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 […]

Love and marriage

SCENES FROM AN IMPENDING MARRIAGE By Adrian Tomine (Montréal, Canada: Drawn & Quarterly, 2011, 56 pp., $9.95, hard cover) There are several things about Adrian Tomine’s “Scenes from an Impending Marriage” that mark it as a departure from his previous work. The 50-page comic documents Tomine and his (then) fiancé Sarah’s wedding planning process, making […]

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 […]

Mass mascot mania

FUZZ & FUR: JAPAN’S COSTUMED CHARACTERS By Edward and John Harrison (New York: Mark Batty Publisher, 2011, 144 pp., $16.95, hardcover) Edward and John Harrison put together a collection of photos to introduce to Americans the phenomenon of anthropomorphized mascots that represent Japanese prefectures, towns, districts and businesses. Inside their collection are lovable plush mascots […]

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 […]

From the Yamato Colony to ‘Mr. YMCA’

PEARLS: THE FRED Y. HOSHIYAMA STORY As told to Doug Nakashima, edited by Craig Altschul ed. (Chicago: Marshall Jones, 2010, 67 pp., $24.95, paperback) This must be the season for memoirs, and “Pearls: The Fred Y. Hoshiyama Story” is another wonderful addition to “telling” the story of Nisei accomplishments that are often muted or understated […]

A Nisei resolve for social justice

Manzanar and Beyond: Memoirs of Frank F. Chuman, Nisei Attorney By Frank F. Chuman with foreword by Daniel Inouye and introduction by Dale Minami (San Mateo, Calif.: Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc., 2011, 153 pp., $15.95, paperback) A timely and accessible memoir written at the prompting of Chuman’s children, who collectively urged him to “write […]

B-rated fiction isn’t so bad

Kami Jin: The Universe’s Answer to Poverty Starvation and Homelessness: Making Wars Obsolete: A Global Message of Peace to the Earth By Lloyd Kaneko (Whittier, Calif.: self published, 2010, 372 pp., $19.95, paperback) To the average reader, Lloyd Kaneko will not be an appetizing read. His book is long, and his writing style is complex. […]

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 […]

An Issei pioneering in the Heartland

NIKKEI FARMER ON THE NEBRASKA PLAINS: A MEMOIR By Rev. Hisanori Kano Introduced and edited by Tai Kreidler, and translated by Rose Yamamoto. (Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech University Press, 2010, 256 pp., $34.95, cloth) This is a wonderful memoir, tedious in many parts; however, one that provides unique insights of an Issei who was born […]

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