Slow burn

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  • Published 20090831
  • ISBN: 9781921520761
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

I WAS INITIATED into the Japanese investment-banking scene in a murky Tokyo izakaya in early 1988. Selling Japanese stocks to international investors was a new game – foreign securities firms had been permitted by the authorities to buy seats on the Tokyo Stock Exchange only two years earlier – and everybody was learning the rules as they went along. Or making them up.

‘No, no, you still don’t quite get it,’ my boss insisted, shunting aside his glass to create more space in which to gesticulate. Beer slopped up and over the edge of the glass, forming a little pool on the table. Around us, waitresses in bright blue and white happi coats weaved between the tables and emerged from clouds of cigarette smoke with trays of sashimi and tofu. Eda-mame shells lay scattered between the plates and on the floor.

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