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The Nihongo Papers

Chapter 7

Naomi Hirahara

>> Chapter 6 The door opened, allowing a sliver of sunrise to temporarily blind the boy holding a gun in the corner of the Oxnard hotel room. The boy, Carlos Yamashita, squinted and aimed at the silhouette of a thin man in the doorway. Carlos was ready to shoot when the ...

The Nihongo Papers

Chapter 6

Naomi Hirahara

>> Chapter 5 For weeks after Haru’s baby brother Kei was born, the Shishido household was both loud and quiet at the same time. Loud from the baby’s crying but quiet as if secrets were being muffled in the corners of their dirt floors. Haru herself tried to stay ...

The Nihongo Papers

Chapter 5

Naomi Hirahara

>> Chapter 4 Carlos Yamashita knew that the old man was practically blind to begin with, but since the three of them had arrived in California, Bisabuelo’s sight had worsened. He still stayed alone in the neighboring hotel room, which was more than fine with Carlos. As soon as Bisabuelo ...

The Nihongo Papers

Chapter 4

Naomi Hirahara

>> Chapter 3 Phyllis Hamakawa felt the scent of the incense wash over her as the Buddhist priests chanted, groaning almost like summer cicada. The whole sanctuary in the new church seemed to pulse as the line of black-suited people, friends and strangers, either embraced her or bowed in front of ...

The Nihongo Papers

Chapter 3

Naomi Hirahara

>> Chapter 2 Haru Shishido reached out for the dashboard as their Model T truck hit some potholes in the dirt road. Papa was going much faster than usual. If Mama was in the car, she would be saying, “Papa, abunai.” Papa, danger. But Mama was at home resting with the ...

The Nihongo Papers

Chapter 2

Naomi Hirahara

>> Chapter 1 Solicitor Phyllis Hamakawa looked out her Toronto city council office and felt her stomach churn. She could have blamed the dim sum she ate at a lunch reception in Old Chinatown, one of the three Chinatowns in Toronto proper. But she knew her unease had nothing to do ...

The Nihongo Papers

Chapter 1

Naomi Hirahara

“There’s another one,” said Bob Shishido, almost in whisper.

The Making of Mamo's Weeds: Mystery of an L.A. Gardener's Life

Naomi Hirahara

As I’ve stated before in interviews, it took me 15 years to get my first novel published. I rewrote it numerous times (maybe the first chapter 33 times!), eliminated major characters, revamped the plot, and changed the title about four times. The one thing that stayed the same was ...

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Naomi Hirahara is the Edgar Award-winning author of two mystery series set in Los Angeles. Her Mas Arai series, which features a Hiroshima survivor and gardener, has been translated into Japanese, Korean and French. Her first Mas Arai novel, SUMMER OF THE BIG BACHI, is currently being developed into an independent film. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo newspaper and curator of historical exhibitions, she has also published noir short stories, middle-grade fiction and nonfiction books, including TERMINAL ISLAND: LOST COMMUNITIES OF LOS ANGELES and two biographies for the Japanese American National Museum, including AN AMERICAN SON: THE STORY OF GEORGE ARATANI, FOUNDER OF MIKASA AND KENWOOD. Co-written with Heather Lindquist, a book on the struggles of Japanese Americans after being released from Manzanar concentration camp (LIFE AFTER MANZANAR) was published by Heyday Books in 2018. Her seventh and final Mas Arai mystery, HIROSHIMA BOY, was released the same year. Set to be released in September 2019, her new mystery, ICED IN PARADISE, will follow the adventures of Leilani Santiago, who operates her family’s shave ice business in Kaua’i. She received her bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University.

Nikkei interests

  • community history
  • family stories
  • festival/matsuri
  • Japanese/Nikkei food
  • Japantowns
  • language

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