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Memoirs of an American Housewife in Japan

by:
Pauline Hager (Author)

ISBN: 0-7414-0747-7 ©2001
Price: $14.95
Book Size: 5.5'' x 8.5'' , 237 pages
Category/Subject: TRAVEL / Asia / Japan

Living in Japan was challenging, but Pauline endures. She gingerly maneuvers through complicated rules of Japanese social behavior, never knowing when a simple faux pas would be construed as an intolerable violation of proper conduct.

Abstract:
An American housewife’s husband is offered a position in Japan to work on a multinational project. After much soul-searching they accept, and their lives are never the same. Living in the countryside in housing specifically designed for Westerners, surrounded with friendly neighbors from The European Union, Canada, Russia and America, they thrive. Pauline gingerly maneuvers through complicated rules of Japanese social behavior, never knowing when a simple faux pas would be construed as an intolerable violation of proper conduct. Life in Japan was a challenge, but a close network of Japanese and fellow expatriate friends enabled the Hagers to triumph.

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Customer Reviews

  Accepting New Ways , 03/30/2004
Reviewer: Jim Cox
Accepting new ways and of coping with language barriers, April 11, 2003 Reviewer: Midwest Book Review from Oregon, WI USA Memoirs Of An American Housewife in Japan is the true autobiographical story of Pauline Hager, an amazing American woman, who had to adjust to the completely different culture of Japan when her husband had to work there on a multinational project. Living in housing especially designed for Westerners, and surrounded by friendly neighbors from all over the world, Pauline met the challenges of accepting new ways and of coping with language barriers, strict yet unfamiliar rules of etiquette, and much, much more. Memoirs Of An American Housewife In Japan is highly recommended, deftly written reading...especially for anyone who finds themselves having to cope with being a stranger in a strange land!

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  A Good Read. , 09/09/2005
Reviewer: Liana Metal
Pauline Hager lived in Japan for two and a half years when her husband Randy was offered a position there. Her life in Japan was a challenge as she had to confront traditions and customs very different from the ones she was used to. MEMOIRS OF AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE IN JAPAN is actually a travel account of the author who explored a new place and is able now to let us know of all the pros and cons of that country. Japan, in the eyes of Pauline Hager, is a place the Westerners may find intriguing, yet difficult to get accustomed to at first. The book is divided into three parts, each one dealing with a different period of Pauline's visit to Japan. Part 1 is about the first visit of the Hagers there in 1994, Part 2 focuses on the years 1994 to 1996, while Part 3 tells about their revisit in 1997. All parts are highly exciting to read if the readers are not familiar with the Japanese way of life and customs. Pauline's detailed description of their whereabouts, the food at the local market, the neighborhood, the shops and a lot of other daily life details will leave the reader satisfied. The reader will get the feeling that he/she is actually there experiencing Japan first hand. At the back of the book there is a black and white photo collection depicting Pauling and her new friends. MEMOIRS OF AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE IN JAPAN is the travel book that will entertain the readers as well as educate them. The experiences of the author in Japan and the way they are displayed project this book as a very different "memoirs" book from all the others in the market, that would fit the genre of a "travel guide to Japan" rather than just a mere memoirs book. Of course, the reader can only "see" Japan through the eyes of the author, but doesn't the same thing happen more or less in a travel guide? This book caters to all travel book lovers, and to a female readership most of all as it focuses on things women notice everywhere, such as food and housekeeping, social relations and shopping. It is entertaining to read and quite absorbing. Readers will get to know about Japan and the local lifestyle. Many will probably be motivated to visit Japan, and those who can not, will taste Pauline's experiences through the book.

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  ...a great book... , 10/10/2005
Reviewer: Viviane Crystal
Living overseas is a phenomenal experience, one that can reveal cultural essences that often escape the average person never leaving one's native country. Sharing those experiences enlightens and enlarges the understanding of all who both participate in and read or hear about in those events. Memoirs of an American Housewife in Japan is such a connection. Pauline and Randy Hager get the opportunity to live in Japan from 1994 through 1996. The value of this particular memoirs is a personal view of the lives and customs of those who live outside of major cities such as Tokyo, and the author does a supert job of presenting that information in an accurately fascinating style, as this reviewer can attest after living in that same country for three years. Beginning with the cultural shock an American experiences while encountering the housing and food of a normal Japanese family, as well as attempting to communicate in verbal and written form, Pauline Hager humorously adapts and learns to cherish this unique lifestyle. While she provides plenty of information about the customs, weather, tourist sites, holidays, ceremonies, cultural arts, health care, etc. about her experience, it is her ability to absorb, accept, and integrate the actual experiences in each aspect that makes this such a wonderful and important memoir. Pauline laughs at the numerous mistakes initially made during each event, a wonderful quality not to be overlooked in what can be daunting days. Being sensitive to those individuals who sought to make her experience a positive one, her sensitivity and strength clearly radiate to the reader seeking to know more than just the obvious facts of living in the Far East. This is a great book that hopefully many readers will relish and yearn to experience for themselves.

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  good travel adventure book , 07/05/2006
Reviewer: mona tippins
Ms Hager knows how to hold the reader's interest. She accepts the changes in her lifestyle with grace and good humour. Being able to laugh at yourself,as she does is a talent and a gift.

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  Highly recommended , 10/29/2006
Reviewer: Diane Donovan
This older title deserves ongoing recommendation for any who would understand the Japanese mind from a Western perspective. The author and her husband lived in Japan for over two years from 1994-96: they lived in the country in housing designed for Westerners surrounded by folk from around the world, learning Japanese culture and customs in the course of their stay. Chapters provide excellent first-person insights on how to survive in modern Japan, and will intrigue and interest readers from those who plan to travel or work in the country to others who seek a better understanding of Japanese culture.

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  Daiichi ni hon, sugureru. , 03/02/2007
Reviewer: John Wolf
Pauline's book takes you to the core of living in Japan as a “gaijin." Her detailed descriptions will haunt anyone that has been there for very long for the accuracy of her observations. Her story encompasses real life experiences that generate lasting memories for the foreigner that has spent time in Japan. I have lived in Japan for a few years and was amazed at the parallel experiences. Japan is so unique that an American visitor will immediately relate to what Pauline is saying. I was there in the late 70’s and her story is from the late 90s and it doesn’t appear that there has been any change in the cultural experiences. I wouldn’t expect that, from a country with thousands of years of being Japanese. This book was an enjoyable sojourn through the rice paddies and twisted roads that make up the fabric this mysterious place. The struggle to cope with this uniqueness just strengthens your love of this wonderful place. I still wear Machi boots when it rains in San Diego. We still have a Japanese antique cooking table as our living room coffee table. There are many traces of our time in Japan scattered throughout the house. I still prefer sticky rice to any other and we still refer to rice as “gohon.”

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  A Fascinating Read! , 05/20/2007
Reviewer: Shirley Parker
"Memoirs" is a totally fascinating and amazingly detailed look at Japanese life, seen through the lens of an American who lived there for 2-1/2 years plus. My previous exposure to the region was mostly through encounters and friendships with individuals who have lived in the U.S. for many years; they are almost as Americanized as I (the "ex-pat" Britisher)am these days. I would not have had the patience to endure much of what Ms. Hager went through, trying to learn the customs, language, social obligations, and more, of Japanese culture. Yet her reward lies in the treasured memories and genuine friendships from Japan that will survive whatever the future holds for our universe. Her captivated readers receive an education that is both priceless and entertaining. Two thumbs up!

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  Travel Tips , 01/27/2008
Reviewer: Linda Meckler
This book was fantastic. I could not put it down. It takes you from living in Japan to actual Japanese homes and cultlure. Pauline had to deal with narrow roads without street signs, and the language barrier. She is a courgeous woman and I felt like I was right there with her. This book is a must read for anyone traveling or living in the Asian countries.

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  Boring and Condescending , 02/26/2015
Reviewer: jude wolfe
The author is condescending and provincial. This was not a good read.

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