ナオミ・ヒラハラ

(Naomi Hirahara)

Naomi 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, Officer Ellie Rush series, and now the new Leilani Santiago mysteries. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo, she has written a number of nonfiction books on the Japanese American experience and several 12-part serials for Discover Nikkei.

Updated October 2019

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As You Like It

Chapter Four—Deep Like the Rivers

Deep’s Butcher Shop in East Harlem is nothing like the ones I’ve seen in other parts of New York City. Yes, there’s a large refrigerated case of meats, but the walls, for the most part, have cases of books. And not cookbooks, but books of poetry and classics, ones that I attempted to read in translation in high school in Japan. I never was good in literature.

Through two small speakers mounted on the ceiling sounds Bob Marley. I know Bob Marley through my ex-boyfriend, Makoto, who took me to various reggae bars throughout Hiroshima. In between ...

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As You Like It

Chapter Three—The Perfect Cut

My feet are swollen and sore, and it’s all because of pork belly. In Japan we had a special distributor which brought our okonomiyaki restaurant fresh cuts two times a week. They were sliced thin like American bacon with just the right amount of marbling. The slices cooked perfectly on our grill—not too crisp, not too limp.

Risa, my best friend and roommate, had told me about Chinatown and Little Korea. I couldn’t believe how expansive Chinatown was—long blocks filled with restaurants and small businesses all crammed together. Risa had even worked at a Japanese maid ...

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As You Like It

Chapter Two—Trade Secrets

A-ra, I think, struggling to turn off the hot water shower faucet. My uncle. The last person in the whole wide world that I want to talk to.

Risa’s holding out her cell phone from the open crack of the bathroom door. Her white arms are as thin as broomsticks.

I pull a towel from a shelf and wrap it around my body. I am usually not shy around Risa, especially since we’ve seen each other naked dozens of times in public baths in small towns around Hiroshima and in the onsen during some hot spring trips in ...

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As You Like It

Chapter One—Throwaway Girls

“I guess we are throwaway girls,” Risa says, helping me to unpack one of my boxes. I do not know why it is taking her so long. That box has my special okonomiyaki cooking tools—my extra shiny and sharp spatulas, my special knives to slice cabbage extra thin. It will go into the cupboards of her tiny kitchen. Thankfully, Risa does not know how to cook anything, even a bowl of rice.

“What is this?” Risa frowns, holding up a container that is covered in tree bark.

“My secret magic.”

“I can use some magic.” Risa proceeds to twist ...

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Death of an Origamist

Chapter Twelve—Waiting Room

“Okay, the grace period is over.”

Sachi looked up from her Candy Crush game on her phone. “Huh?”

Her BFF Leslie placed a forlorn hardboiled egg wrapped in cellophane and a carton of coconut water on the table. She sat across from Sachi in the outside courtyard of the hospital. “It’s been a month. With Scott I gave you a whole year, because, well, he was your husband and the love of your life. But this guy, this guy only deserves two days. A week at best.”

Sachi regretted telling Les about Kenji. It had been a post-menopausal crush ...

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