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Roppongi Paperback – January 13, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 104 ratings

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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!
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 13, 2012)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 396 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 146795473X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1467954730
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.99 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 104 ratings

About the author

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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 confirmed in Nick a profoundly anarchic streak, and repeatedly proved to him that governments very rarely have their citizens' best interests at heart. By default, they 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 writing his next novel. If you'd like to contact Nick, please email him at: nick AT nickvasey DOT com.

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
104 global ratings

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