When Liane Grunberg Wakabayashi fell in love in Tokyo, the feisty journalist from New York opened her heart to a charming shiatsu therapist who had never really met a Jew before. Contrasting wedding ceremonies – a lavish Imperial Hotel Shinto affair for his side, a modest Jewish wedding for hers, set the stage for a fascinating union between powerful Jewish and Japanese cultures.
Through scintillating conversations with her husband, Ichiro, delivered with humor and chutzpah, the author invites the reader into her home, where Buddhist funerals, Shinto rites, Shabbat, and Jewish holidays are celebrated with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Meet her mild-mannered in-laws, bicultural children, and Reform Jewish mother, who must deal with the shock of her daughter edging toward Orthodoxy in Japan.
Wagamama means selfish in Japanese. But not like hoarding cookies. Wagamama means standing up for what you believe. The author bravely shares her inner processes of raising Jewish-Japanese children in ways that include all strands of their DNA. In doing so, she finds what she needs to be happy and true to herself, far from home.