Tag Archive: Japan



Wind and SilkWind and Silk by Alice Ivinya
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My friend wrote a lovely review of this book. I went to Amazon and saw the Kindle version was only $.99, so I picked it up. Today I found myself in need of a distraction. We were on a bus on the way to the ophthalmologist. Though the drive isn’t as bad for me as it used to be, this bus was killing me. This bus enhanced every bump in the road. So I went looking for a distraction. Since I didn’t have Kindle downloaded on my phone, I found my music on Spotify to get me by. I downloaded the Kindle at the next wifi spot so I would have something to read on the way home.

I found listening difficult with the bus noise, so I hoped reading would work for my newly decataracted eyes. Guess what? I read a whole book without text-to-speech or Audible! Okay, it isn’t very long. I finished it on the way home (less than two hours).

So I got to go to the land of dragons. I assume it was Japan. The main character was being married off for family prestige in the way it used to be, and let’s hope not coming back around. But will Fangying’s disabilities hold her back? Will her new husband beat her?

The story is gracefully told. I found it just what I needed for the painful drive. And I am so happy to have read, with my eyes, a whole book! Fantastic magic and dragons, too!

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https://jonellepatrick.me/2021/02/11/japanese-toys-never-too-young/


The Last Tea Bowl ThiefThe Last Tea Bowl Thief by Jonelle Patrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m sorry it took me so long to review this. I read it while deeply into NaNoWriMo, so taking the time from my own writing seemed impossible. But finally, here I am!

I love Jonelle Patrick’s writing. I always find myself drawn in by her characters and the virtual travel to Japan. I am not much into mysteries because most involve murder and finding who did the murdering. This mystery goes histories deep, and it is to find what happened to the tea bowls and the artist who made them. My way of describing this story sounds rather boring. The author makes this an adventure in two parts of Japan’s history. All the characters seem real and in the now with the reader. Best of all, in this book, there is no murder, even though in war times. Meanwhile, we learn a little about modern Japan while being taught about people’s rituals and beliefs from three different generations of Japan.

I was sad to leave the book in the end. As always, I want to know more. Don’t worry. You feel secure by the ending. Our main character, who has had to research the feudal and WWII Japans, grabs your heart as she tries to keep family and soul together.

Great job with something quite different in this genre Ms. Patrick!

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1000 Japanese Flash Cards: For Smart Phones and E-Readers1000 Japanese Flash Cards: For Smart Phones and E-Readers by Kevin Marx

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is no a book you read straight through. As the name implies it is flash cards. I played with a few pages but since I need more progress in my DuoLingo Japanese program, I can’t blame the book for my lack.

Still, for the sake of my goal of 100 books read in 2017, I needed to get it off my currently reading shelf. It will remain on my tablet to play with on a daily basis. I like the idea of flash cards and in the shape of a Kindle book. It is well laid out to play with often.

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1,2,3, Red, Blue, Green Bilingual (English - Japanese) 1,2,3, あか、あお、みどり バイリンガル(英語 - 日本語)1,2,3, Red, Blue, Green Bilingual (English – Japanese) 1,2,3, あか、あお、みどり バイリンガル(英語 – 日本語) by Yael Manor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As many of you know I have been learning languages from Duolingo. Japanese is one of them. I find it to be the hardest of the four I’m working with. German, Spanish, Esperanto are the others but I feel more confident with those three. (Not conversant but able to read it a little.)

I like to get children’s picture books to help me. I figure if it helps a kid to learn, it may help me. Not sure there is hope in this case. Yes, Duo has covered primary colors and primary numbers. But when I try to follow the written language I am totally lost. I do find a couple words here and there that I recognize but most of it is still squiggles to my eyes. The worst part, for me, is trying to get word order. That is true of all these languages.

That isn’t a slam on this book. Even if you weren’t trying to learn Japanese, this would be a fun book. The little story is fun and would make a fun read aloud. It might also be fun to string balls with the children in the book.

I think if you had a child who only spoke Japanese, this would be a fun one to learn the English from. So it is fun from every angle. I just wish there were a small section in the back helping with word order. Very educational and re-readable for everyone.

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Review: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami


1Q841Q84 by Haruki Murakami

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fulfilling. That what I think describes finishing this book. It kept me going. I wondered what would happen next. With fantasy, anything is possible, even if it is in 1984.

And that brings me to the next thought. We didn’t have cell phones and internet access the way we do now. Often I would think, check your cell and realize that couldn’t happen then. They had pay phones and word processors. If a person had a computer it wasn’t user-friendly. So one has to keep that year and those thoughts in mind.

Next was the curiosity of the two moons that signify to our main characters they weren’t in true 1984 but an alternative reality. That was why Aomame called it 1Q84. I loved her name. She was the main character, by the way. I craved Edamame the whole time I was reading it. Yes, the ‘mame’ part means pea. I love how often the author used that theme.

I loved the characters. But I felt the description of their clothing or appearance over done. In fact, this book needed a good editor to go through and get rid of all the unneeded repetition. I often felt like throwing the book (my Kindle) across the room. I wanted to get back to the story and see what happened and telling me one more time about the two moons or the wrong clothing or any of the millions (I may exaggerate here) of other times something was repeated. I understand that the author wanted to stress certain things but it insults the reader to do that too often. But who am I to say that, an unpublished author of 12 books compared to his mass of highly acclaimed novels. Just trying to be true to what I felt as I read it.

This book took me ages to finish. It must be hefty in hardback. It was a library book so I had to spend every moment reading as I have two more books that are due next week. Still, it was worth the struggle and I miss the people already.

Stop reading this review here as this might be a spoiler. I wish I could read more of what happens next to the main characters. And I felt there were threads in the two-moon world that I wanted to see worked further. Well, maybe that didn’t reveal too much after all.

If you get the chance, please read this book. My friend, Patty B. was right. This was a very good book!

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Painted Doll (Only In Tokyo Mystery, #4)Painted Doll by Jonelle Patrick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this author’s work. Though I am not a fan of mysteries, I do find that I love how she presents her stories. I always feel like I have been to Japan and visiting with old friends when I read this series. There is just enough education of the culture and a few words to make you feel like you are there. Yet it isn’t over done.

When I finished this book, I didn’t want it to be over so I just left my text-to-speech going as it read all the glossary of Japanese terms and English definitions and then the first chapter of Jonelle’s first book of the series. That made it worse because I already read that and knew how it would turn out. Yet I got to stay with my friends in Japan just a little longer.

Please, if you get the chance, try this series. There is a lot to learn about Japan and about writing from Ms. Patrick.

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A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over a decade ago, I met an online friend that would change or at least, modify my life. I met Judith on LiveJournal, you remember that old site, better than MySpace but not quite as social as FaceBook. Judith was chatting in her journal about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo scene (Which resulted in my first novel being written between the Ides of March and the Ides of April. I didn’t finish the novel then as we had to move to a new city and I just couldn’t stay with it. But I added more than enough wordage to that novel in November 2002 to “win”. (First of 10 or 11 novels since.)

The other thing Judith introduced me to was BookCrossing.com. The concept that grabbed me with BC was how my read book could be recycled to others and then the new reader and the old could discuss this story. The book could travel even when I couldn’t, so it felt like a message in a bottle thrown out to sea. It is fun to see where your book could end up and the friendships that develop over said book. I still belong but since my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I am happy for the invention of Kindle and other e-readers. So I release far fewer books nowadays.

Besides Judith, what do the above paragraphs have in common, and what do they have to do with ‘A Tale for the Time Being’? The art of writing and the art of reading. Both concepts play strong in this story. Rather than a message in a bottle, this message floats ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox in layers of freezer bags. The writer was in Tokyo, the reader/finder in Canada. Years separate the two. Yet a bond is formed. Oh, yeah, Judith read and reviewed this and hooked me in. I think she didn’t like the Zen parts of the book. I found that part delightful. I have to admit that most of the book is believable whereas the Zen bits are a little more ‘magical’. But the title twinkles with that magic. If you read it right.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I actually read it one and a third times. I borrowed the Kindle version from the library. Between reading it on my Kindle app on my Tablet and listening on my old Kindle text-to-speech, I managed to get to about 36% in. Then I found that my library also had the OverDrive version. So I restarted reading the book with the author’s voice. That pumped up my ratings for this wonderful tale. Each layer of depth into the story has its own built-in amazements. Level one, tree book, and the Kindle version, there are many footnotes and definitions to help with a deeper understanding of that time in history or that country, language. But the narration includes minor helps. Hearing a voice say the Japanese names or words adds to the believability of the whole story. Ms. Ruth Ozeki has an impeccable voice and narration, her variations of voices for each character supreme! I enjoyed rereading the first third with her help. I felt I gained deeper understanding just by hearing her. Please, if you get the chance to pair both versions, go for it!

By the way, I want to thank Jonelle Patrick and her Mysteries and website: http://jonellepatrick.me/ for introducing me to many contemporary Japanese subjects presented in A Tale for the Time Being. At least I was forewarned.

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Review: Idolmaker


 

Idolmaker
Idolmaker by Jonelle Patrick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

Disclaimer: I was given this complimentary copy of Idolmaker by the author, Jonelle Patrick for an honest review.

 

I can’t believe I am finished with yet another of the Tokyo Mysteries. I so love this series. Though I have tagged this as romance, it isn’t led by that squishy, gooey stuff rather, these are people and caring is a part of their being.

 

These books do start with a murder and a wonder as to who did it and why. But the most important feature of the books is the character driven adventure of the two main characters, Yumi and Kenji. Thrown in the recent historical event of earthquake and tsunami, the criminal investigation is thrown for a loop.

 

The characters are believable and likable. I feel I have become friends with them through Jonelle Patrick’s ability to write from each character’s point of view.

 

Oh, what the couple goes through! Then the book wraps up nicely with only a small thread that gives promise that I don’t have to give up on my favorite Japanese couple. 🙂

 

Thanks for letting me read this, Jonelle!

 

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Location of Tokyo within Japan

Location of Tokyo within Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dar49 Daily


Dar49 Daily. Is out!!! Please take the time to watch the tsunami YouTube. It blew my mine to watch the whole process start to finish.

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