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Bar Flower

Not long after graduating college, American Lea Jacobson moved to Japan to teach English. Unable to accept strict Japanese norms — hiding her underwear at the bottom of a laundry hamper, for example — she left her host home, got fired, and began working as a nightclub hostess. While flirting with businessmen and persuading them to purchase alcohol, she jump-started an addiction to booze and spiraled into depression. Jacobson’s memoir, Bar Flower, is deeply personal — she doesn’t shy away from her struggles with cutting and eating disorders — but it’s also a thorough, fascinating guide to modern Japanese culture. A-

Bar Flower
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