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?

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


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.
Here is also a link to Katie's review of The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, also on Goodreads.

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.
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!  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 You can check it out HERE.