Did you win the Mar-Apr book giveaway?

If you recognize your email, congratulations! You just won a copy of All I asking for is my body by Milton Murayama If you think this is you, shoot a message to JapanagramJonelle@gmail.com and give me a mailing address you’d like it sent to (this one is only available in paperback) and I’ll get it to youContinue reading “Did you win the Mar-Apr book giveaway?”

A sea of purple, delighting the populace for hundreds of years

Famous iris gardens near Tokyo  In the West, it’s rare to see more than a couple of delicate butterfly-like Japanese iris artfully ringing a pond at the local botanical garden, but in Japan, they grow whole fields stuffed with every variety and color combination imaginable, to create a sea of graceful nodding purple, as farContinue reading “A sea of purple, delighting the populace for hundreds of years”

Mint-Cilantro Udon & Hamachi with Tomato-Ginger Sauce

Here are two recipes from this month’s book giveaway! Check back in July to see if you won this month’s drawing, but in the meantime please enjoy a delightful summertime supper of Japanese-flavored pesto noodles and seared fresh fish with a piquant tomato-ginger sauce, courtesy of chef and author Eric Gower. • Mint-Cilantro Udon withContinue reading “Mint-Cilantro Udon & Hamachi with Tomato-Ginger Sauce”

Why yes, that mold IS a National Living Treasure

Everything you ever wanted to know about making sake Japanese sake is surging in popularity as restaurants outside of Japan discover that it makes dishes from all over the world taste even better. My friend Mac—the Kanpai Planet YouTube channel host who delves into All Things Alcoholic in Japan—actually went to Sado Island (which isContinue reading “Why yes, that mold IS a National Living Treasure”

The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen

The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen By Eric Gower Quality of recipes: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Japanese flavor: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Ease of preparation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐My recommendation: This cookbook is a great favorite of mine, because the flavors are Japanese-inspired but geared to a Western kitchen and what’s available in Western supermarkets. Everything is a surprise and a delight to the tongue, but is alsoContinue reading “The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen”

International Food Fails of Japan

How can they get it so wrong? In a country where only 24% of the population even have a passport (compared to 45% of Americans and 78% of Brits), the closest most Japanese have ever been to “foreign” food is the restaurant down the block. Not surprisingly, this black hole of experience plays out inContinue reading “International Food Fails of Japan”

MAY-JUN 2021

Click on photo or link to read the feature Seasonal Secret: Seven things you didn’t know about Japanese weddings From fake priests to Barbie princess gowns, Japanese weddings are a whole different ballgame…read more • Beyond Tokyo: Come for the purple, stay for the lights The Ashikaga Flower Park not only boasts insanely huge wisteria,Continue reading “MAY-JUN 2021”

Klara and the Sun

By Kazuo Ishiguro Setting & details: ⭐⭐⭐⭐Authenticity of Japanese characters & dialogue: N/ATranslation quality: N/AEntertainment value: ⭐⭐My recommendation: I did not love this book, but every respected professional reviewer did, so you decide… This story takes place in a near-future dystopia, in which children’s intelligence must be genetically enhanced in order to succeed in society.Continue reading “Klara and the Sun”

Come for the purple, stay for the lights

Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi prefecture There’s only one reason to trek all the way out to Ashikaga at the beginning of May, and that’s to see the astoundingly huge wisteria at the Ashikaga Flower Park. But guess what? It’s amazing at other times of year too! The thing that’s special about Ashikaga isn’t justContinue reading “Come for the purple, stay for the lights”

Seven things you didn’t know about Japanese weddings

‘Tis the season to get hitched, but they do things a little differently in Japan. Here are seven things I bet you didn’t know about Japanese weddings. 1 You don’t have to be there to get married The only way to get legally married in Japan is to fill out and stamp the bride andContinue reading “Seven things you didn’t know about Japanese weddings”