Review of Japan Took The JAP Out of Me by Lisa Fineberg Cook

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review of Japan Took The JAP Out of Me by Lisa Fineberg CookJapan Took The J.A.P. Out Of Me by Lisa Fineberg Cook
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2009-10-20
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Women
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

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.

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 show moments.

I thought Lisa was intriguing, in America, she’s a social studies teacher which is definitely a plus. I felt she was honest, she didn’t shy away from saying things which may be politically incorrect, she was upfront about sex, and upfront about her discomfort with living somewhere foreign. I value that sort of honesty in a memoir-writer, especially since many memoirs I come across the author seems to be wearing rose-tinted glasses when it comes to self-reflection and examination. I definitely thought it was interesting to walk a mile in Lisa’s shoes.

My favorite part of Japan Took The JAP Out Of Me is when Lisa goes out to the bar with her new Japanese friend, it was SO funny. I also enjoyed the parts where she wrote about her relationship with her husband Peter, who seems quite adorable.

If you are squeamish about sex, don’t read Japan Took The JAP Out Of Me by Lisa Fineberg Cook, as Cook is rather frank about what is going on in her bed.

Overall, Japan Took The JAP Out Of Me by Lisa Fineberg Cook is a fascinating, well-written read for anyone who is interested in travel and living in another culture. While reading this book, I recommend you do some sake bombs to get you in the spirit!


About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Ooo this looks like a lot of fun! I haven't read many memoirs but it's a genre I'd love to explore more. Great review!

  2. Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) says

    I really enjoyed it too. I admired her honesty.

  3. Doesnt really sound like my type of book. However, it does sound interesting. I love reading where other cultures are combined and you see some differences.

  4. It's funny, but I remember next to nothing about her talking about sx in this book. I enjoyed this book, but I think you may have liked it way more than I did.

  5. Juju at Tales of says

    A. Fantastic review.
    B. Thanks for the warning I really value those.
    C. Sake! I love sake! Perfect choice.

  6. Interesting title. And I really like the concept.

  7. librarypat says

    It is always interesting and very telling to see how someone views another culture. Even more interesting and telling is to see how we are seen through the eyes of someone from another culture. We both are viewing things through our own perspectives, but we can learn a lot about ourselves by paying attention to how we are seen.

  8. Texy's bookself says
  9. The first review I read of this absolutely hated it but now I've read two good ones so I may have to give it a try. But, can I ask, is all of the sex necessary to explain about her life in Japan?

  10. I've read only one other review for this book and that person didn't like it. Think I read the same review as Lisa 😛 Anyway, your review has made me want to read this book now 🙂 Thanks!

  11. This one looks so good. I don't usually read books like this, but it does sound fun!

  12. This book has been on my wish list-thanks for the review.

  13. Sheila (Bookjourney) says

    This sounds good! I think I would like this one!

  14. this book sounds good to read 🙂
    thanks for the review!

  15. I haven't read a memoir before but am getting interested in reading them but perhaps won't start with this one but it looks very interesting.


  16. Lisa and Laura says

    Can we all agree that this book has the best title ever? Ok, good. Glad we cleared that up.

  17. justicejenniferreads says

    I don't read many memoirs. Maybe it is because of the rose-colored glasses that you mentioned many memoir writers wear. Still, this one sounds like its different and that definitely intrigues me.

  18. I'm not really into memoirs, but great review on it. I think I may look more into it to learn more about it.

  19. ~The Book Pixie says

    I've seen this one around quite a bit but this is the first time I've ever taken the time to read a review on it. It sounds really interesting and I'll definitely be putting it on my list. Thanks for the review. 😀


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