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205. Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me by Lisa Feinberg Cook...

November 15, 2009
japan took the j.a.p out of meAbout the book:
Six days after an InStyle-worthy wedding in Los Angeles, Lisa Fineberg Cook left behind her little red Jetta, her manicurist of ten years, and her very best friend for the land of the rising sun.

When her husband accepted a job teaching English in Nagoya, Japan, she imagined exotic weekend getaways, fine sushi dinners, and sake sojourns with glamorous expatriate friends. Instead, she's the only Jewish girl on public transportation, and everyone is staring. Lisa longs for regular mani/pedis, valet parking, and gimlets with her girlfriends, but for the next year, she learns to cook, clean, commute, and shop like the Japanese, all the while adjusting to another foreign concept -- marriage. Loneliness and frustration give way to new and unexpected friendships, the evolution of old ones, and a fresh understanding of what it means to feel different -- until finally a world she never thought she'd fit into begins to feel home-like, if not exactly like home.

drey's thoughts:
I was intrigued by the title of this book, probably because at first look it was like, what? And then it sank in. Upon which I fully expected a witty, humorous read.

And it delivered. Mostly. Don't get me wrong, I laughed out loud at Lisa vs. the washing machine. Lisa on the bus with the PTA wives on a field trip--where sake is served and karaoke is the entertainment. On the bus. And I felt as thrilled as she did when she crosses the four corners crosswalk in Tokyo.

And yet, there are parts that come across a little more poignantly. Like when she finds a store that carries Heinz ketchup and Kraft macaroni & cheese. I so understand how she felt--even though it's hard to find belacan or durian here in the States...

Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me is a witty, quirky memoir that you will devour in one sitting. I wish at parts that she had gone a little deeper into the cultural norms in Japan, but then it wouldn't have been a witty, humorous, read. So. If you're up for reading about an American in Japan, trying to figure out how to navigate around, and not look so out-of-place, pick this one up with a cuppa and a slice of pie.

Title: Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me
Author: Lisa Feinberg Cook
ISBN-10: 1439110034
ISBN-13: 9781439110034
Paperback: 275 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2009

Challenges: 100+, Pub

Disclosure: My copy of Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me was provided by Pocket Books for a blog tour on October 27th.


bermudaonion said...

Having lived in France, I can really relate to finding a little slice of home. The book sounds like something I could relate to.

Bleuette said...

The book sounds really good!

Ladytink_534 said...

I had to look up what J.A.P. means but this does sound interesting. I couldn't imagine moving to another country and trying to cope. I've lived in another state away from my friends and family for almost 5 years now and I still haven't quite adjusted and I'm still in the same country!

Melissa said...

I love memoirs, and especially those set in other countries, so I added this one to my WL.

drey said...

Ladytink, I had to look it up, too. D'you think I should've mentioned it in the post?

Gwendolyn B. said...

Ha! I think it's kind of funny that some people had to look up "J.A.P." to get the intended meaning in the title. Maybe the term is falling out of use - and that's probably a good thing. I'm not so sure that it's not denigrating TWO groups of people. Title aside, I enjoyed the book as well.

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