the place has quite a seedy element to it as do many places where lots of unaccounted money can be made. He is a survivor and knows how to deal with the dark side of humanity very well. He is a bit poetic and romantic as he always seems to find himself in between humanity and the forces of darkness.

If you have no experience working as a bartender or manager of a night club, you will learn some interesting things like what is really involved in keeping everything running smoothly and everyone somewhat satisfied. From what I remember of a dazed few hours I spent in Roppongi one night in the eighties, was that the place was too much and I would never see this place in it entirety unless I was here for weeks. There are many Zachs about that are fearless, connected, experienced, knowledgeable and open to expanding the mind with what the earth has provided us all. This being said, I think Zach has the power to change the world. If there is further writing about Zach, I will be excited to see how he feels and deals with the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the end of conspicuous consumption.

I really liked the page at the end entitled: "care to help." I found it to be excellent advice that would further help the author as well as anybody else who wants to write their own book and get it out there the best they can. I also very much appreciated the Translated Foreign Dialogue & the Glossary at the end.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trip throughout the trips, April 10, 2012
This review is from: Roppongi (Paperback)
I am finishing my second read of this book, I first read it when it was published two months or so ago:
The book overwhelmed me and I was at a loss to be at the end so soon, there were only three hundreds and sixty of them pages!
I felt just as incarnated in a different universe, in for a new life.

My intend for the second read was to try and decipher the hidden keys and chords of the book:
the ones that unconsciously mesmerise you whilst you carefully concentrate on not missing a clue in the chain of events.
Now this seems only pointless to me.

Of this book I have conscientiously stored the ambiance, the flavours - or more exactly the smells - within my memory's preserve.
I am sure that further in time, when I will open the cans, I will all of a sudden be again attracted by adventures, trips and be rejuvenated.
Those fresh smells I recall for now all connect with the consciousness of freedom.
The ambiance when a sailor's feeling a new wind, the joy of an escaped convict, the chill when starting a new exploration.
But surely I will again breathe a cloud of this mysterious dust I felt all along,
thus liberating my courage and strengths to get rid of any unwanted burdens; and ride on.

Zack, the hero, consciously ordinates the rhythm of his life, he is purposely living his life as an orchestra conductor would lead a symphony.
In his life, where nothing is allowed to sound dull, the things around are to be parts of the orchestra AND to play a genuine creative artist's part.
If for some reason things do not comply, things are to leave his scene, or he changes the scene.

At the beginning when he starts living an excellent "sea sex and sun" life in Israel, all is too easy for him.
He convinces himself for the usual plausible pretext of money to leave for a place he had left on a less successful note: after all he's a man, despite being the hero.
He wants to reconquer the place now once well healed, he feels invincible and wants to hear again the crazy sound of the Roppongi melting pot.
With this stronger than ever heart beating the tempo he brilliantly leads the introduction at an easy pace.
Soon and again he is to introduce some more complexity in the play of his life and progressively real alter egos appear,
old friends suddenly disappear, the symbol of power is flowing in and as love is flowing out the situation is close to be soon out of control...
this happens where beauty and love flirts with dreary and hate, where joy and pleasure dances with all the sufferings.

After this paroxysm of life, this very organised chaos, Zack will gently tame his life,
but the last movements are all calling for a change of scene...

I want to hear the following notes out of his life, I hope this end was only an intermission.
What will he be doing of his life next?

By the way, who on earth could be talented and gifted enough to play Zack's role in a film?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creates an impact, March 4, 2012
This review is from: Roppongi (Paperback)
Nick's first novel is well worth a read. I found that by the time I got to the beginning of the 2nd third of the book, I didn't want to put it down. I enjoyed the book and felt for the characters.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!, January 28, 2012
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This review is from: Roppongi (Paperback)
Now I know the definition of hedonism .... Roppongi. It would be easy to pass off his deft understanding of Tokyo's "Gaijin Playground" to field study at the hands of a copy of a Japanese edition of National Enquirer. But knowing the author as I do, it is hard to imagine him getting his back alley Ph.D in sordidness, sex, drugs and decadence without paying his boots-on-the-ground dues. The question is, how did he survive the experience and live to tell his tale. And WHAT a tale of derring-do this is!

It is a first-rate page turner, a novel that carries the reader along at the frenetic pace of non-stop action. It's as close as I'll ever come to what must be the electrifying buzz of snorting a heavy line of coke. As for the sex, well I'd call Roppongi a little blue pill for the mind. If I wasn't a card-carrying octogenarian, I would be on a JAL flight tomorrow heading for Roppongi. Simply a wonderful read!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a fun page-turner!, January 20, 2013
This review is from: Roppongi (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this read. I've never been to Roppongi and have no way to know if even a fraction of what was written was true. But in my imagination, and to the writer's credit, I definitely felt as though I was there and it was happening.

I feel like the book started a bit slow but once it got to Tokyo a couple chapters later, bam! Hold onto your panties, you're in for a wild ride. Every chapter ends a bit of a cliff hanger and you think to yourself "ok, one more chapter, then I'm going to bed." Which inevitably turned into about 10 or 12 more chapters!

The book was well-written and well thought out. There were some things I guessed and then a couple of items that completed surprised me but played in nicely to the story. In fact, after I was done reading the book, I wanted to read it again so that I could see all the subtle hints throughout the book that I missed the first time around.

If you're looking for a wild, sexy, entertaining and intelligent novel, then Roppongi is definitely for you!

Oh and I most certainly hope this gets made into a movie. That would be incredible!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You must experience Roppongi, May 24, 2012
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This review is from: Roppongi (Paperback)
Whilst the task of writing a review for such an incredible novel is not an easy one, the quality of the experience that is `Roppongi' compels me to do so.

I think most people would have encountered a character like Zack at some stage in their life. What we may not have had the opportunity to do is to immerse ourselves in such a complex individual's perspective and thought processes during such a tumultuous period of their life. The author skillfully articulates Zack's exciting experiences, the people he encounters and most interestingly, the metamorphosis of his persona.

To anyone who has worked in or lived the nightclub scene, indulged in the euphoric party drug lifestyle or perhaps wished they had, should buy this book without hesitation. I feel like I too have personally experienced the bizarre world of Roppongi without ever having travelled to Japan.

Well done Nick Vasey. You have the talent that ensures we will wait eagerly for your next literary installment. Who knows, perhaps even a prequel?
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Roppongi
Roppongi by Nick Vasey
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