Thursday, October 15, 2009

Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me-Lisa Fineberg Cook

Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me
Lisa Fineberg Cook
Downtown, Oct 20 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9781439110034

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

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