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

I kissed my student. Then I married him.

Here’s a short video clip from my reading at the Tokyo launch party for The Good Shufu at Four Stories Tokyo.

It narrates what happened just before my first kiss with the shogun.

PS. Apologies for the background noise. We like the Four Stories events to be festive so we encourage eating and drinking even during the readings. The upside is the funny, tipsy questions we get at the end. The downside is the occasional background noise!

Marrying a Man Who Speaks a Different Language

I’ve loved and been deeply touched by the reader comments and reviews for The Good Shufu, and by the beyond-awesome support I’ve gotten from friends, family, and the book’s lovely readers. But I do have to admit that some people have expressed consternation by my admission that my husband still isn’t totally fluent in English and–most chagrin-inducing–that I haven’t made much headway in studying Japanese.

How can you be married to someone and not share a fluency? people tend to ask with some incredulity. (A related question involves how I can live in Japan and still be ambivalent about immersing myself in another culture, but this is a topic I’ll address another time.)

So here’s a little video clip that answers, at least in part, what I actually like about being married to someone who doesn’t always understand me, and whom I don’t always understand. (Sounds like a lot of partnerships, actually, doesn’t it? Even ones conducted in one native language…. A point I make more fully here.)

This video is from my reading at Newtonville Books. A truly awesome bookstore.

On Marriage, Multiculturalism, & Compartmentalization

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Here’s a short but lovely review of The Good Shufu on the wonderful blog A Life with Subtitles, about multilingual marriage.  Following the review is an interview wherein I admit, sure I compartmentalize in my marriage, but I think that’s love (or at least marriage), not multicultural love per-se:

Q: I loved the exploration of gender norms and how you experienced them given your academic background in women’s studies. This was a fascinating theme throughout the book. Could you give those who haven’t yet read it a sneak preview of the ways you’ve incorporated more traditional gender roles into your lifestyle and how that’s been for you? 

Tracy: As I alluded to before, this is another paradox I never expected and that some people find surprising (as even I still do sometimes when I stop to think about it!). But the fact that my life as a “shufu” or housewife, or at least my life doing housewifely things, takes place in Japan, in a world so different from my own native one, provides a kind of barrier from what might otherwise be threatening to me, because it feels so contained by geographical and cultural distances from my native “home.”

Especially with Toru’s father, cooking dinner and serving him tea and bowing to him and cleaning up afterwards, as I used to do at least 3 nights a week when he was still alive, all felt like a role I was playing out of respect for someone very dear to me, but someone who nevertheless came from a very different place than the one that “made” me. I even feel this sometimes still with Toru (minus the bowing, of course, which is definitely where I draw the line in a marriage!). It’s a kind of compartmentalization that perhaps some might question. But it works.

And I think all marriages, all close relationships really, work in part because of a certain level of compartmentalization. We all, to some extent, try to bring the most harmonious parts of ourselves into our relationships in different ways and figure out how to express the other parts elsewhere or in other contexts.

I don’t really think the compartmentalization is the problem; it’s when you’re not honest or open about it that I think it becomes problematic usually. But even if this isn’t the case, and it’s just me who has welcomed a certain level of compartmentalization into my own home and marriage, I’m ok with that. Because as I said, it works, and I’m grateful for that.

Would love to know your thoughts on this or any of the other topics in the full interview. Oh, and there’s a link for a free giveaway of the book at the end of the interview!

PS. The pic at top has no real relation to the interview, but what better illustration of compartmentalization than this?

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?