Books to give for any age

Giving books for Christmas is a great idea, although finding the right book for the people on your list can be tricky. Here are a few of my favorites from the Japanese American bookshelf. Young Children “Kika, My First Word Book” by Fukiko Yamamoto; Chronicle Books; 2006 “Mad at Mommy” by Komako Sakai; Arthur A. […]

Finding rare books, inner peace at Forest Books

Situated in the Buchanan Mall (Osaka Way) just a few stores away from Sutter Street is Forest Books, where the books are rare and the zendo floats. A 40-year zen Buddhist who studied writing, Forest Books owner Gregory Wood said he wanted to open a business that followed the Buddhist idea of right livelihood — […]

Hunger Games v. Battle Royale: Deja vu in simplification

No. No, no, no, no, no. For once, I will step out of my normal realm of being ironic and trite to give a solid argument on something that has been bothering me for the past few weeks. Hunger Games v. Battle Royale “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins and “Battle Royale” By Koushun Takami […]

A legendary artist’s lifetime of loneliness

THE EAST-WEST HOUSE: Noguchi’s Childhood in Japan By Christy Hale (New York: Lee and Low Books, 2009, 32 pp., $17.95, hardcover) Always having been curious about the life of biracial artist Isamu Noguchi, I was pleased to receive this book to review. Palo Alto, Calif. author and illustrator Christy Hale has created a lovely picture […]

Reading for recovery

In the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and ongoing nuclear crisis, social media played a key role in raising funds for victims in the earthquake and tsunami-hit region. Through social media and e-book publications, several fundraising efforts have come to fruition in the form of books. Here are two books that support relief […]

Rice, it’s what’s for dinner

THE HAWAI’I BOOK OF RICE: TALES, TRIVIA AND 101 GREAT RECIPES By Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi (Honolulu: Watermark Publishing, 2011, $15.95, paperback) A blend of history book, storybook and cookbook, “The Hawai’i Book of Rice” introduces readers to rice through a collection of personal anecdotes and original recipes gathered from chefs, individuals, and organizations. The influence […]

Anecdotes from times now past

THE DEMON AT AGI BRIDGE AND OTHER JAPANESE TALES Edited by Haruo Shirane and translated by Burton Watson (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010, 160 pp., $22.50, paperback) Ancient texts from Japan are always a pleasure to read. They are filled with some of most fanciful stories available to readers, and provide enchanting tales similar […]

The father of Japanese American baseball

Kenichi Zenimura: Japanese American Baseball Pioneer By Bill Staples Jr. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2011, 282 pp., $40, paperback)  As a fan of Japanese American baseball history, I have been anticipating the release of what is one of only a handful of books written on the subject so far. The book thoroughly […]

Life, nature, humanity and haiku

COOL MELONS — TURN TO FROGS! THE LIFE AND POEMS OF ISSA Story and translations by Matthew Gollub, illustrated by Kazuko G. Stone (New York: Lee and Low Books, 1998, 40 pp., $9.95, paperback) Poignant English translations of Issa’s haiku, the same poem written in Japanese calligraphy, accompanied by biographical material about the life of […]

Man charged with English teacher’s murder releases a book about his years on the run

The man charged with killing a young English conversation teacher in Japan in 2007 has released a book about the 31 months he spent avoiding capture. In March 2007, Lindsay Ann Hawker, a 22-year-old British teacher, met Tatsuya Ichihashi at a cafe for an English lesson. She’d expressed some misgivings about him to her friends, […]

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