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Ten Days of Cleanup

Chapter Ten—Smell the Roses

ナオミ・ヒラハラ

I found the e-mail for my client, Ryan Stone, and began typing him a message. 

Ten Days of Cleanup

Chapter Nine—Hurricane Popcorn Days

ナオミ・ヒラハラ

“Mom, we need to make some hurricane popcorn.” 

Ten Days of Cleanup

Chapter Eight—Zip A Dee Doo Dah

ナオミ・ヒラハラ

I couldn’t believe it, but we could now see the back of the storage unit. Well, at least one corner. We had only five days to go before I had to completely empty it out. 

Ten Days of Cleanup

Chapter Seven—No-knead Bread

ナオミ・ヒラハラ

“Do you think this Ryan Stone is a real person?” my daughter Sycamore asked me as we took a break from her Zoom class to make some no-knead bread. This was our fourth attempt at baking bread during the pandemic. So far our previous baking adventures were failures. I miscalculated …

Ten Days of Cleanup

Chapter Six—Mikasa Man

ナオミ・ヒラハラ

My ten-year-old daughter, Sycamore, had officially become my wing woman. Or should I say wing girl. She was definitely my top—and well, only—assistant in terms of my cleaning business, Souji RS.

Ten Days of Cleanup

Chapter Five—Smell of Water

ナオミ・ヒラハラ

I only had seven days to get rid of everything in my client’s storage locker. So far, I had disposed of—no, preserved—some historic family photographs from World War II as well as given away vintage car parts to life-long friends who like to restore old vehicles. Next were dark green …

Ten Days of Cleanup

Chapter Four—Great Balls of Fire

ナオミ・ヒラハラ

Now that all the miscellaneous orange packages were out of my client’s storage container, I saw something large wrapped in blue. I removed some red packages that were resting on top of it and place them in one corner of the container. The blue package was long and felt metallic.

Ten Days of Cleanup

Chapter Three—The Curse of Mottainai II

ナオミ・ヒラハラ

Clement of the Japanese American museum called me back an hour later. His hunch was right: the photos and the name plate in the mystery storage unit were connected to this Tokko Kinjo at a retirement home in Boyle Heights. He had even touched base with Tokko’s eldest son, who …

Ten Days of Cleanup

Chapter Two—The Curse of Mottainai I

ナオミ・ヒラハラ

While many post-World War II Japanese families were all about discarding old tansu and kimono, my mother closely held to the value of mottainai, that it was a disgrace to throw something away before its time. In other words, as long as an object had not completely disintegrated, she was …

Ten Days of Cleanup

Chapter One—The Contract

ナオミ・ヒラハラ

“Hello, Souji RS. Hiroko speaking.”

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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.

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