Boston Globe features The Good Shufu in their “Story Behind the Book” column

Thanks, Boston Globe, for this piece!

Tracy Slater and the journey least expected

Before she met her husband, Tracy Slater was “fiercely independent,” she says, an academic teaching literature and gender studies at Boston University’s College Behind Bars program. Then a Japanese businessman getting an executive MBA in Boston entered her life, she said, “and I just fell madly in love with him.”

When her future husband had to return to Osaka to care for his father in the wake of his mother’s sudden death, Slater found herself following him there. They married, and she became, suddenly, a shufu. The word means “housewife” in Japanese, but it doesn’t share the connotations most Americans bring to the word here. “It’s much more common in Japan,” Slater said, “that when a woman marries she quits her job, even if she doesn’t have kids.”

In “The Good Shufu: Finding Love, Self, and Home on the Far Side of the World,” Slater writes of her cultural dislocation in this new country and new role, but also of the joy it brought her.

“I worked really hard to plan this kind of life I thought would be my perfect life, and it got completely upended when I fell in love with this person,” she said. She added, “The most rewarding thing is realizing I feel more grounded, more in the right place, than I ever have in my life. The journey that I least expected took me to exactly the right place.”

One place it took her was to motherhood, as parent to a half-Japanese daughter. “She is part of my body,” Slater said, “and yet she is also an integral part of a culture that will, always and forever, see me as a foreigner.” As for her role as shufu, she said, “The title is ironic. I’m not a good shufu. I’m the worst housekeeper in the world.”

Slater will read Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Newtonville Books.

See full piece online

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Panic, Book Launches, & Being a Japanese-Jewish Housewife

A few new pieces came out recently in preparation for the book launch, which is now less than 2 weeks away. (Yikes.)

The first is from SheWrites, titled “The Silly Little Things I’m Panicking About” before the book launch. The second is a piece on the website Kveller, titled “Becoming a Japanese Housewife Made Me a More Committed Jew.”

Now that I see the two pieces and their titles side by side, it occurs to me: Perhaps I should actually be panicking less about the launch and more about how in the world I became a Japanese Jewish Housewife?

The Hardcover Hits Tokyo!

ShufuHardcoverJune2015The book exists in hardcover! Here it is on my windowsill at our house in the Tokyo suburbs. I may like my makeup sparkly & my patent leather shiny, but I’m loving the special matte paper Putnam Books has chosen. Thanks so much, Putnam!

PS. It’s not in bookstores in the US (or any other countries) yet until June 30, but it is being offered for pre-order at all of these sellers–and at a discount at many of them, until the book is actually released to the public!