Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Review: Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me

Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me is a memoir written by Lisa Fineberg Cook. I stumbled upon this book in one of my spontaneous Booksale hunting whims. For those not in the know, Booksale is the haven for bibliophiles on a budget. It is a place where the persistent bargain hunter will be rewarded with Php10-finds. Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me is not one of those Php10-finds.

As far as I can remember, I've been obsessed with anything Japanese. Just the mere mention of the word puts my antennae stand up on attention. Oh... and a somewhat recent romance with someone of half-Japanese decent who recently moved to Japan for good somehow ups my interest for this book. Part of me is wishing I was the offered marriage and asked to move to Japan. Hahaha... Crazy wishful-thinking.

The copy I found was actually priced at Php75; A little pricey for Booksale standards. Most days I would have waited until the book was sold at Php45. But there's just this voice inside my head telling me that I have to read this book now.

Oh YES! I know you've already come to the conclusion that  I bought the book and started reading. Temporarily putting on hold Clash of Kings, the book I started reading the days before I found the Japan book.

The book is an easy read. Simple words with lots of humor. Despite the fact that Lisa was like a whining princess, you'd still get the feeling that she is one of your friends talking to you in prose. I think we all have those types of friends. Those that drive you crazy and yet you can't part with them.  That's the same feeling you'd get when you read this book. There are parts that you'd wish the actual Lisa is in front of you so that you could tell her to suck it up and maybe beat her until she does.

The chapters are not numbered but labeled as mundane  everyday things that we somehow take for granted. Laundry, transportation, communication, etc.  After reading this book, you wouldn't find them mundane anymore. These simple things are not so simple once you are in a country where you don't understand anyone, can't read the labels, and no one understands you.

As I kept reading, I find myself believing that I'm so lucky that half-Jap boy didn't ask me to marry him and move to Japan. But half-Jap boy is just like Peter, Lisa's husband. He's well-travelled, practical, and sweet. He never fails to support his wife and show how much he loves her. Thus, it's easy to swing back to hoping and believing that love exists and that it prevails. I don't really know if the author intended this to be one of her points. To tell you honestly, the point of the book is still a mystery to me. But that doesn't matter. The point is I found the message and value of the book to me. Do not give in to fear. Let none of your failures break you. Just love. Just hope.

Who would have thought you'd get all that from the mundane?

My Rating for this Book:
Anyone who is obsessed with anything Japanese and who is dreaming of moving to Japan will find something to love about this book.

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