Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me

Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me

3.7 14
by Lisa Fineberg Cook
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Less than a week after her elegant L.A. wedding, Lisa Fineberg Cook kissed her manicurist and her best friends goodbye and headed for the land of sushi. This self-described Beverly Hills Jewish American Princess had already imagined the Japan that she expected to encounter: exotic, friendly, mysterious, and a great place to shop. Settling into her new Nagoya home and married life, Cook learned that the Japanese had their own expectations and lifestyle that didn't always fit her own. Over time, she realized that sometimes a little cultural clash can be an enriching experience. Brisk, good-hearted read.
Kirkus Reviews
Self-described Jewish American Princess Cook temporarily relocated to Nagoya, Japan, where her husband worked as a teacher while she navigated the quotidian ins and outs of expat life. Following her splashy wedding, the author regretfully traded her Beverly Hills existence-replete with regular visits to Neiman Marcus, her longtime hair stylist and manicurist and constant contact with her childhood best friend and family-for far less luxurious conditions in Asia. After their business-class flight, she and her doting husband, neither of whom speak Japanese, arrived at their sparsely furnished walkup apartment in Japan's fourth-largest city. While he threw himself into his teaching job, Cook was left to find her own way, which included doing household chores, heretofore anathema to her. Divided into six sections-laundry, cooking, transportation, shopping, cleaning and intermission-the book unfolds chronologically, covering the couple's first year there. After bouncing back from the labor-intensive laundry work-they finally got a new washing machine-Cook gave up smoking cigarettes in bed with her morning coffee and found rewarding work of her own, teaching English to women and children at different places around the city. Few readers will be impressed by the author's present-tense, repetitive, cliche-ridden prose, which is loosely sewn into brief paragraphs and choppy dialogue. For what her book lacks in style and substance, Cook attempts to make up for with her unfiltered opinions and no-holds-barred voice, fashioning her memoir as the equivalent of a printed-out blog. Most of the highlights occur during the heated but always loving exchanges between Cook and her husband, as they figure outhow to make each other-and themselves-happy, and take up the evening ritual of meeting on their terrace to rehash their tribulations. Good-natured vapidity.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439110034
Publisher:
Gallery Books
Publication date:
10/20/2009
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Fineberg Cook, a self-described Jewish American Princess from L.A., leaps at the chance for an exciting adventure when her brand-new husband’s brand-new job takes them to Japan a week after they’re wed.

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Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JS22 More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! And wish their was another book like it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
¨And I´ve been in Havaii, so how different could Japan be? Half the population of Japan was in Hawaii ¨ See Japan with the eyes of ignorant person - that should be the name of this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a very slow going, simple book, not very well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book, a breezy fun read. A newly married woman from car obsessed LA moves with her new husband to industrial Japan for a 2 year stint. She deals with the culture shock and first year of marriage with both tears and humor. Kudos to Lisa Cook, really enjoyed this book. I hope you will travel more and write more. I'll go with you vicariously. The cost of this ebook jumped 10% overnight in the middle of February, shame on you Simon & Shuster and B&N! Unfortunately for me this book loses a star for your shameless price gouging.
Non-FictionReader More than 1 year ago
Interesting read on living in Japan but am very disappointed in the fact that the author felt the need to use such filthy language and her need to tell too much of her sex life. Don't feel at all comfortable about recommending this book.
gl More than 1 year ago
Funny and engaging, Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me: The True Story of a Domesticated Princess reads like a mix of chicklit, travelogue, and memoir. The book is arranged chronologically and into the six main areas of culture shock: Laundry, Cooking, Transportation, Shopping, Cleaning and Intermission. Lisa Fineberg Cook doesn't pull any punches - she is as harsh towards herself as she is to her new acquaintances, which makes for an entertaining narrative. We learn of her frustration and isolation as she is constantly stared at, described as Meg Ryan, and is treated, albeit politely, as an outsider. As she learns to navigate the city of Nagoya and finds her own friends, we enjoy the moments of triumph as Lisa wins the respect and affection of those around her. As to be expected in books of this nature, Lisa becomes more of a sympathetic character as she learns to adjust to the world around her. I thoroughly enjoyed Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me: The True Story of a Domesticated Princess. I recommend this book highly. It'll likely be particularly hilarious to people interested in Japan or those who have moved overseas or those who have had to adjust to a new environment (most of us!). Publisher: Downtown Press; 1 edition (October 20, 2009), 288 pages. Review copy provided by the publisher.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Jewish American Princess Lisa F. Cook accompanied her husband when he accepted a teaching position in Japan. Used to the pampered life of the wealthy of Beverly Hills, Ms. Cook was in for culture shock following the business flight from California. First instead of a luxurious private residence, they moved into an apartment. Second she suddenly became a domestic engineer struggling with things like laundry and cooking she took for granted that someone else was paid to do back in Southern California. Adjusting proves a nightmare even when she is rewarded with nirvana, a washing machine. Ultimately, Ms. Cook begins teaching English as a second language, which she finds satisfying. Although much of the memoir reads like an uneven diary with fits of jerky input; when Ms. Cook digs deep beyond the trials and tribulation of a Yank in Japan into how she feels about aspects of the Japanese culture, the book contains profound passages. Overall, readers will mostly enjoy the efforts of the author and her husband finding ways to make both of them contented with life as a self anointed J.A.P. trying to initially survive but ultimately thrive in Japan. Harriet Klausner