JUL-AUG 2022

Click on photo or link to read the feature Why, Japan, Why?: Extreme lunchboxing: The what, how & why of Japanese bentō No country has made more of an art of packing a bag lunch and no moms* put more effort into this most resented of daily chores than those in Japan. Here’s why they doContinue reading “JUL-AUG 2022”

MAY-JUN 2022

Click on photo or link to read the feature Why, Japan, Why?: International Food Fails of Japan 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.Continue reading “MAY-JUN 2022”

MAR-APR 2022

Click on photo or link to read the feature Japanese Home Cooking: Sweet Sesame Spinach As a veteran vegetable hater, I have a special spot in my grinchy heart for leafy greens, but this traditional Japanese way of cooking spinach is so good I can eat a bag of green stuff as big as myContinue reading “MAR-APR 2022”

Spicy Japanese Eggplant

One day in Tokyo, I was at a lunch made by the women in this crazy Japanese women’s club I belong to, where each member had made one dish to contribute (and they all looked like they had been made by professional chefs and styled by photo stylists aieeee!) When I tasted the eggplant dish,Continue reading “Spicy Japanese Eggplant”

The Tattoo Murder Case

By Akimitsu Takagi Setting & details: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Authenticity of Japanese characters & dialogue: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Translation quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Entertainment value: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐My recommendation: A real page-turner of a police procedural that also gives a glimpse into the postwar demimonde of the tattooed Why would someone kill a beautiful tattooed woman, and steal her inked torso? That puzzle is just theContinue reading “The Tattoo Murder Case”

Let’s visit the perfect garden for how we’re feeling right now

Kairaku-en Plum Garden in Mito prefecture Like cherry blossoms, which are beloved because their brief but glorious life is the perfect metaphor for our own lives, plum blossoms have a special meaning too. They bravely bloom when there’s still a chance of snow, when nothing else in the world is blooming or green, and nothingContinue reading “Let’s visit the perfect garden for how we’re feeling right now”

If you thought quilts were a Western art, think again!

The Tokyo International Quilt Festival You know how Japan embraces stuff from all over the world, and then turns it uniquely Japanese? Every year at the end of January, Tokyo hosts one of the most magnificent displays of quilting in the world—the Tokyo International Quilt Festival.* Japanese artists come from a long tradition of meticulousContinue reading “If you thought quilts were a Western art, think again!”

Pre-battered suitcases and other weird travel necessities

Japanese fears, explained by travel products I used to laugh at the sheer array of disinfectant travel wipes for sale at Tokyu Hands (for planes! for trains! for public bathrooms!) but in this day and age, those aren’t so funny anymore. But there are a few Japanese travel aids whose entertainment value never grows old…Continue reading “Pre-battered suitcases and other weird travel necessities”

Did you win the Nov-Dec book giveaway?

If you recognize your email, congratulations! You just won a copy of All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe! If you think this is you, shoot a message to JapanagramJonelle@gmail.com 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 getContinue reading “Did you win the Nov-Dec book giveaway?”

NOV-DEC 2021

Click on photo or link to read the feature Japanese Home Cooking: Kinako Shortbread Cookies with Salted Brown Sugar Buttercream Every holiday season I like to sneak one new cookie onto the plate of old favorites, and I can already tell these are going to be a big hit! They’re sparkly and buttery (with aContinue reading “NOV-DEC 2021”