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Sunday, November 9, 2014

American Male Whore In Tokyo - Book Review

At first glance, you might be looking at the title above and wondering when I became an American citizen, but in truth, that headline is NOT about me. I remain steadfast in my Canadianism... if that is a word.

An American Male Whore In Tokyo is a book. It's about the real life experiences of a gaijin (foreigner) who goes to work at a Japanese sex club for women.

Quoting the author's very apt description:
"It's a juvenile/explicit comedy that sheds light on Japan and its culture in general as well as the dazzling yet seedy culture of host clubs. The job duties of hosts include getting paid by women to party, flirt, and quite often sleep with them. And as we've seen, some of these guys make astounding amounts of money while doing astounding amounts of damage to their livers."

It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most entertaining book I have ever read about Japan.

I have read quite a few books on Japan. Most are pretty damn good - such as Jake Adelstein's Tokyo Vice, and everyone should go out and buy a copy of his book. Jake is an American living and working in Japan for various publications - specifically the crime beat, covering and exposing yakuza activities with the type of ice water in the veins that you might expect Batman to possess if he were real. Jake is real, however. Jake is Batman.

Other books I read are specific interest books on a given Japanese topic - such as the history of the Japanese circus - pretty good; Japanese taiko drums - meh; and Japanese sake - very informative.

All three of those books are part of the Stone Bridge Press publishers… and while I have two book reviews under my belt, I still have to write one up for them on a topic I find dear to my own heart and liver - sake. Give me a day or two.

The other books I read are usually books written by foreigners who had gone to live and work in Japan as an English teacher - like what I did for three years.

I did not choose to write such a book - but probably should have. But I didn't want to do just another book on teaching - Hoo-hum.

To be honest, even my blog isn't chock full of feel good stories about the kids I taught, nor is it a learning experience about the places I visited… at least not in the same manner that every one else seems to write their stuff.

I had adventures. I had fun.  I often had no idea where I was or with whom I was with. But… I did keep copious notes - and certainly recall how to expand on those notes.

Now… meet the American Male Whore In Tokyo. This is the book I wish I had written - for a number of reasons.

Written, at least according to the cover, by Rowen Boozewell, the book is about man named John Box… and while I know who it is really about and who really wrote it (same guy), let's just say that he would like to keep his day job and doesn't want the world to know how depraved his life was in Japan.

The guy worked in a Japanese sex club for women. He got paid to have sex with women. A dream job? It depends on whom you ask.

The character of John Box is charming, witty, slutty and a drunk.

Despite the obvious similarities, no, it's not about me. I would use my real name. Maybe.

Anyhow… when I was contacted by the author and asked to provide a review for American Male Whore In Tokyo, I was about 100-pages into it and found myself laughing my butt off - out loud.

I will laugh out loud at things people say or do… but I will never actually LOL when I read anything. Now… almost never.

There are a couple of running jokes in the story that might have a semblance of truth - and 'Rowen Boozewell' and I did discuss that it would have been funnier if it actually occurred three times - but dammit, the book is a poignant look inside a part of Japan most of us will never see or didn't even know existed.

You people on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme - stick to teaching. You are an ambassador for your country of origin.

Armed with that knowledge, despite being a male whore - non-professional - I stayed out of any club or situation that had or could have any sort of negative impact on my stay in Japan. No yakuza. No police. No violence. No media. No trouble.

I mean, I went out and enjoyed the nightlife of Japan. I just avoided trouble.

But... John Box… the hero of American Male Whore In Tokyo… he sort of took my advice and enjoyed the nightlife of Japan - only his sexual escapades were profitable. I think.

However... his sordid tale did catch up with him by the end of the book. I think.

Basically, I don't want to give away much of the story. It's not mine to give, and I wouldn't want to ruin anyone's reading experience.

So... if you are tired of reading lily-white books about how someone's day went when they visited a Japanese classroom for the first time, then get ready to be schooled by John Box, as the book takes you down the rabbit hole into the Wonderland that is Tokyo's very visible, but very invisible and bizarre underground sex club scene. For women.

Hunh. Who knew? It makes me want to go back to Japan again - just for a peek.

Despite it's adult content, there is not a hard-core feel to the book. That alone keeps it readable because you aren't always popping a boner and trying to turn the pages with one hand. At least I wasn't. Different strokes for different folks et al.

It is descriptive, but in a good way, without being disgusting. The character of John Box - love him or hate him - is still a very real person.

I probably would have enjoyed having him as a friend in Japan. I think.

He probably would have hated my lily white portrayal of myself in Japan. I think.

When the author contacted me, he initially commented after reading some of my blogs, that "it appears as though you and I shared quite a similar time in Japan." I assume he means with wild sexual escapades.

Hardly, my friend, hardly.

While I'm pretty sure I slept with more women than you did, I think you were better compensated for it.

So… American Male Whore in Tokyo: I give it 5 Tongues up out of 5.
You should get a copy.

Where can you get a copy?

Amazon in Kindle & paperback version, and on CreateSpace, but to be honest, I did not find it there.

Oh yeah... the author - having already convinced me to read the book - provided me with a nice compliment:
"After searching the Internet for humorous and/or Japan-related blogs, I'd like to award you first prize for Best Name. That's one I certainly wish that I had thought of first."

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph
PS: By the way… I used to say 'Cheers' here, but recently changed it to the Japanese word 'kanpai'. That's because of the author of this book, who used it as I used 'cheers'. That's how much I respect the author and the book.

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