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Why, Japan, Why?: In Japan, here’s how they tip the hand of fate!

Vending machine that dispenses omikuji fortunes with animated shrine maiden

If someone told you they wanted to move a meeting you’d scheduled because the astrology forecast for that day is too unlucky, you’d probably be moving them right off the payroll, wouldn’t you? Unless you live in Japan. In Japan, that’s a perfectly legit reason to reschedule a meeting, delay a product launch, or wait to buy a car…read more

Beyond Tokyo: Gold-leafed soft-serve, a restored samurai neighborhood, and one of the three most gorgeous Japanese gardens in Japan…lit up at night!

Kenrokuen garden at night in Kanazawa

The town of Kanazawa surprises and delights with everything from a beautifully restored samurai neighborhood we can explore—both inside and out—to one of the three most famous gardens in Japan lit up at night…read more

Seasonal Secret: The weird, weird world of bonsai chrysanthemums

Bonsai chrysantemums at Jindai Botanical Garden in Chofu

Yes, bonsai chrysanthemums are A Thing. And it happens in Japan every year in November. That’s when growers with wicked tricks for shaping this unlikely shrub with the meh flowers into things of wonder compete for most over-the-top shapes and unbelievable profusion…read more

Japanese Home Cooking: Chicken and Ginger Yakitori Meatballs

Chicken and ginger yakitori meatballs tsukune

All over Japan, these absolutely delicious chicken meatballs are a must-try at yakitori restaurants. Skewered and slathered in a tangy sauce, they never fail to be a crowd pleaser…read more

Book Review: Idoru by William Gibson

Cover of Idoru by William Gibson

This book—the second in his “Bridge” trilogy*—is about a rock star who wants to marry a music idol. The only catch is, she doesn’t really exist, except as an artificial intelligence and renderings on a server. How they pursue their perfect union is the stuff of which…read more

Writing how-tos, killer reviews, podcasts & more!

Author Jonelle Patrick being eaten by giant Godzilla

I don’t usually offer writing advice outside of workshops, but here are links to a few guest blog posts, podcasts and other bits and pieces that came out elsewhere last month, along with The Last Tea Bowl Thief. Level up your own writing with “Beyond the Five Senses: Six Powerful Tricks to Enhance a Sense of Place,” get moving again with “Are you stuck?” and soak up other tips & tricks to make your own writing dreams comes true!…read more

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Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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