Japan’s AERA magazine profiles The Good Shufu, saying…OK, I have no idea.

Japan’s AERA Magazine says….well, actually, I have no idea what they say. But I’m thankful for their profile of The Good Shufu (I think). Bonus points for anyone who can translate enough to summarize the article and let us know what it says!

The shogun was particularly unhelpful with this one. His insight was that it says “something about love and your book.” Oy.

AERA article

See the article online @ http://dot.asahi.com/aera/2015110400088.html

5 thoughts on “Japan’s AERA magazine profiles The Good Shufu, saying…OK, I have no idea.

  1. Here’s my shot at a translation (disclaimer: I work as a French-to-English translator and all my Japanese is either self-taught or learned from my Osakan hubby, so I definitely will miss some nuances!) It seems to be a more objective summary of the book rather than a subjective review, so that’s probably why your hubby didn’t bother re-explaining it all:

    To sacrifice one’s perfect life plan, and surrender oneself to fate? Going from an American university professor to an Osakan housewife. A good dose of humor is sprinkled throughout this encounter with the foreign cultures of Japan and the “housewife” ideal which has become a bestseller in America.

    After being featured in the Boston Globe this summer, “The Good Shufu: Finding Love, Self, and Home on the Far Side of the World” is being discussed all across America. In this memoir of an American university professor Tracy Slater (48), who falls in love with a Japanese man Toru (43), she describes her experiences as they come to live together in Osaka, yet it is no simple love story. It is one woman’s insightful and amply humorous tale of when foreign cultures collide.

    The book explains the emotional hardships and challenges the author has faced, from the complications of her own family’s conflicting views towards her marriage, to moving to Osaka, still longing for her hometown of Boston, and becoming not an American housewife but a Japanese “shufu”, along with all of the particularities that this entails.

    Hired to teach a short-term English class to Japanese and Korean businessmen, she explains that she had not even been aware that Japanese people have difficulty distinguishing between the English “r” and “l” sounds, or pronouncing the letter “v”.

    About 2 weeks after the program begins, she realizes that she has developed feelings for Toru. She frantically tries to get closer to him, but it never seems to go quite right. Then, quite suddenly, Toru professes his own feelings for her: “I rabu you,” he says. However, Tracy doesn’t understand what he is telling her, because the “v” in “love” has been changed to a “b”. “Without thinking, I blurted out, ‘You what?’ I really had no idea what he was trying to say!”

    Afterwards, they marry and move to Japan. Even after living in Japan for 11 years, she says she still has no respite from the constant culture shock and unusual customs that she encounters.

    She even recalls her confusion about the word “shufu” in the book’s title.

    “In Japan, many successful careerwomen often quit their jobs once they are married and become housewives, and it took me many months before this concept finally sank in.”

    The percent of highly educated women who voluntarily quit their careers after marriage in Japan is 7 percent, while in America it is only 3 percent. Tracy was supposed to be following her perfectly laid-out life plan, studying as hard as she could to land a good job. That was the whole point of earning a PhD.

    “However, I unexpectedly fell in love with Toru. In order to share my life with him, I had to abandon all of the carefully crafted plans that I had envisioned. But even if my life had gone completely according to plan, I think that my current ‘shufu’ life is more well-grounded, and I feel much more emotionally stable. In this book what I wanted to say is, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.'”
    (This last paragraph is supposed to be a direct quote from your book, which I am hoping to purchase next week, so I’m sure it’s not quite what you’ve written but I hope it’s at least in the ballpark! hahaha!)


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