The Waga­ma­ma Bride: A Jew­ish Fam­i­ly Saga Made in Japan

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2020

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.

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