90-Day Geisha
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90-Day Geisha

2.88 of 5 stars 2.88  ·  rating details  ·  376 ratings  ·  76 reviews
An introspective journey into the glamorous world-and temptations-of Japanese nightlife, by former model Chelsea Haywood.The hard-drinking, drug-taking, all-night culture that dominates Tokyo's Roppongi district can be a surreal place. Overworked Japanese business men will pay handsomely for the services of a hostess-someone to talk to, someone to provide hot towels and dr...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Bolinda Publishing (first published December 31st 2007)
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eb
What a shame Haywood can't write! Her experience working as a hostess in Tokyo must have been fascinating, but she has a pretentious 13-year-old's idea of what constitutes good prose, which results in more squinting modifiers and misused polysyllabic words than you can shake a stiletto heel at. If you can get through a whole book's worth of sentences like "Half-detonated popcorn kernels lay saturated in grease, and plumes of cigarette smoke hung stagnant while the ink of prestigious vineyard nam...more
Bria
there is no summary of this book so here is one until a librarian updates the listing:
"Millionaires, surgeons, serial killers, CEOs: 'What are your hobbies?' Step into the surreal world of a Tokyo hostess club and gain an exclusive, underground pass through the eyes of author Chelsea Brennan as she attempts to understand a way of life unique to the Japanese, all the while experiencing six-hundred dollar dinners, kabuki theatre, Harajuku shopping sprees, and first-class trips to 'Anywhere you wan...more
Catherine
Mar 01, 2010 Catherine rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: No one
Haywood travels to Tokyo with her husband on a 90-day tourist visa and gets a job in a Roppongi hostess bar with the direct intention of writing a book about it. I’m usually tolerant of, and often enjoy, stunt books, but this one reads like a badly written teenager’s diary entries. There’s no story arc. Judging by the quality of the writing, I’m guessing that the scattered snippets on Japanese culture and history were researched via Wikipedia and/or a travel guide with words rearranged to avoid...more
April
Jun 10, 2013 April rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: No One
A local library book sale brought this novel to my attention. I now wish I had picked up that copy "101 Super Uses for a Tampon Applicator" instead. Luckily, I only spent $2 on this waste of paper but it was still $2 too much.

Not only is this "story" (yes, it's in quotes because there really isn't one) contrived and overly written but it's an insult to the readers sensibilities.

The entire time it played out Ms. Haywood's need to brag about how horrible it all was and how smart she was compared t...more
Mazola1
I first encountered the Japanese hostess bar on a visit to Hawaii decades ago. These are bars or clubs where men pay lots of money to have women sit and talk to them while they drink real drinks and the women sip drinks with little or no alcohol. The ones I visited were in working class neighborhoods, and they struck me as odd and somewhat sad. Odd because they were foreign to Western culture. And sad because most of the men seemed socially awkward and lonely.

Chelsea Haywood's book 90-day Geish...more
Jennie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea
*sigh* I picked this book up against my better judgment. Just reading the title pissed me off since a bar hostess is to a geisha what a college dance production is to a performance of the national ballet. However, I pressed on as I know almost nothing of Hostess culture.

The book starts quite well, introducing the bewildering combination of neon lights and dark corners and a certain seediness cloaked in a thin veneer of respectability that is Tokyo nightlife. It starts going downhill when it beco...more
Katya
The first half of this book was very intriguing and quickly sucked me in. Although I'm not specifically interested in Japanese culture, the concept of hostess bars and Tokyo nightlife in general is curious and I was really interested to see what a young Western woman (like myself) would make of it. At first, I enjoyed seeing that unfamiliar world through Chelsea's eyes and marveling at the strange (to me) aspects of Japanese culture.

About halfway through the book, though, it began to get unbeara...more
Donna
I read this book about 2 years ago, so I don't remember all the details associated with it. What I do remember is that it provided some insightful answers to questions that I have been wondering about the hostess situation in Japan. I immediately identified with Chelsea's story as she was in Japan around the same time that I lived there. Although I've never had any association with the hostess bars, I was always curious about the lives of foreign women who worked in them. Unlike some of the wome...more
Jesse
I'm not sure what to say about this book. It was definitely a fast read and entertaining and a bit titillating. That said the author could have benefited from a bit more self reflection (any 20 year old who says "I never thought I would get married, but then I did" could probably benefit from a bit more self reflection and that was in the first few chapters of the book). Also some bombs were dropped (maybe I was a hostess to a serial rapist and murderer!) that seemed ill researched when they cou...more
Annalise
I usually don't read biographies or memoirs but the title caught my eye. Needless to say I wasn't disappointed. I was curious to learn more about the Japanese hostess culture, especially from the point of view of a westerner. From the very first chapter I was immediately drawn into her story. The way in which she paints Japanese culture invokes a world of entitlement and materialism. Yet it is apparent that the world in which many of her clients live is empty and lonely, punctuated only by brief...more
Natalia
I read this because I thought it would be sort of useful in gleaning tidbits about day-to-day life in Japan, and it was, if to a lesser extent than I'd hoped. I think Haywood had a good idea that was rather poorly executed. The book didn't have a lot of continuity; there wasn't much attempt at theme or drawing conclusions about the culture of Hostessing in Japan. Mostly it read like a series of blog entries... a few paragraphs on this dinner, a page or two on a weekend trip, etc. She gives us sn...more
Jess Hartley
I'm utterly fascinated by geisha, courtesans, saloon girls/soiled doves and the entire "women using their bodies, wits and guile for their own purposes" thing.

However, sadly, I found Haywood's personality (as expressed through her writing) to be difficult to empathize with. Her duplicity towards her husband was as great as that she apparently had difficulty coping with offering towards some of her customers, which made for an uncomfortable read.

If this was a work of fiction, rather than a memoi...more
Arminzerella
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Annick
Chelsea Haywood is not exactly a good writer, but this also is her first book so I can forgive her that. Maybe it's also because I read the Dutch translation that I didn't think it was that bad.

I didn't like that the title mentioned 'geisha' but I don't know if she got any say in that. Obviously she wasn't a geisha, just a hostess.

I enjoyed reading this book, despite its flaws. Chelsea wrote at the end of the book that some people didn't make it because they weren't interesting enough (according...more
Arya
When I finished reading this book, I did spend a couple of instants asking myself why so many people gave it such a low rating. Personally, I didn't find it as bad as other people say it is.

90-Day Geisha is pretty much a diary. The title is self-explanatory: Chelsea Haywood, a young Canadian girl who has married not too long ago decides to go to Japan to work as a hostess. The first reaction was, of course, the cultural chock. After many conflicts, compliments and lessons for life, she slowly en...more
Liz
Jan 31, 2010 Liz rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: history lovers of geisha
Recommended to Liz by: self
Shelves: memoirs
Chelsea Haywood descends on the Roppongi district in Tokyo to work as a hostess at Greengrass. She is there to write on her 90 day adventured of the modern day geisha. She is also a young married woman, which is to never be known to the men she is entertaining. Chelsea learns that hostessing is more to do with the psychological aspect of the men she supposedly "loves" than the act of prostitution. She actually thinks she is falling for a guy named Yoshi, but realizes it is just his lifestyle not...more
Andrea
The title of this book was misleading because the author was a hostess, rather than a traditional geisha, in Japan. Although her descriptions of the various men she met as hostess got tedious, her descriptions of Japanese culture were interesting.
Andy Wilkins
This is a really easy and light book to read and contains some nice tidbits of information regarding hostessing and Japanese culture in general.

However, the story is way to strung out (it could easily be condensed into an article), the dates and customers that she encounters are so remarkably similar to each other I found it difficult to keep track to the latter. It was difficult to understand why she might be attracted to yoshi and her relationship with her husband also seemed difficult to fath...more
Jonathan Lu
Very well written memoir that I devoured in 3 days after finding myself unable to put down, like a bored housewife picking up Bridget Jones diary for the first time. Kudos to Chelsea Haywood for embarking on such a strange and emotionally tasking venture at the far from ripe age of 20years, and bravo for scoring a publisher to tell a well thought out tale.

What was it that attracted me so much to these pages... my own memories at the awkwardness of visiting a hostess club for the first time when...more
Jordan
I got this on loan from my local library. As I always enjoy new subjects to read about, I thought this book would be fun.

Chelsea is a twenty year old Canadian. She’s married to a very understanding man who supported her in writing this book. She wanted to read a book about what it was like to become a hostess in Japan. When she couldn’t find a book like that, she decided to do the leg work herself. She and her husband move to Japan for ninety days so she can document her experiences and lifestyl...more
Emily Mirski
It has interesting moments. Readable as a trite way to satisfy curiosity about a particular aspect of Japanese culture and lifestyles but not well written overall - lacked continuity in the story telling, with scattered, feeble attempts to be clever. I kept getting the impression that because the author is very physically attractive, being a model,that she is accustomed to people treating her as though she is more interesting than she really is. Without the aide of physical allure, a writer must...more
Jen
I don't know what's up with the bad reviews - I loved this book! First let me say that I "read" this book by listening to the audiobook. The narrator did a fantastic job and I was entertained the entire time.

I am very interested in Japanese culture and I plan on teaching English in Japan after I get my degree. 90 Day Geisha is about life as a Tokyo hostess from HER perspective. It is her memoir. I was very intrigued when I first learned of hostessing and it was great to read about her personal e...more
Rebecca
The problem with this book seems to be that she thinks she's writing a great narrative when in fact its just another story told by another traveller and throwing some fancy words in doesn't change that. I also struggled with the whole story, girl goes to Japan to be aq hostess, girl goes on about Japanese men and there misogynistic culture but then is part of the problem and justifies it, again using flowry words. Best left on the TBR shelf.
Mellybeans0919
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Mei
The writing was not particularly good and the stories seemed to follow in a chronological order. I do not feel the urge to turn the pages when I read this book, but it still a good book to read nevertheless. It is definitely an interesting read though. The stories with various little bits of Japanese culture is very intriguing, but it can certainly use some additional organization to make the writing more interesting.

Chelsea has a 3-month travel visa to Japan and she decided to become a hostess...more
Hope
My rating is kinda harsh.... because there actually was lots of interesting, funny and disturbing snippits in here. I would have enjoyed this better as a blog. (No plot expectations)
Or if she had written a more fictional account of an average hostess. That way there could have been a plot, and some resolution... an epiphany...something! Instead is a disjointed account of 3 months of late nights, and apparently never doing anything with her husband. The fact that the author took a hostess job to...more
Danielle
An interesting take on this part of Japanese culture. I learned more from this book than I expected.
Amymamy
Picked it up in an airport and yeah, it's an airport read. Started and finished it on a flight from Perth to Seattle, and managed to watch several movies in between. Having lived in Japan for 3 years, it's *so* interesting reading about other people's 'cultural insights', especially when that person spends 90 days there and has enough 'cultural insight' to write a book like this. Read it if you're looking for something light and easy, but be warned about annoying assumptions about Japan and it's...more
Jo
This was interesting enough. There was something very unlikeable about the author that took something away from the story. She just seemed very selfish and mean spirited that I didn't have any sympathy for her issues.

For example, when she first arrived she was so grateful for the help and advice of the other hostesses, but as she became more senior in the club, she was very nasty to the newer girls.

It was interesting though and I got through it quite quickly.
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