As You Like It

Kaori, 26, is part of an okonomiyaki family dynasty in Hiroshima. A regional specialty, okonomiyaki, literally meaning “as you iike it,” is a savory pancake usually consisting of cabbage, pork belly, and in Hiroshima, Chinese noodles. When her father dies, her uncle takes over the eatery and kicks Kaori out of the business, forcing her to try to introduce the family recipe to New York City, where her best friend now lives. While Kaori is ambitious, she’s also naïve and is taken advantage of in both business and romance. Will she learn from her mistakes, or will her family’s okonomiyaki legacy die in America?

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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 Kyushu. But …

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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 it …

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