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

3.16  ·  Rating Details ·  240 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
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. I ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 20th 2009 by Gallery Books (first published September 28th 2009)
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Eveline Chao
Dec 07, 2011 Eveline Chao rated it did not like it
This was boring and emotionally shallow, and I found myself speed-skimming through the last half of it. The most standout problems among many were:

1. Extremely unlikeable narrator. (She talks about being used to getting her way by throwing tantrums, finds it admirable that her best friend scores room upgrades at fancy hotels by talking condescendingly to hotel staff, etc.)

2. No growth. (The supposed growth trajectory is that the narrator goes from being a JAP to having a more nuanced understand
Oct 27, 2009 Audrey rated it really liked it
I tend to enjoy memoirs, especially when they involve Japan. If I had understood how LITTLE this one actually did involve Japan, I probably wouldn't have read it. I went into the book excited to read about the Japanese culture and came out feeling like it could have taken place anywhere. I'm glad that I didn't know it would be like that beforehand, because I probably would have missed out on what turned out to be a great book.

Lisa Fineberg Cook and I have NOTHING in common. Well, very little, a
Dec 13, 2009 Catherine rated it liked it
Cook is one of those superficial, selfish, spoiled brats that are so ubiquitous, especially in L.A. She travels to Japan with her newly wedded husband, who accepts a two-year teaching position in Nagoya. This book, which probably would have worked better as a blog and only a blog, is truly a whine festival for this annoying young woman. There are some funny moments, but I had a hard time getting over Cook's personality.

Having been to Japan—with immense gratitude that I have been able to do so—se
Jul 06, 2010 Jenna rated it liked it
My friend recommended this book to me because I am a newlywed and an expat, although in London, not Nagoya. He thought I'd be amused by the stories about doing laundry, particularly as I often complain about the lack of clothes dryers jhere in the UK.

I read this book in just a day, and found myself laughing out loud toward the beginning (I did indeed love the part about laundry) and tearing up toward the end (the themes of homesickness and changing friendships really resonated with me).

This book
Dec 22, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it
I normally do not read memoirs, but I decided to try this one since it involves the Japanese culture. Generally, I enjoy anything that gives me insight in this culture, and this hilarious novel did just that. The novel take the view point of a young women finding herself immersed in a completely foreign world for the sake of her new husband. This novel is very fast paced, and full of insight.

I have always wanted to visit (and possibly live) in Japan, and I think that I want to do so more now. Co
Lorna Collins
May 18, 2010 Lorna Collins rated it it was ok
Having lived for nearly three years in Japan, I am always curious about how other expats dealt with some of the frustrations we encountered, and also what they enjoyed about their experience. Unfortunately, Lisa Cook's attitude completely defined that of the ugly American. For most of the book, she whines and criticizes, judges and complains about the Japanese and their culture. She was a teacher! Why didn't she do her homework before moving there? The only reasons I gave this one two stars was ...more
Susan Tomi
Don't waste your time reading this book. Cook starts out as a selfish, spoiled princess and ends up after her experience in Japan as a selfish spoiled princess. She whines and complains and I could never figure out what her sweet husband saw in her other than that she was pretty. I kept waiting for her to have some great "ah ha" moment but it never happened. I was surprised that she did have a clue about poetry because she comes across as a shallow nit wit. This book was like a very long boring ...more
Haley Mathiot
Oct 22, 2009 Haley Mathiot rated it really liked it
Summary: Lisa and her husband Peter are newlyweds—like, they were married four days ago—and they are moving to Japan. Lisa tells the first year of her life in Japan, and how she goes from a Jewish American Princess (JAP) with fancy cars and money and really good food to a housewife and a teacher who cooks and cleans. Lisa tells a heartwarming story of the first year of a beautiful marriage and hilarious adventures in Japan.

Thoughts: This book was really cute. I really liked it a lot. she used th
Dec 30, 2013 Erika rated it it was ok
I initially picked up this book with enthusiasm. I am American-born and have spent significant time in Japan, so I expected many moments of recognition while reading her escapades in an admittedly very different land, with different culture, food and language. Those moments happened in the very beginning, and went downhill from there.

My biggest issue with this book is that I spent a lot of time and energy trying to relate with the author, but every so often my inner monologue would go "my God, s
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
Jul 17, 2010 Christina rated it it was ok
I bought this book mostly for its title. Japan took the JAP out of someone, meaning, Jewish American princess, sold me instantly. I am not exactly sure when Mrs. Cook was in Japan but it must have been early 90s. I am sure (since I've not been in over a decade) that things in Japan have changed some. This book was mildly humorous but mostly, it bored me. The writer obviously was a spoiled J.A.P. and needed a good swift kick in the you know what. Glad Japan did that for her. Now. Has she reverted ...more
Oct 20, 2009 April rated it really liked it
Japan Took The JAP Out of Me By Lisa Fineberg Cook is a memoir about a woman who lives in Japan for a year. She's a stereotypical Jewish American Princess, which is definitely not a bad thing, but it makes for some funny culture shock moments.
Read the rest of my review here
Apr 08, 2010 Carol rated it liked it
A little hard to keep reading at first, since I was disgusted with the author's attitude - SO spoiled, selfish and insensitive. But it was a learning experience for her, and she became somewhat more tolerable over time.
Jan 21, 2010 Triss rated it liked it
so much cursing. Why?
Jan 12, 2010 Hope rated it liked it
I didn't appreciate the excessive whining in the beginning. By the end the author voice was a lot better, and reflects the changes she went through in perspective living abroad.
Katherine Fuller
Nov 14, 2009 Katherine Fuller rated it liked it
Love reading about ex-pats.
Apr 25, 2012 Meg rated it really liked it
Lisa Fineberg Cook’s Japan Took The J.A.P. Out of Me is an entertaining look at one Type-A woman’s quest to make the most of a foreign experience. Peter’s new teaching post means Lisa must leave behind her L.A.-based friendships, family and work for the year they’re abroad. As someone addicted to her regular primping sessions, lunch dates and hobnobbing, Lisa’s introduction to Japanese culture is a little rocky. She doesn’t speak the language, for one, and as a tall, blonde American? Well, let’s ...more
Nov 03, 2010 Wendi rated it liked it
Shelves: fluff, memoirs
I love memoirs, especially memoirs about traveling to other countries. It started when my Long Distance BFF moved to China for a year. Her blog entries about her adventures were so amazing. The difference between my friend's writing and Lisa Fineberg Cook is the amount of whining from the published author!

J.A.P. stands for Jewish American Princess. I could care less if she was Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, or worshiped Chia pets - Ms. Cook's account of her travels in Japan still make her out to
Mar 21, 2015 Lauren rated it liked it
Lisa Fineberg Cook recently walked down the aisle and moved across the world as she followed her husband in his new job as a teacher in Japan. From a pampered L.A. princess lifestyle to staying at home and doing laundry for the first time in her life, Cook certainly had to make some adjustments with her move. Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me recounts the first year of Cook’s marriage and her first year abroad.

First thing first: Lisa Fineberg Cook is NOT a likeable woman. Her whole memoir is a bi
Apr 30, 2013 Marsha rated it it was amazing
Lisa was just a newlywed when her husband Peter accepted a two year contact teaching English in Nagoya, Japan. Lisa was quite reluctant at first living in Japan, leaving behind her Best Female Friend (BFF) Stacey, and her fine dining, the beaches and her car in Los Angeles to go to a land where she would be using public transportation, not have any female friends and where Japanese was the first language, and she would not be able to have some of her favorite foods and where many new foods would ...more
Mandy Tanksley
Lisa Fineberg Cook doesn't cook. She doesn't do any domestic things actually when her journey begins. Ms. Cook is a newlywed whose husband is offered a teaching position in Nagoya, Japan. She decides to leave behind her free-wheeling L.A. lifestyle of manicures, massages, and hair appointments in order to show her husband some support. Once she arrives, she realizes just how little she actually knows about the country and how much she stands out. With nothing better to do, Cook begins her descen ...more
Oct 26, 2009 drey rated it liked it
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 c
Sutter Lee
Jun 02, 2014 Sutter Lee rated it liked it
In a mood for chick lit, and to see what certain types of young women are up to. I don't know anyone like Fineberg, and frankly don't want to, but amused by her shallow, self-indulgent self-centeredness.
I can't really blame her for what she is; it's the way she was raised, how things are in her world, her culture. She just takes it all for granted.
Was good for her to suddenly be plunged into another culture, where the beautiful blond is not desirable nor admired or envied, but is a freak.
It doe
Jun 16, 2015 Lauri rated it liked it
I picked this book up from a free sidewalk library down the street (I love our city). It looked amusing, and it definitely was. The author is a self-professed JAP who gets married and promptly moves with her new husband from LA to Nagoya, Japan. Her experiences as she tries to navigate a new culture (and a new marriage) are pretty hilarious, even if she is sometimes a bit annoying (I kind of hope that she emphasized some of her JAP tendencies for comic effect). Overall, though, her trials and tr ...more
Nov 11, 2009 Harvee rated it it was amazing
I laughed out loud several times while reading this memoir, in the funny parts at the beginning, when Lisa finds herself puzzled and unable to understand the culture of her new temporary home, Japan.

A newly married and relatively spoilt 30 year old woman, a J.A.P. (Jewish-American Princess), she negotiates her way around her temporary home in Nagoya, Japan, finding out she has to do housework she had never had to do back in L.A. - laundry with an outdated machine, cooking at home, taking public
Oct 20, 2009 Andrea rated it it was amazing
When I first started reading this, I thought it would be fun to learn about the Japanese culture from an American girl standpoint. I was not expecting it to be as funny as it was! I was actually laughing outloud at many points (and getting strange looks from my boyfriend). Lisa Cook writes her story in such a way that I found myself totally engaged in her year in Japan. I felt like if I were the one in her shoes, I would be doing, saying, and feeling the exact way she did! I have always wanted t ...more
Feb 01, 2012 Karen rated it really liked it
How many times was I told to write this book. I totally should have. From the viewpoint of someone who moved to Japan and remembers all the little idiosyncracies of the culture, this is very funny. I can't entirely relate to the author as she seems a bit haughty throughout the book, thinking her way is always the best way and the Japanese are laughable. Even when she does finally get it and realizes that there are other views of how things should be done than just her own, I think she still does ...more
Dec 26, 2010 Garci rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan
This book was a hoot! I wanted to read it because I am interested in Japanese culture and thought I already knew a lot but I found that I learned a lot. I didn't realize it was a memoir -- I thought it was going to be a novel. So I was pleasantly surprised and quite entertained. I laughed out loud several times (the spa experience was hysterical). Besides the humor, I loved how brave and independent Lisa was, when she ventured out to work and shop in a place where communication is challenging. I ...more
Jul 24, 2013 Jolene rated it it was ok
A memoir of a jewish/los angeles woman and how she manuevers her way through Nagoya/Japan as a newlywed. Cook is very honest with her observations about Japanese culture through an american eye. (Especially the parts about not really wanting to learn japanese language or customs and that all asian people look the same.) There were some amusing parts to this memoir, but some parts were a bit redundent, and after a while you don't feel sympathetic towards Cook who only superficially connects with ...more
Sep 01, 2011 Anna rated it liked it
Though sometimes entertaining, and often sincere, this story was fueled by superficial disappointments in a newly married women's life, and the culture of Japan took a very secondary role - it was not completely marginal but the moments of connection with the culture were lost amidst shopping sprees, thwarted shopping sprees and comfort eating. i'm sure its something many many women would immediately identify with, but I wanted more... it feels like the author was on the way to a deeper way of e ...more
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