Cover image for Japan took the J.A.P. out of me : [a memoir]
Japan took the J.A.P. out of me : [a memoir]
Cook, Lisa Fineberg.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Downtown Press, [2009]

Physical Description:
275 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS897.N319 C66 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DS897.N319 C66 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



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.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Two weeks after Lisa Fineberg Cook marries, she and her teacher husband move from Los Angeles to Nagoya, Japan. While Cook (J.A.P. is an acronym for Jewish American Princess) envisions a life of shopping and sushi, she is dismayed to find her actual situation involves a tiny apartment and desolate landscape. Cook documents her flighty debut memoir in five sections: laundry, cooking, transportation, shopping, and cleaning, as she tries to conquer each task in unfamiliar surroundings. While Cook struggles with culture shock and loneliness, she ruminates on life as a newlywed and homemaker after years of enjoying a privileged single life. Though Cook's ramblings come across as self-serving, the highlight of her time abroad comes when she lands a job teaching at an all-girls' school and interacts with one particular student who, with Cook's help, discovers the joy of poetry. Cook also reveals a subtle moment of compassion when she and her unflappable husband visit Hiroshima, quietly recognizing that her life, and the lives of others, extends beyond a coveted Los Angeles zip code.--Strauss, Leah Copyright 2009 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In her debut memoir, Beverly Hills native Cook takes an honest look at the life of a young, privileged, Jewish woman who relocates to Japan with her new (American) husband, leaving the life she knows behind-largely spent out with friends, shopping, eating, or abusing nail salons and spas. Suddenly, she's immersed in a world she doesn't understand, from the language to the housework to the friendships. Much is made of her severed relationship with her best friend Stacey, but before long, Cook lands some teaching jobs, meets friendly co-workers and a few enthusiastic students, and finds her relationship with her new husband blossoming. Through her struggles, Cook offers a genuinely funny and honest fish-out-of-water narrative without ever veering into broad or tone-deaf territory (not after the title, anyway). (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.