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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Will it be the Year of the Sheep or the Year of the Goat?  I looked it up!  The kanji used to name this year in the Chinese Zodiac can mean either one!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's twice!

Japan customarily celebrated the New Year by the Lunar Calendar, which will bring New Year's on February 19 this year, with the beginning of the Year of the Goat (or sheep; this seems to depend on personal preference).  For this reason, classic Japanese writings often refer to the New Year as the start of spring, as that's about when the first signs of spring return to the land.
In 1873, however, during the Meiji period, Azuki and Shota would have been stunned to see the Western calendar adopted and all the holidays moved!  Now, Japan officially celebrates New Year's on January 1, with a giant holiday and party!  People decorate with pine and bamboo, and also braided straw ropes.  It's usual to make or buy mochi for one's altar (small cake atop big cake, with a mikan (tangerine) or daidai (another small, but bitter, orange) on top, which is eaten over the course of the holiday.
New Year's Eve, people customarily eat soba (buckwheat noodles) for dinner or supper because the length of the noodles symbolizes long life -- but don't eat them after midnight!  At the stroke of midnight, temples and shrines all over Japan ring their bells 108 times, which represents earthly desires, which some Buddhist sects believe must be eradicated to attain enlightenment.  In some sects, this is followed by a special service to usher in a most wonderful new year.
After THAT, people often stay up to watch the sunrise, trekking to someplace scenic, because "firsts" of things are important in celebrating the new year.  People who haven't visited a shrine or Temple the night before will often attend during the day to make offerings for fortune during the coming year.  At popular Temples and shrines, well, it's great fun, because the party just won't stop.
The holiday continues for several days, with money gifts for children, traditional games, New Year's cards specially delivered on January 1, making and receiving calls and visits, and traditional foods known as O-sechi-ryori, which are special dishes with lucky symbolism.

And then...a number of people like New Year's so much they'll do it again when Lunar New Year's comes around!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

What a glorious day!

The snow guns must blow, or we won't have snow,
And what will the skiers do then, poor things?

We'll jump on a lift, slide over a cliff,
and ski down as if we had wings!


Have a wonderful holiday, everyone!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Key to the Universe


When I was very small, I somehow got the notion that I wasn't allowed to read until I actually started kindergarten, when I would be officially "taught" and the wonderful world of books would become, at last, MINE!

I was very naughty.  I did it anyway.  Under the covers, up trees, in every hidey-hole I could find, anything I could get my hands on -- which made for an interesting literary mix, much of which went over my head, since dictionaries were still uncharted territory, but I didn't care.  Reading was the key to the universe!

It was a huge relief when I actually did start kindergarten and didn't have to sneak around any more.

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy is still on sale at Amazon Kindle for your last minute shopping pleasure!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Giving Books Away!

I've donated books to a local toy drive because I strongly believe in children's literacy.  Books are interactive.  They inspire the imagination.  They teach in the context of entertainment.  They spur creativity.  No other medium does those things anywhere near as well.

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy is ON SALE through the holiday season at Amazon Kindle.  It's only $0.99.  For less than a buck, you can give a child a world.  Why don't you?

This is what I saw today, another perfect day on the slopes.  Then I went home to write.


But before I went home, I did this:  Giving books to Red Werner for the Kiwanis Toy Drive.  What better gift?


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Snowy day

While Azuki and Shota are rushing through an autumn landscape as I write Book Two, it's snowing where I am, and utterly gorgeous.  Morning is a good time to bake, to heat the house before the wood stove really kicks in.  So, today, I made fruitcake.  If you've only ever had commercial fruitcake, you haven't REALLY had fruitcake.  This is a "summer" fruitcake, that doesn't have to age before eating, and makes a smaller quantity.  The secret to real fruitcake is the liquor.  My recipe uses brandy for macerating the fruit, and the cooked cakes are spiked with brandy.  My larger classic recipe also uses brandy, and had to age six weeks, but even in my family growing up, it makes so much we'd usually break out the last cake sometime in the summer.  So good!
The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy is ON SALE NOW in Kindle format for $0.99.  It's a great last minute gift or stocking stuffer.  When you give a book, you give a world.

These are out of the oven, on the counter, having just been spiked with brandy while hot!  I can testify that they taste great, too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Great Fun!

It was so much fun to attend the Book Fair at Walden School in Pasadena last week!  I met many of the young artists whose illustrations grace The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, some for the second time!  All the kids created drawings from the chapter I read, and they were spectacular!

This European Starling is sporting winter plumage.  Watch for the changes in how the birds around your house look as the weather becomes cold.  In many areas, it's good to leave water out for the birds because their usual water sources are frozen!

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy is STILL ON SALE at Amazon Kindle for just $0.99 through the holiday season!  Grab this great stocking stuffer right now.  There is no better gift than a book!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

FABULOUS VIDEO INTERVIEW

This fabulous interview was shot for 15 Minutes The Show!  The interviewer, Osiris Munir, brought up very interesting and adult topics.

One thing I'd like to add:  When Japan adopted its new Constitution in 1948, women -- whose rights had been curtailed mightily during the Edo period compared with previous times --  gained a lot, particularly in the areas of child custody and divorce, but no more than their Western sisters had at that time.  Since then, Japanese women generally have begun preferring a Western-style "equal partnership" model in their relationships with their men and their jobs and their governments.  This takes time, because Japanese women are judicious in what they are willing to trade for what they will gain and because Japanese systems are very different.  They also like their men, balanced marital partnerships are common, and many things about their society, including preferential treatment for mothers of young children, are things women don't want to give up.  Younger women are beginning to insist on the right to keep their birth names on marriage, which changes the way people are registered from "as families" to "as individuals," a major societal shift.  They continue to push for academic and business equality, and though the women I know are either professionals or business owners and do pretty much whatever they please, women's ability to rise in the big corporations remains very much curtailed.

Go check it out!  I can link to it, but I can't upload it.   It's worth seeing.

Don't forget the holiday sale of the Kindle Edition of The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy for JUST $0.99!  This is a wonderful way to open whole new worlds for a child for nearly FREE!  Don't pass it up.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"Claire has managed to...speak to humanity." New article/review



What's fun about Stones in the Color of Rare is that the author of the article about The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, Kindle edition on sale for the holidays for only $0.99, is that Ankehte explored the adult aspects of the book, looks at Japanese versus Western society, and includes bits on folklore!  She points out that this book and its series are for all ages, like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, or Alice in Wonderland, saying "Claire has managed to...speak to humanity."  I am so grateful.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

In Japan, there is no Thanksgiving Day as we in the US and Canada know it.  There is an ancient late-autumn harvest festival called Niinamei-sai, still celebrated at Shinto shrines.  In 1948, when Japan adopted a new Constitution, significant gains were made in worker's rights.  To celebrate this, November 23, the day set for Niinamei-sai, was designated as Labor Day.  The current holiday as publicly celebrated focuses more on Labor and less on Niinamei-sai, but sometimes there is overlap.
Here in the US, we give thanks for the bounty of the harvest, and for family, friends, and for many of us, a long weekend!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Old ways still work!

When I read, I enter different worlds.  There is a synergy involved as the words on the page create images and understanding in my mind.  It doesn't matter where I am, I can dive into a better place.  It's a totally different experience from watching film or listening to people talk.  I'm a much more active participant.

Give a child the gift of reading.  Get a free app for that device and give The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy for only $0.99 this holiday season.

I love the internet where my curiosity roams freely, I love the e-reader apps and the Kindle that allow me to carry hundreds of books in the palm of my hand.  The ease of research is mind-boggling.  But there is nothing that can replace a book.  Give your child a good one.  The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy await -- a new world for just $0.99.

These are modern colliers using a traditional oven to make charcoal.  So interesting!  Thank you, Internet!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

GIVE THE GIFT OF READING -- ON SALE

I am a huge fan of e-readers, because they give me lots of books in a tiny package!
Books open the door to the imagination, spark creativity, and tell deeper, broader stories than other mediums.  Books let you fly higher and adventure farther.
Add the capability of a computer to the e-reader, and journey by leaps and bounds anywhere in the world, wherever curiosity takes you.
Buy your child an e-reader!  Get that child an e-reader app for any device -- they are usually free.  Load that e-reader or app with The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy at only $0.99 and start a journey of learning and imagination that will never stop.

Coal and wood fires require chimneys to vent the smelly and noxious smoke.  Charcoal requires ventilation (as do all fires) to guard against carbon monoxide poisoning, but it doesn't require a chimney.  That's the main reason people preferred charcoal, besides it burning hotter and weighing less.  This image is a photograph run through a computer drawing program.  I love computers.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

No smoke, no smell!

Japanese people have used charcoal for millennia.  This may be why they skipped any bronze age and jumped right into iron!
Charcoal is made by partially burning wood in a low-oxygen environment.  This takes out most of the water and certain compounds that produce smoke.  Colliers are people who make charcoal.  There are several reasons to prefer charcoal to wood or coal.
Black charcoal -- kuro-zumi -- is heated at a relatively low temperature, then allowed to cool naturally before the heating chamber is breached and the charcoal extracted.  This charcoal burns very hot, hotter than wood, hot enough to smelt and forge iron.  It's soft, and it lights easily.  It's good for heating and general cooking, too.  There are special variants, like the kiku-zumi, that are made from a specific oak wood that produces a pretty pattern like a chrysanthemum when the finished charcoal is cut -- just right for a small brazier used for Cha-do, the classic Tea Ceremony.  Even today, colliers specialize in this lovely charcoal with a dedicated attention to detail.
White charcoal -- shiro-zume -- is heated at a low temperature until nearly done.  Then the temperature is cranked up until the wood is red hot.  At that point, the wood is pulled out and smothered with ash and sand to produce a smooth, hard charcoal that has a white coating from the ash, and is so hard it sounds metallic when tapped.  This charcoal burns a long time, and imparts a better flavor to grilled foods.  Binchotan charcoal, shown below, is prized by grill restaurants.
Remember, The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy is ON SALE at Amazon in the Kindle edition for only $.99!  Buying an e-reader or tablet for a child this holiday season?  Know a child who has one?  Give that child a book to captivate and motivate, and encourage reading -- for ONLY $.99.  Limited time -- act today!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy is ON SALE and SELLING FAST!

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy is ON SALE in Kindle format at Amazon for just $.99!  This is a special holiday promotion, and people are sure taking advantage of it!  Sales have SOARED.

Buy the print edition, and get the Kindle Edition for FREE!


If you're buying a child an e-reader or tablet for any occasion in the near future, BUY THIS BOOK and give that child something wonderful to read at a very, very, very low price!

YAY!

Now for the curry!

I cook by taste and ingredients, mostly, but this is a very free-form recipe.  The method is the same as is used for a basic white sauce or pan gravy.  It starts with what you have, and you add things until it's just right.

Chop onions (maybe two; white or yellow, regular or sweet) and garlic.  Put in a skillet with oil and cook over low to very low heat, stirring OFTEN, until all nicely caramelized, which means golden brown.  This takes a while, maybe 45 minutes to an hour, but you don't have to stand over it.
Stir in your curry spices.  A prepared curry powder is fine.  Try 2 T to start.  Stir this around for several minutes to take the raw edge off it.  While that is working, make your slurry.
Make a slurry of water or vegetable stock and cornstarch, or other non-wheat starch such as rice, potato or arrowroot.  You want the translucent look that these starches give.  Try a T of starch to a cup of liquid.  Stir that in, and up the heat until it comes just to a boil.  Back off the heat, and give a taste.
Adjust the seasonings, adding whatever you like.  More curry?  More of any given individual spice, like turmeric, cardamon,  black pepper, bell peppers, sweet peppers, hot peppers?  It won't take long until it tastes just right.  Adjust the liquid using more stock or water until it is the texture you like.

This is a basic sauce.  Pour it over rice and serve with red ginger and pickled garlic if you have them. Put crisp-tender cooked and warmed vegetables -- broccoli is a favorite of mine -- and/or prepared seitan, cooked tofu or hard-cooked eggs over the rice before adding the sauce.  Scallions, peanuts, currants and shredded coconut are Indian-style toppings.  A mango chutney is also excellent with this dish.

It's worth learning to make your own Japanese-style curry because it's easy and very, very good!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It starts with the rice.

I've started Book Two, and as I follow Azuki and Shota on their new adventures, I think about how they lived, what they ate, where they slept, and generally how people like them, ordinary people -- well, sort of -- lived from day to day.
This makes me homesick for things I love about Japan, and that often makes me hungry.
Japanese curry is in class of its own.  I love it, and generally get my curry fix at a friend's Bombay Bazaar cafe in Daikanyama (a very trendy and fun district of Tokyo), where the food is organic and there is a large vegetarian selection, but I also learned how to make my own.  I can find red pickled ginger in the US, but am having trouble finding the pickled garlic -- both served as condiments.  Next time, a package of pickled garlic comes back with me.
So -- want some Japanese curry?  It's good!
First you have to make rice.  Japanese everyday rice is a medium grain white rice.  I get organic rice grown in California.  Brown rice is becoming popular in Japan, as well as in the US, but whichever you prefer, be sure to get the right variety!  CalRose is probably the most common Japanese variety available in the US.  Measure out the quantity you want (it usually triples in size, but see what your rice cooker recommends) and wash it thoroughly until the water runs clear.   Place the drained rice in the rice cooker, and add water as indicated by the directions with the cooker.  The Taiwanese-American chef Ming Tsai -- his food is fantastic -- adds water to the first knuckle of his index finger above the rice.  That works very well when I don't feel like measuring.  Let the rice soak for at least half an hour.  After that, turn on the cooker, let it do its thing, and that's all there is to getting perfect Japanese rice every time.  With my cooker, I let the rice rest on warm for ten or fifteen minutes after the cooker clicks off, but that's because I like the crusty part that can form around the outside -- in many places, that part's a delicacy.
Here's the finished product.  Normally, a small amount of rice is used as a Buddhist altar offering in gratitude for food.  Being a highly practical people, after the offering ceremony is complete, the Japanese people I know return the rice to the cooker and eat it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

No nuts for you!

Croissant dough formed into a circle and fried -- what's not to like?
Well, it's not as good as it sounds, at least not to me.  OK, but not worth the raves.  I wonder how it would be in Japan, if this craze crosses the Pacific?
Bakers in Japan are experts at European pastry, but there is often a twist to make the result purely Japanese.  The twist often involves sweet red or white bean paste.  I like them both, but prefer the white because it tastes like chestnuts.
Maybe a filling of white bean paste?  And no glaze?
That sounds pretty good.
I like my pictures of this one, though.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Hallowe'en!

Hallowe'en has morphed in Japan, much as it has in the US, from a festival honoring the deceased (rather like Urabon (though that takes place in summer) or Dia de los Muertos or All Saint's Day followed by All Souls Day (November 1 an 2, respectively) into a giant party with inventive and scary costumes, special foods, and lots of decorations, scary and funny!  Go on, have some fun with it.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Six-Word Biography

Recently, I met a wonderful woman whose email signature includes a six word biography.  Taken with the notion, I have been toying with various forms of my own.  It would also be a great way to succinctly describe a character.

Here's what I have as of this minute:

Like the phoenix, I will rise.

What's yours?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A TROLL!

I just had the wonderful experience of encountering a TROLL who is more or less illiterate and left the ONLY bad review The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy to date.   What is UP with these idiots?
Karma's going to get you, Troll.  Or maybe the Dragon Princess.  Hallowe'en is coming.  You'll get yours.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

GIANT spiders...

In honor of the season, here is a picture of a HONKING GREAT SPIDER!  In my experience, spiders in Japan are often huge, and often are found anywhere near an outdoor light, or in rooms, like toilets, that are often unheated, have open windows, and are often lighted.  I have seen plenty of them in cities, but not in the house proper.  
Do you like spiders?  I don't, much.  Which is why I don't have my own pictures of them!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Three white pelicans

Three white pelicans
look like white channel markers
upending themselves.



(Sorry, no picture. I forgot my phone.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Autumn Memories

Just before summer time or daylight savings time ended, a cord of firewood would appear at my parent's beach house on the Oregon coast.  We'd come down that weekend.  My father and I would split and stack the wood.  I thought it great fun.  My father didn't like doing that sort of thing -- he left the ranch and never looked back -- but I like to think he enjoyed that we did it together.
People in the area Shota and Azuki lived burned wood or charcoal for heat and cooking fuel.  I wonder if they have fond memories of helping Chizuyo and Hachibei harvest downed timber to season and store against the cold mountain winters?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Equinox

Suddenly, the temperature plummets,
rain falls;
Autumn has arrived.

This rock was originally used as a platform for teaching Buddhism.  One can see the path by which one would climb it; the place where one would stand.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What's real, any way?

The koi in the first picture are quite real, actual living fish who live in a nice pool at Taiseki-ji, the Head Temple of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism in Nishi-Fujinomiya, Japan.
The koi pictured here do not live in Kumamoto Castle, in Kumamoto, Japan, because they're not real. Their pond isn't real, and when you step on the pond it changes into a map of Kumamoto at the time when the castle was constructed.  It's part of a fabulous exhibit called Wakawakaza, an interactive preview of the castle and its history.  Kumamoto is working hard to make its castle a perfect restoration, and it is very visitor friendly.  I thought Kumamoto was also famous for oysters, but when I was there, I didn't see any mention of them.  Maybe I was in the wrong part of town.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Industrial Revolution

New street!  Completed so quickly and efficiently, in Los Angeles, yet.  This monster resurfaced the street.  And then they were done!  The Industrial Revolution that spouted all over the world in the mid-19th Century arrived in Japan in full force and with exciting developments that would change the county in mere years.  Trains!  Think of what a rail system would do for a small nation that relied on small coastal sailing ships and long walks on narrow, winding roads to move goods and people.  A rail system developed quickly in Japan, and is still in use.  On my quiet WeHo street, monsters appeared, lending themselves to interesting observations.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sleeping Giant

Very interesting things happening outside my house.  All week long they've been repaving the street.  This machine chews up the old pavement, sweeps, and empties the chewed up pavement into the trucks.  Once the crews have finished this, they will repave.  The Meiji Restoration, the time of the Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, coincided with the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the US.  The development of the steam engine was enormously important because of its impact on transportation.  So many other innovations date from that time.  What's normal now that was brand new then?  This was an era that truly changed the world.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Shosho, End of Heat

Shosho, End of Heat, another Japanese mini-season, technically starts August 23 and ends September 7.  My experience is that right around September 1, there is a sudden and drastic drop in heat, and the humidity starts to dissipate.  It is amazing!  Suddenly, it feels like somebody turned the national thermostat down ten degrees (F).  Here in West Hollywood, the heat has also dropped and the quality of the light has changed.  However, West Hollywood is no respecter of Japanese mini-seasons, so we don't know what comes next!  This picture comes from northern Kyushu, in a river valley full of farms.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thrilled! Plus a Poem!

I am so very pleased at the great interest readers are showing in the Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy!  There were sooooo many entries in our Goodreads giveaway!  I'll be sending out books to the winners tomorrow.  Do enjoy.
It's also available on Amazon in Kindle and hard copy editions, and at Smashwords in all eformats.
Also, READING AND SIGNING at Pasadena Public Library on Saturday at 2 p.m.  I'm looking forward to meeting young artist contest winners!

A poem for today:

The heavy heat of late summer
Stirs my soul.
Anticipation or nostalgia?
Which?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

When it's cold, or when it's hot...

Sake is made in many styles.  Some are especially good served hot, others are better served over ice.  Like Scotch whiskies, the flavor varies with the method used for brewing, the method and materials used in filtering, the ingredients, the composition of the barrels, and, most of all, the water.  There is even a special kind of sake, unfiltered and barely alcoholic, that is served the way Americans might serve hot chocolate in the winter, though in very small quantities.  I was served a tiny cup of this near a large and famous temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo that is a major tourist destination one bitter day.  It's delicious, sweet, and very warming.  Just the thing when coming in from the snow!  This lovely stream is in Yoyogi Park, in Tokyo.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Barrels and barrels of....

At Yoyogi park, where Meiji Shrine is located, in Tokyo, there are huge displays holding barrels and barrels of...what?  It's sake!  Sake makers donate barrels of their vintages annually, as offerings to the shrine, in hopes of pleasing the kami (spirits) and obtaining their help for a great vintage every year.  Sake is a wine made of rice.  There are many variations, all -- at least of the ones I have tried -- very good!  Often, restaurants and bars (pubs, taverns) will offer tasting portions of three very small glasses or cups of different sakes so people can make new discoveries.  That is more than enough for me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Noticing

Subtlety, nuance, detail -- these are characteristics of the 24 Japanese seasons.  As we move from Risshu (Beginning of Autumn, starting August 7) to Shosho (End of  Heat) I see the very first signs of fall in the dappled sunlight under the Magnolia tree.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

An Empress's poem; an Empress's gowns

"If left unpolished, the glow of precious stones will not shine forth; Surely this is also true of these human hearts of ours."
A poem by the Empress Shoken, wife of the Emperor Meiji.  This poster shows some of her gowns which were on display at the Museum Annex as part of a commemorative exhibit of the Empress's life.  These gowns are huge and heavy, and might have outweighed her!  The Empress was not only a fine poet, but also an advocate for women's education, advancement and employment.  Meiji Shrine is located in Yoyogi Park, and can be accessed from the side of Harajuku station that doesn't lead to Takeshita Street -- a lovely contrast typical of Japan.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Takeshita Street, Harajuku, Tokyo

Tokyo is a huge city.  The Yamanote Sen (Train Line) circles the central city.  It takes about an hour to make the complete circle.  Get off at Harajuku and find Takeshita Street, several blocks and courtyards of highly fashionable and trendy shops and restaurants catering to the very young and hip.  It's always fun to people watch and see what's going to be the height of fashion next year!  I had to take a picture of this food stall because I live near Santa Monica, and I've never seen anything like this there!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Author Appearance - Pasadena Public Library - August 30th


Please join me at the Pasadena Public Library August 30th at 2pm for a signing and reading of "The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy"! I will also be awarding the Young Artist Contest Winners with their books. I can't wait for them to see their art published!! 

It's a FREE event so I hope you can make it!! 



Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Review for - The Shadow Miner by Katie Beitz

I just finished reading Katie Beitz's The Shadow Miner.
I liked it!

 Here's the link to my review of The Shadow Miner on Goodreads.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1019857806?book_show_action=false&page=1
Here is also a link to Katie's review of The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, also on Goodreads.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22252500-the-toki-girl-and-the-sparrow-boy?ac=1#other_reviews.

Authors often review each other's books.  Hey -- free books, right?  Also new friends and colleagues.  My policy is to send reviews privately if I can't give a decent review.  I have been very lucky because I have been reading some very good books!



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

24 seasons

The traditional Japanese calendar includes 24 seasons, all very specific in terms of climate, extending to food and even wardrobe.  While this is a system formerly used by farmers, it is interesting and pleasant to follow these seasons as a way to see the subtle changes in the progress of the year.
This photograph was taken at a Temple in Tokyo during the season of Rikka, or Beginning of Summer, which began May 5.  The heat is just starting, there's a little rain now and then, and just a bit of humidity.  It is a very pleasant time of year.  This is when the azaleas bloom in the areas I frequent.

As I follow the adventures of Azuki and Shota, it's fun to follow the specific and narrow seasons of the traditional Japanese farmer's calendar.  I feel more attuned to the turning of the planet.
You can buy the first book here, in trade paperback or Kindle editions.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=The+Toki-Girl+and+the+Sparrow-Boy
Visit Smashwords for other e-formats.  Book Two is in process!

Monday, August 4, 2014

This is exciting.  A new blog that is connected to www.tokigirlsparrowboy.com!  The reviews are great, the art is wonderful, and people are reading and liking this book!  More to follow...

And there will be more pictures as I figure out where they are.  Right now, despite syncing, they seem to not exist on my computer.  But you can't go wrong with Mt. Fuji!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Great Review!!

Fantastic review of my newest book The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy now available on Amazon.com. You can check it out HERE.