Naomi Hirahara

Hirahara is the author of the Edgar Award-winning Mas Arai mystery series, which features a Kibei Nisei gardener and atomic-bomb survivor who solves crimes. Her new mystery series with a female hapa bicycle cop was launched in April 2014 with the publication of Murder on Bamboo Lane. The second in the series, Grave on Grand Avenue, is available now. She authored a 12-part serial for Discover Nikkei titled “The Nihongo Papers” and “Baishakunin, Inc.”

Updated June 2015

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As You Like It

Chapter Eight—Turning Japanese

It takes Gen some time to calm Tom down. After all, I, his enemy, have taken over his grill. It doesn’t matter whether you are from Hiroshima, Japan, or Harlem, New York City. No chef should invade another chef’s cooking space, even if it’s outdoors in the middle of a food festival.

“Maybe I should stop,” I say to Risa, as I flip over another okonomiyaki.

“Are you kidding me? Look at the line. If you don’t give these people what they want, we’ll really be in trouble.” Risa returns to chopping another head of ...

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As You Like It

Chapter Seven—Food Fight

After I was used by Morgan Taketa, I stay in my bed of Amazon packaging and bubble wrap for almost two weeks straight. Unfortunately for my roommate Risa, whose Manhattan apartment I’m staying in, my bed is in the middle of her studio. Risa is the most kind-hearted person I know, but even she is getting tired of it. Her cat, Tamago, less kind-hearted, just hisses at me from the other side of the room.

“Kao-chan, this cannot continue,” she says to me one Saturday. “You need to get up. Take a proper shower—I mean with soap ...

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Nikkei Oshogatsu Stories 2017 - Part 1

In our January e-newsletter, Discover Nikkei put out a call for Oshogatsu stories. We asked our Nikkei readers from around the world to show us, through photos and words, how they welcomed the New Year. We received several stories written in English, Japanese, and Portuguese. One story, by Justin Inahara, was so long that we had to publish it separately. The rest are gathered below for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

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Desperate Measures of Un-Chanto Woman
By Naomi Hirahara

I made my Hiroshima-born mother cry sometimes because I’ve been so un-chanto since childhood. If I didn’t lose ...

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As You Like It

Chapter Six—“We Believe in America”

We are sitting in a restaurant in Battery Park, which is on the south side of the island of Manhattan.

Morgan tells me that it is a new restaurant that opened a few months ago. Apparently restaurants open and close in America all the time. I don’t know if he’s telling me this as a cautionary tale. But I won’t be discouraged. Red Okonomiyaki and I will make it in New York City.

I try to order modestly. Yes, I’m holding back. Since this was Morgan’s invitation, I’m assuming that he will be paying ...

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As You Like It

Chapter Five—Death by Yelp

“This was just amazing.” Morgan Taketa says after wiping his lips with a cloth napkin that was hand-sewn by my best friend, Risa. He still has a bit of brown okonomiyaki sauce in the corner of his mouth, but I am not going to say anything. Morgan the banker can make my restaurant dreams come true in New York City. He could have come dressed to dinner as the Kentucky Fried Chicken ojiisan and I would have treated him like an emperor.

“So this is your first time to have okonomiyaki?” Risa asks. She has also sewn a prototype apron ...

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