Pauline Hager,
Memoirs of an
American Housewife in Japan

(Infinity, 2002)

Pauline Hager, holder of a degree in education and mother of two sons, lived in Japan for two-and-a-half years when her husband Randy was offered a position there. Her life in Japan was a challenge as she had to confront traditions and customs very different from the ones she was used to.

Memoirs of an American Housewife in Japan is actually a travel account of the author who explored a new place and is able now to let us know of all the pros and cons of that country. Japan, in Hager's eyes, is a place Westerners may find intriguing, yet difficult to get accustomed to at first.

The book is divided into three parts, each dealing with a different period of Pauline's visit to Japan: the first visit of the Hagers there in 1994, living there from 1994 to 1996 and their revisit in 1997. All parts are highly exciting to read if the readers are not familiar with the Japanese way of life and customs. Pauline's detailed description of their whereabouts, the food at the local market, the neighborhood, the shops and a lot of other daily life details will leave the reader satisfied, almost like experiencing Japan first hand. At the back of the book there is a black-and-white photo collection depicting Pauline and her new friends.

American Housewife is a travel book that will entertain the readers as well as educate them. The experiences of the author and the way they are presented make this book a very different memoir from others on the market, as much a travel guide to Japan as an autobiography.

This book caters to all travel book lovers, but to a female readership most of all as it focuses on things women notice everywhere, such as food and housekeeping, social relations and shopping. It is entertaining to read and quite absorbing. Readers will get to know about Japan and the local lifestyle. Some might be motivated to visit Japan, and those who cannot will taste Hager's experiences through the book. It is a good read and I recommend it to all!

by Liana Metal
20 January 2007

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