Beyond the cherry blossoms

Pink things that only appear during The Season Sure, the cherry trees are pretty in pink, but The Season offers far more delights (and horrors) than elbowing a million other flower fanatics out of the way for that perfect shot. For example… The sublime: Things lit up in pink at night These buildings deck themselvesContinue reading “Beyond the cherry blossoms”

The cherry blossoms of your dreams…a month after all the rest are history

Hirosaki Castle in Aomori Prefecture Cherry blossom season is legendary for good reason—even I have to admit that the pinkness in all its glory WILL take your breath away—but the downside of that is that everybody in the world knows it too. From the middle of March to the middle of April, everything becomes muchContinue reading “The cherry blossoms of your dreams…a month after all the rest are history”

The Aosawa Murders

By Riku Onda Setting & details: ⭐⭐⭐⭐Authenticity of Japanese characters & dialogue: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Translation quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Entertainment value: ⭐⭐⭐⭐My recommendation: This book is one of those rare Japanese mysteries that don’t lose something essential in translation. It’s told in such a way that the reader collects each piece of the puzzle from characters who didn’t necessarily revealContinue reading “The Aosawa Murders”

Japanese Treasure Rice

This dish elevates plain old white rice to star level, with “treasures” of vegetables and a deep down savory flavor that will have everyone asking for seconds. Add marinated chicken pieces to the pot, and you’ve got the easiest one-dish meal ever! Serves: 4 1 ½ c. (350ml) dashi (Japanese soup broth)* 1 ½ T.Continue reading “Japanese Treasure Rice”

Japanese ceremonies we didn’t know we needed

In Japan, there are ceremonies for some very odd things Everybody knows about Japan’s famous tea ceremony, and of course they also mark weddings, funerals and graduations with ceremonies. But one of the most interesting discussions we’ve been having at book zooms about The Last Tea Bowl Thief is about how the Japanese have ceremoniesContinue reading “Japanese ceremonies we didn’t know we needed”

Did you win the February book giveaway?

If you recognize your email, congratulations! You just won a copy of Jake Adelstein’s Tokyo Vice! If you think this is you, shoot a message to and tell me if you’d like an ebook or paperback (and if paperback, let me know a mailing address you’d like it sent to) and I’ll get it to youContinue reading “Did you win the February book giveaway?”

Did you win the MAR-APR Book Zoom giveaway?

Win a book zoom for you and your friends, hosted by author Jonelle Patrick For the next few months, I’ll be giving away a fully hosted The Last Tea Bowl Thief Book Zoom to one lucky Japanagram subscriber every month! If you enjoyed The Last Tea Bowl Thief and have a few friends who mightContinue reading “Did you win the MAR-APR Book Zoom giveaway?”

Why are Oreos more Japanese than sumo wrestlers?

A classic foreign cookie becomes seriously Japanese In last month’s Japanagram, we talked about turning foreign things Japanese, but I bet you never thought that the most extreme example of that might be…sumo. Foreigners have dominated this most sacred of Japanese sports since 1990. This photo, for example, is Asashoryu, the Mongolian who introduced revolutionary – and, forContinue reading “Why are Oreos more Japanese than sumo wrestlers?”

MARCH 2020

Click on photo to read the feature March Book Review: Ghosts of the Tsunami Ghosts of the Tsunami is a page-turningly readable piece of narrative non-fiction, written by the Asia Editor of The Times of London. Using fascinating personal accounts – like why Buddhist priests had to brush up on their exorcism skills – he deliversContinue reading “MARCH 2020”