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Roppongi Paperback – January 13, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 146795473X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1467954730
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,120,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Roppongi, Tokyo. In a shadowy but glamorous world designed for maximum hedonism, things and people are not always what they seem. 'Roppongi'  may yet prove to be a cult adventure-travel novel on a par with Alex Garland's 'The Beach' or Gregory David Roberts's 'Shantaram."
Fresh Underground Culture Magazine:

"The state of 'reality' can always be questioned. Zack, the protagonist in this tale of debauchery, starts blind to the concept of excess, but it can quickly become all too real. 'Roppongi' is an enticing novel that should prove hard to put down."
Mary Cowper - Midwest Book Review

"Written by a seasoned industry insider, 'Roppongi' punches through the impossibly glamorous surface of Tokyo's 'High Touch Town' and plunges the reader deep into its seedy underbelly ... showing us a disturbing side of Japan not often written about in the English language."
Fredrik Hjelm - 2002 US Champion - Muay Thai K1

Winner of an Honourable Mention (General Fiction) - 2012 Hollywood Book Festival Awards

"For those who have experienced it, especially during the heyday, Roppongi is difficult to put into words. And as Zack says at one point, when he is playfully allowed to look directly at the camera, "Someone should write a book about this." We can thank Nick Vasey for doing just that."
Tom Boatman - The Tokyo Reporter

"An atmospheric, but rambling novel about crime, sex and drugs in the notorious Roppongi section of Tokyo ... this novel ... owes much to the spirit of Kerouac and Burroughs."

From the Author

Roppongi Back Story
For those who don't know, Roppongi itself is a couple of square miles in Tokyo, which, although changing drastically today, has for many years been an area dedicated to hedonistic nightlife pursuits. Clubs, bars, strip-clubs, hostess-clubs, restaurants, fast-food, casinos, street-sellers, all-night dance parties, breakfast clubs, etc. You probably get the idea. The distinguishing feature of Roppongi is that it has for a long time been the default destination for probably around 90% of the foreigners in Tokyo who head out to party.
Something very different happens in Roppongi. Something weird. There is a different vibe to any other place in the world. It feels like anything could happen. For whatever reason, people tend to push the boundaries harder, in all directions. There seems to be unlimited amounts of money, alcohol, drugs ... and many beautiful and interesting people hell-bent on using them to excess. Working the nightlife scene in Roppongi becomes sort of like a planet you live on for a while. And because there's not much downtime, you don't see much of what's happening on other planets. You just go where the Roppongi planet takes you. And believe me, it goes to some interesting places!
Sex is everywhere. Whether hinted at, or trumpeted, or simply sneaking up on you unexpectedly, it is an omnipresent force. Night in and night out, Roppongi is a violent sea of over-eager libidos just waiting to engage. Hostesses, strippers, dancers, models. Bar-workers, croupiers, managers, and door-staff. And they're just the folks working Roppongi! Then you have the clients. Ex-pats and Japanese alike, all out for the wildest time they can possibly find. Many different nationalities, many different 'drivers', many different moral, social and cultural codes all collide in a melting-pot of hedonistic madness which stretches itself out to daylight and beyond.
In fact daylight is where the 'night' often starts for those 'industry-folk' working Roppongi's bars and clubs. After-hours clubs, more or less dedicated to serving Roppongi's hard core industry people, blossom at dawn. And after working for twelve hours or more, then venturing into these twilight zones, (zones usually hidden from everyday people), reality starts to bend, and you may quickly find youself on the other side of the looking-glass, somewhere decidedly odd. There is simply no telling where you might end up, who you might get hooked up with, or how it might turn out. The Roppongi life is a cosmic game of craps, and the dice land where they may.
Anyway, that's probably enough about the setting!

Author's Note
Since the 80's, tens of thousands of people who've experienced the inspired madness of living and working in Roppongi's incomparable nightlife scene have shaken their heads with disbelief and said, "Someone should write a book about this place." Well, someone finally has!
In short, Roppongi had an undeniably profound effect on my life, and it was this which drove me to write the novel. It is a story which needed telling. To my knowledge it is the first English-language novel which deals in any depth with the cultural melting pot of opportunistic foreigners chasing a fast buck in Roppongi's 'mizu-shobai' (water-trade). Cinematically speaking, the specific themes and environmental context of the characters and events which take place in Roppongi have not really been touched on before in any film I'm aware of.
The Roppongi experience holds an incredibly special place in my heart. And I know the thousands of other people who have run Roppongi's gauntlet over the years feel the same way. Roppongi scars people. In good ways and bad. It gets under your skin, and stays there. And as with all the best drugs, life inevitably seems dull after Roppongi. But make no mistake - it makes you grow. You are different at the end of it. I had two of the most incredibly fun and intensely mad years of my life there. I met many extraordinary people from all walks of life. The closest I can come to describing it succinctly is that it was like living in a movie. A very fast-moving, unpredictably surreal blur of a movie. There was no off-switch. During this hyperactively hedonistic time I made lifelong friends under the most outrageous circumstances.
The Roppongi diaspora now spreads all over the world; members enjoy a special bond of understanding, of shared experience. Doing Roppongi justice in print was always going to be a daunting task. For there are uncountable 'Roppongis' - everyone's Roppongi was 'their Roppongi'. So for those who took the trip like I did, I hope my Roppongi takes you back there. And for those who didn't, I hope you enjoy the ride!

More About the Author

Nick Vasey was born in 1968, raised in various parts of Australia, and completed a Commerce degree in accounting, marketing and law in 1989 at Murdoch University, in Perth, WA. Thereafter, one year of working in a multinational accounting practice was sufficient to convince him to quit the typical career-path, and go travelling instead. Wise choice!

Over the next fifteen years Nick had a variety of adventures in over forty countries around the world. It would be safe to say that travelling itself became his primary passion. These experiences have confirmed in Nick a profoundly libertarian streak, and repeatedly proven to him that governments rarely have their citizens' best interests at heart, and by default, should therefore be regarded with extreme scepticism.

Two of these years of global gallivanting (94/95 & 97/98) were very joyously spent living, working and partying in the nightlife industry, or mizu-shobai (water-trade), of Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan. The purpose each time was simple - to save as much money as possible in order to fund further travelling adventures. Suffice to say these two years in Roppongi proved to be more than sufficient in terms of providing both the material and the motivation for writing the novel.

Out of curiosity, in 2004 Nick briefly returned to Australia and plugged back into the 'Matrix' for a while, but found he still had no use for it. Dumbfounded and disappointed by people's mindless pursuit of material wealth, AFL Football and reality-TV, in 2008 he quit the first-world altogether, for a more tranquil life in the Southern-Sierran township of Vilcabamba, Ecuador.

Nick now lives simply, surrounded by many animals, in his mountain-top sanctuary named 'Motu-Iti'. Currently, he is probably building a hummingbird feeder, and thinking about writing his next novel. If you would like to contact Nick, please email him via the 'Roppongi' website. [roppongithenovel DOT com]

Customer Reviews

Nick Vasey's ¨Roppongi¨ has all the elements of an entertaining novel.
 Until then I will be reading Roppongi again, as well as recommending it to anyone looking for a fantastic book to read!
A master storyteller... I look forward to seeing what he produces next.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nick Bailey on May 5, 2012
Format: 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 By Josh on February 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Roppongi is a rollicking rollercoaster of a read! You get quickly sucked into the Roppongi vortex, and are rarely allowed the luxury of coming up for air. The main character Zack is a crazy dude but very likeable; the pages turn easily as you are keen to see what trouble he's going to get himself into, or what trouble awaits unbeknownst to Zack! One thing is for sure though....there will be trouble! I had the chance to visit friends working in Roppongi in '98 but never went. Having read the book I'm not sure if that's blessing, or a total missed opportunity! (given my own predilection for a bit of madness, probably the latter!) It's the first book I read in a few years, and managed to get through it in a weekend. Do yourself a favour, buy a copy - happy reading!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Josephine P. Soanes on February 5, 2012
Format: 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 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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. S. Read on December 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
After so many years of absence I had forgotten much of the craziness of Roppongi and like so many others had also thought it would make a great read!! I was there 8 years on and off and I had great fun trying to work out who some of the characters were as we were there at the same time and of course it took me back, remembering some of the places, good and bad!! To be honest, I couldn't put it down and it is the first book I have read completely in 6 years. So really well done and I am looking forward to the movie, ( I have some more crazy stories for you if you need!!!)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeanette Tamraz on March 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow, I am so glad I read this book. I was a foreigner living and working in Tokyo for a few years and I can attest to the accuracy of this novel. I luckily survived the Roppongi experience though not unscathed. It definitely altered my life.
The author Nick Vasey has really given us a true depiction of what Roppongi is like. I felt like I was there again, living amongst the craziness. I encourage ALL to READ THIS BOOK! It's enlightening, exciting and struck a cord on my emotions. I empathize with the character "Zack" for so many reasons and truly feel connected to him. I love this book and hope to see it as a movie soon!!!! I spent so much time trying to share my experiences with others only to sound unrealistic. Getting responses back like "really, how could it be like that", but it really was and now everyone will know!! Thank you Nick Vasey for sharing this book with the world!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Brandon on March 4, 2012
Format: 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 By Anthony on February 21, 2012
Format: 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.
Read more ›
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