Goshen Books is Proud to Debut!

THE WAGAMAMA BRIDE

When Liane Grunberg Wakabayashi fell in love in Tokyo, the feisty journalist from New York opened her heart not only to romance with a charming acupuncturist but to a Shinto shrine, a Buddhist temple, and the Jewish community she discovers in Japan. In marriage to Ichiro, a Taoist acupuncturist and lifelong student of traditional oriental medicine, comes a grand opportunity to debate, challenge, and love their differences. When two Chabad Houses appear in Tokyo, with humor and unflinching self-reflection, the author takes readers deep inside a marriage between cultures, where sacrifice and identity, Jewish children with Japanese roots, doting in-laws a maddeningly lovable mother, lead to spiritual crisis and awakening far from home.

Goshen Books is Proud to Debut!

THE WAGAMAMA BRIDE

When Liane Grunberg Wakabayashi fell in love in Tokyo, the feisty journalist from New York opened her heart not only to romance with a charming acupuncturist but to a Shinto shrine, a Buddhist temple, and the Jewish community she discovers in Japan. In marriage to Ichiro, a Taoist acupuncturist and lifelong student of traditional oriental medicine, comes a grand opportunity to debate, challenge, and love their differences. When two Chabad Houses appear in Tokyo, with humor and unflinching self-reflection, the author takes readers deep inside a marriage between cultures, where sacrifice and identity, Jewish children with Japanese roots, doting in-laws and a maddeningly lovable mother, lead to spiritual crisis and awakening far from home.

THE WAGAMAMA BRIDE

A Shinto shrine, a Buddhist temple and two Chabad Houses set the stage for a Jewish Memoir Made in Japan

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 two spiritual seekers who raise their children in Tokyo with Jewish and Japanese roots.

Wagamama means selfish in Japanese, but not in the sense of hoarding cookies. Having an opinion that goes against tradition can be viewed in Japan as selfish. Coming from a line of feisty, opinionated, secular Ashkenazi Jewish women of European descent, there could easily have been some friction. Luckily, I married into a family that was remarkably accepting of my need to gradually reconnect to my Jewish faith after trying to follow their Buddhist, Shinto and Taoist traditions.

Grunberg-Wakabayashi shares the inner process of finding herself through two Chabad Lubavitcher families who set up complimentary communities in Tokyo. She finds at these Chabad Houses what she needs to feel fulfilled and content despite marital obstacles. This is a memoir full of scintillating conversations, memorable characters, art and syncronicity, sad endings and joyful beginnings.

“Melding Jewish wisdom with the best of Japanese tradition, this independent New Yorker’s leap into marriage and family with a traditional Japanese healer is humorous, maddening, poignant, surprising, and always entertaining,” writes award-winning Japan-based author Leza Lowitz.

Liane Grunberg Wakabayashi, raised in New York City, began her writing career in Tokyo in the late 1980s. She created a thriving artistic community in her adopted city before leaving Japan for Israel with her two teenage children after a family crisis spurred her to leap into the unknown. Excerpts and themes from THE WAGAMAMA BRIDE have appeared on Chabad.org, and in Kyoto Journal, in The Jewish Forward, Tablet, Asian Jewish Life Magazine, The Japan Times, and The Jerusalem Post Magazine.

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