How a misfit from Kansas became an Asian sensation


At first, one would think “Impossibly Glamorous” is about the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community) scene in Tokyo because author Charles Ayres has been dubbed “The Queen of Tokyo.”

But this book is more far-reaching than this or his long-term love affair with Japan. There is an overarching theme to the book showing Ayres’ knack to “bounce back” from any adversity. I found this to be one man’s story about how you can be completely flat out on your ass, but still be a winner.

“Impossibly Glamorous” is a non-fictional account of Ayres, whom some of you may have seen as a B-rank “talent” on Japanese TV, which is where I had first seen and forgotten about him. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I never had the pleasure to see him strutting his stuff on stage as the cross-dressing Natasha Foxx at the Pink Cow in Tokyo.

The book starts off with the author’s plight of growing up as a gay teenager in Kansas, coming out, abusive relationships, the seedy dance floors of Kansas City, substance abuse, domestic violence and all other sorts of issues.

And just like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” this boy finds himself caught up in a whirlwind called Tokyo and is swept away from Kansas. When Ayres arrived in Japan some 10 years ago, Japan still largely associated the term “gay” with “drag queen.” 

Ayres is a master story-teller and I enjoyed his take on the Japanese, the Japanese media and “talento” scene, pop culture, as well as obvious advice to himself that may not be applicable for most, such as “Thou shall not date hustlers with Ferraris” and “Thou shall not snatch panties.” (You’ll have to buy the book to get the story on that!)

Beware, there are details of the Tokyo LGBT scene, Goth raver lesbians, hot men, and not-so-hot men, and what goes on in this rarely seen scene in Tokyo. However, unless your “Gaydar” biases you from a good read, you’ll enjoy Ayres’ vibrant personality. He sounds like a Midwestern kid with a good heart that can bounce back from any adversity while still looking glamorous. He might be wearing a faux fur coat, but he will look glamorous.

1 Comment

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    As I don't really watch Japanese telly, I had never heard of Charles Ayres, but I am reading this on Kindle at the moment after JT's initial review of it.

    Ayers seems like a perky and good-humoured fellow, bouncing back from low points. As ever with self-publications, a bit of judicial pruning editing would not have gone amiss, but there are very few-to-no typos (a rarity with vanity press).

    He gives some interesting insights into working for radio here - I would have liked to hear more about this.

    Ayres skims over the details of daily living in Japan (how he moved from apt. to apt. to yet another crappy apt.), paying bills and so on. I have lived here twice as long as he (with much worse Japanese - he must be fluent, which is a massive advantage) and can't imagine al these multiple moves of his.

    I can relate to his description of the a-hole scrounger boyfriend though, and sympathise. You were far too good for him and to him, Young Charles.

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