Tokyo Girls

| 5 January , 2009 | Reply

I love travelling and one place that I’ve been to and totally fell in love with was Tokyo, Japan.  It is such a contrasting mix of a complicated culture that wants to retain it’s Japanese heritage but also wants to totally embrace the hedonistic excess of the westernised world.  I remember reading an article a few years ago highlighting their identity conflict between the different generations.

As a visitor, I loved the contrasts of the city and experiencing the total perfectionism they strive for such as being able to set your watch by the trains, they have the population of our country in Tokyo and they are able to run their trains to the second.  And as for the decadence of Roppongi, it is totally crazy and so much fun but I didn’t experience it from the same perspective as Chelsea Haywood.

“Millionaires, surgeons, serial killers, CEOs: I light their cigarettes, mix their drinks. We engage in conversation. I am the facilitator of good times. I am a hostess.”

90 Day Geisha_lr

Chelsea’s debut novel 90-Day Geisha, My time as a Tokyo hostess, is a page-turner.  I always knew about hostessing in Tokyo but never really knew what it entailed.  Straight up Chelsea quickly points out it is not about sex and throughout her story you can clearly see and understand that it is not, it is about companionship although the line of fantasy and reality is very fine and easily crossed.

I love the way she has seamlessly woven her experiences with explanations on the Japanese culture and history.

The emotional rollercoaster that you ride with her is exhausting and I have no idea how she managed to maintain her sanity as well as her relationship with her husband.  It was only 90 days but it felt like years were crammed into those 90 days. Chelsea is wise behond her 21 years and the trust and faith that she and her Australian husband had in each other was what stood out to me.  Her writing was so open and honest and the emotional conflict was so raw. Even though the men weren’t looking for sex, they were looking for emotional connections and you could feel their loneliness jumping off the pages. There were four main characters that Chelsea developed bonds with, they were all different in the way they lived their lives except for Shin, they appeared to be all unwittingly caught up in their culture of ‘this is what we have always done’.

I can only assume that the two men that ‘fell’ for Chelsea continued with their search for that elusive emotional connection with hostesses instead of their wives and families.

Life is all about amazing experiences and this was certainly one of those.

Random House, RRP:  $34.95

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