Book Reviews

NYC, through Tomine’s lens

NEW YORK DRAWINGS By Adrian Tomine (Montreal, Quebec: Drawn and Quarterly, 2012, 176 pp., $20.95 (U.S.), hard cover) The most striking thing about “New York Drawings,” a collection of Adrian Tomine’s artwork, mostly from the New Yorker magazine, is just how rich with content it is. The idea of a collection of illustrations might sound […]

Shattering the stereotype

SHATTERED: THE ASIAN AMERICAN COMICS ANTHOLOGY (SECRET IDENTITIES) Edited by Jeff Yang, Parry Shen, Keith Chow, Jerry Ma (New York: The New Press, 2012, 208 pp., $21.95, paperback) It has been more than three years since “Secret Identities” came out. At the time, the series touted itself as an innovative Asian American comic anthology centered […]

A trip through Chinese American history

ESCAPE TO GOLD MOUNTAIN: A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE CHINESE IN NORTH AMERICA By David H.T. Wong (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2012, 256 pp., $19.95, paperback) The Chinese American experience goes back nearly two centuries in history. They faced many instances of racial discrimination, most notably blatant racist laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act. […]

A treasure trove of recipes

DRAGONFLY JOURNEY COOKBOOK By Dragonfly Journey Committee (Seattle Keiro Nursing Home for Nikkei Concerns) Seattle: 2012, 198 pp., $20 (plus $5 s/h) paperback) As cookbooks go, the “Dragonfly Journey Cookbook” is in a class of its own. The book is a fundraiser for the Dragonfly Journey Project at the Seattle Keiro Nikkei Concerns nursing home. […]

A slower, healthier life on the farm

JAPANESE FARM FOOD By Nancy Singleton Hachisu (Riverside, New Jersey: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012, 400 pp., $35, hard cover) With “Japanese Farm Food,” Nancy Singleton Hachisu presents the reader a rare snapshot of a life that most people will never experience — living and working on a rural Japanese farm and relishing the culinary pleasures […]

Japanese flavors meet American ingredients

HIROKO’S AMERICAN KITCHEN: COOKING WITH JAPANESE FLAVORS: 6 EASY SAUCES; 125 MODERN RECIPES By Hiroko Shimbo (Riverside, New Jersey: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012, 224 pp., $24.99, paperback) The basic goal of Hiroko Shimbo’s new cookbook “Hiroko’s Japanese Kitchen” is simple: to help American home cooks infuse familiar ingredients with Japanese flavors and preparation styles. Take […]

Musings from a San Francisco native

JOURNEY By Peter Kenichi Yamamoto (San Francisco: self published, 2012, 71 pp., $8.95, paperback) Peter Yamamoto, a longtime member of San Francisco’s Japantown community, is often seen volunteering at the National Japanese American Historical Society. His artistic background from his parents and his roots in social activism including being a resident of the I-Hotel during […]

Thoughts on Japan across years and topics

Viewed Sideways: Writings on Culture and Style in Contemporary Japan By Donald Richie (Berkeley, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press, 2011, 264 pp., $16.95, paperback) It is difficult to find the balance in talking and writing about a foreign culture without generalizing or, worse yet, affirming stereotypes. Asia, for its exotic allure, is often thus easily dismissed […]

A pioneering sailor’s journey

KODOKU  By William Emery, illustrated by Hanae Rivera (Berkeley, Calif.: Heyday Books, 2012, 32 pp., $16.95, hard cover) Looking for a biography? This is the true story of a young Japanese man, the first person to sail solo across the Pacific Ocean. The book title, “Kodoku,” which means lonely in Japanese, sets the tone for […]

A Hawaii‘i Supreme Court judge’s life in review

I RESPECTFULLY DISSENT: A BIOGRAPHY OF EDWARD H. NAKAMURA By Tom Coffman (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2012, 184 pp., $14.99, paperback) Hawai‘i Congressional delegates like Daniel Inouye, Hiram Fong, Daniel Akaka, Patsy Mink, Mazie Hirono and others are almost instantly recognizable household names for many mainland Nikkei. In all likelihood, unless one is a […]

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