• Lost in Tokyo

  • A Year of Sex, Sushi, and Suicide in the Real Japan
  • By: Garett Wilson
  • Narrated by: CC Hogan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Travel & Tourism, Asia
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

After half a decade in Japan, Garett Wilson thought that nothing could shock him anymore...until he started a new job and a new life at a high school in downtown Tokyo. Here he discovered the real Japan, not the version sold to tourists, and realized that it was far more thrilling, heartbreaking, and beautiful than anything he had ever experienced.

Over the course of one year in Tokyo, Garett navigates the perilous waters of 21st-century Japan, where love and laughter are as common as violence and tragedy. From love hotels to sumo, Yakuza gangs to hostess bars, and a Shinto wedding to a KFC Christmas, discover what Tokyo is really like for its 38 million inhabitants.

A travel book, a tale of sex and romance, and a love letter to a maddening, wonderful place, Lost in Tokyo provides a new perspective on living, working, and playing in the world's most vibrant city.

©2018 Garett Wilson (P)2019 Garett Wilson

What listeners say about Lost in Tokyo

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    3 out of 5 stars

Someone printed their travel blog

There are some interesting bits in book, but they are lost the sea of true but uninteresting events.

Severely in need of an editor to pare down the things that merely happened to reveal the more interesting observations.

Feels very “self-published” and probably would be better as a blog.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Laurent Souer
  • 03-25-21

Real review of this book from london

This book was really fun to listen... very well written... we want more!!!!!!

This book was amazing; specially loved estate agent part.. too funny.

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  • S. Morris
  • 03-23-21

A Fascinating Cultural Odyssey

A someone who has been interested in Japanese culture for many years, the sample of this book really piqued my curiosity. There are plenty of travel guides out there for people wanting to visit Japan as tourists, but not so many first-hand written accounts of what it's like to live and work in the country. Being the author was British, so a fellow countryman, it would also allow more apt cultural comparisons, so I went ahead and purchased this title.

The first thing that perhaps was a little odd, was the narrator used. One might think him better suited to narrate some gangster story-based in London's east end, not quite the voice one might link to an English teacher. however, the affable delivery soon becomes endearing in a way, so that first oddity is overcome soon.

This book tells the story of an English teacher working at a high school in an affluent part of Tokyo. This would be a book I'd strongly recommend anyone intending to work in Japan read before venturing out there. Japan is indeed an alien culture, full of strict rituals and yet littered with contradictions. Some of the myths I had envisioned as being true were dispelled when tales of classroom misbehaviour when in the presence of weak teachers blew my belief that Japanese students were all perfectly disciplined. We see how the Japanese mindset allows a drunk P.E teacher to simply collapse and fall asleep in the lesson without the students taking any notice and carrying on as if nothing was out of the ordinary. These sorts of examples create the odd juxtaposition that highlight the contradictions present. On the one hand, strict etiquette and ritual is to be observed and yet such behaviour as described above seems to go unchallenged.

Perhaps the single thing that surprised and shocked me the most, was the attitude towards foreigners in Japan, or at least in Tokyo. There is an underlying xenophobia that even prevents many landlords allowing any foreigners to rent apartments despite laws to the contrary that everyone ignores. Similarly, I found that the Japanese and those in the U.S have something in common, they appear to have little knowledge of the outside world. An example of this is given when an educated person, a teacher, enquires with the author if anywhere else in the world has four seasons like Japan does and if people eat fish abroad! One might expect this from a child, but it's testament to the insular culture in Japan. Why does this remind me of those in the U.S? Well, most people have seen how few Americans even own a passport and it always reminds me of the first time I visited the States and was asked by my young cousin at the time whether we in the UK have telephones and if it's always foggy in London!

We learn about hostess bars and love hotels, things unheard of in the west to my knowledge. I have to confess to feeling somewhat envious of the author in a latter part of the book and then cringing with my legs crossed in another. Male readers on both counts will know what i mean when reaching those parts of the book.

As mentioned before, the odd contradictions in Japanese culture abound here. Tokyo is a high tech city and yet there are places that are quite primitive and yet are thriving. Immaculate customers service in shops and yet health and safety regulations appear to be non existent! A 24 hour night life and a train service that ends around midnight. The traditional Japanese end of year party, where you finally break the ice with your colleagues and appear accepted, only to find that nothing has changed the next time you see them. The cold aloofness of some and the same people exhibiting an outpouring of emotion.

Lost in Tokyo is written in a flowing first person perspective that you'll find easy to listen to. We're taken through the highs, lows and downright oddities experience by the author as we are brought along with him on his Japanese odyssey.

Any review of mine wouldn't be one without my nit pick observations. I don't know if it's the narrator misreading words, or the written words being misspelt. Some of the misreads do sound like something a spell checker would come up with. For example, based on context, it seems that impeccable was replaced with impeachable and it sounded to me as if what ought to have been appreciative somehow, if I recall, became aberration? Those minor quibbles aside, I greatly enjoyed this book and really feel I have experienced a flavour of what life working in a Tokyo high school was like.

One thing that surprised me above all else perhaps, was that nowhere can I recall did the author explain that all names were changed to protect the identities of the people being described, so how he was able to use real names in many instances was a mystery, given some of them weren't nice people.

An excellent and riveting read, highly recommended.



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  • Adam Fitzcharles
  • 04-18-20

Checks all the boxes. Interesting enough.

Having spent seven years in Japan and a chunk of which working for the same dispatch company in Japan as the author for a few years maybe Im not exactly the target audience but all in all I pretty much got a by the book take of the typical experience of a foreigner in Japan teaching English. Lots of typical generalisations about Japanese culture to balance the authors obvious frustration about being pigeonholed and stereotyped as a foreigner in Japan. Actually listening to it sort of brought back flashbacks of all my own frustrations that I had somehow in the intervening years, replaced with the nostalgic rose coloured spectacles of my time there. In fact I also have similar rage inducing stories to tell about two same managers who tried to intimidate Garett at his job (it seems he didn't bother to change their names for the book.) All in all it was interesting, if slightly pedestrian and covered all the things you'd expect from a book like this without offering any real surprises. I imagine the author decided to write the book before he really had something to say whilst hoping that something of real interest would happen to him during his time there. It didn't though. Id say it reads like every blog of every young man who has taught English in Japan within the last 20 odd years. On the positive side he makes no effort to try to paint the experience of living in Japan as all cherry blossoms and idealism that often those people do.
The Narrator does an alright job too, slightly odd gruff tone but I got used to it. Similarly he butchers nearly every Japanese word he attempts to say but again Its not really a big deal.
If you have ever wanted to go to Japan to teach English for a year or two and never did though, this might be for you. Because the experience of doing that is almost identical to reliving it through Garrets eyes, and itll only take up 7 and a half hours of your time.

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  • mr
  • 11-12-19

entertaining glimpse of life in Japan

Fascinating tales of what it is like to work, live, and love as a foreigner in Japan.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-22-19

Good Story, Terrible Choice of Voice Actor

The stories are hilarious and remind me of my time as an English teacher in Japan. However, the voice actor they chose to perform was completely inappropriate. Don't get me wrong, he has a wonderful rich Cockney accent and deep tone, but this it was unsuitable for the story. Also his Japanese pronunciation was terrible and very distracting, "ona gay shi maysoo" and "kin kakooo ji"??

2 people found this helpful

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  • jelaiw
  • 01-13-20

Thoroughly tedious

The laboured reading reflects the laboured writing - an edit is well warranted to cut out repetition and whine.