What would have made this book better? At a minimum, having a professional read it. Jake rambles through some parts at the speed of light, and other times slows so much I feel like he is reading for the mentally challenged. Of course, what would have really made this book better would have required that another person WRITE it. As the story is so bizarre, ridiculous, perverse and the author just a shameless, silly, narcissistic self-promoter that the only value I derived from listening was the sheer amusement at what insanity would come out of his mouth next. And I mean it. It's a fun ride to listen to this man put words into the mouths of Japanese that could only come from some B 80's "Revenge of the Yakuza" movie.
My absolute favorite part is when he compares himself to not only being a Yakuza - but THE Yakuza that he most detests...well sorry - it was a Yakuza lady who made that comment actually. Jake is so humble lol - a true man of honor, that betrays just about every single person that he writes about at every level that I can conceive of.
If you know a thing about Japan, you know that Japanese don't open up to strangers too quickly - especially foreigners. But according to Adelstein - he walks in a room and Police, Yakuza, Oyabun, Hostesses, CIA/FBI, etc. etc. are all falling over themselves to expose their darkest secrets to him, betraying themselves and those closest to themselves - to him. Oh and all the lovely visits to Soapland and Maid Station. My god...what a bizarre little man this Adelstein is to even go so far as to share the occasions when he cheats on his wife. Disgusting.
Whatever truth this self aggrandizer has mixed into this silly, infantile tale is irrelevant. It is so implausible as to be a-priori false - except for the fact that I do believe that this man has annoyed, offended and messed around with the lives of many people for his own publicity. Riddled with contradictions, libel, and a theatrical Seinfeld-ian grandeur - like one long not so funny episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Adelstein manages to offend the Japanese, Americans, Jews and the reader over and over again.
I feel like I'm in that scene from Billy Madison..."we are all dumber for having listened to this"...seriously - this is not an expose on anything except where Japanese like to go and unwind, and perhaps get some romantic attention. Most of us know this already, and books like Pink Samurai handle it a hell of a lot better. Sorry but Tokyo Vice is a fantasy, and not a very good one.
Incidentally, look up Adelstein's business card from his days as a "Police Reporter" for a good laugh...
I would retitle this book, "Tokyo Fantasy: The Imaginary Tales of Jake Adelstein" or "How to Get on 60 Minutes for your 15"
I love John Lee. In fact, I only know about these books because he read them. But he takes one of the main characters - Nevil Clavain - and completely changes his accent/speech structure and thereby changes the character that he performed so well in Redemption Ark.
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