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Keeping cool in hilarious Japanese ways, a journey back to a simpler time, and the best soy-lemon salad dressing EVER

Hello, friend. It’s me, Jonelle.

So, I’ve been wondering—are you experiencing micro-nostalgia too? At least once a day I find myself longing for the good old days…you know, like, four months ago. I don’t know about you, but the world has changed with such dizzying speed, some days I just want to walk away from it all. That’s why the June Japanagram brought some lovely Japanese things that haven’t changed, and never will.

Links to the JUNE 2020 Japanagram features:

Photo of goldfish in bags of water at the Edogawa Goldfish Festival in Japan

SEASONAL SECRET

Stay cool in the summer, the traditional Japanese way

Five ways that the Japanese have traditionally survived the miserably hot & humid summer months. Some actually work, and some rely on powers of imagination that this foreigner can only aspire toread more

Small child in red raincoat feeding rabbits at Japan's bunny island Okunoshima

BEYOND TOKYO

Let’s go Okunoshima, a trip back to a kinder, gentler time

Remember when you could go to the airport half an hour before your flight and just walk onto the plane, without going through security? Remember when children could play outside until dark, with no supervision? Remember when we could all go to restaurants and bars and shops without wearing masks? If you’re like me, you may be longing for….read more

Cover of The Essential Haiku edited by Robert Hass, with koi fish swimming

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

The Essential Haiku

What I’ve always loved about haiku (besides the fact that they’re short) is their accessibility—pow, instant hit with the clue stick!—but they also quietly deliver deeper messages with a little more thought. And what makes this particular collection so wonderfully readable is that they weren’t tediously rendered word-for-word from the Japanese—they were translated by a poetread more

Photo of Japanese Chicken Salad with Soy-Lemon Dressing

JAPANESE HOME COOKING

Japanese Chicken Salad with Tangy Soy-Lemon Dressing

Summer is heating up in Japan, and this salad is the perfect way to avoid slaving over a hot stove! It tastes fresh and summer-y, satisfying enough to be a light meal in itself, or as a side with rice and grilled meatread more

WHY, JAPAN, WHY?

How did Japan beat the virus without lockdowns or mass testing?

In a country with over 126 million people, there have been only 825 deaths from the virus, even though they had no “shelter in place” edicts and testing was laughably limited. But why?…read more

And in JULY…

🎐This month, we travel back in time, with a mystery series that’s set in the treacherous court of the shōgun and a stroll through vast, serene ponds of lotus flowers that were grown from 3,000-year-old seeds. If you’re not a subscriber, you can’t read these features until the end of the month, but it’s easy to join me and get full access now! Click on the link at the end of each article or scroll down to the Get Japanagram button.

Here’s what’s in the July issue:

Blooming lotus at Gyoda Ancient Lotus Park Gyoda Hasu-en

BEYOND TOKYO

Let’s journey to a vast garden of divine lotus, grown from 3,000-year-old seeds

These ancient symbols of “pure beauty that flowers from the muckiest mud” have uplifted the human spirit for centuries, so it’s fitting that even in these grim times, we can still wander beneath their glowing green parasols and marvel as their pink perfection unfurls at the break of day (To read more, click here to get Japanagram)

O-bon lantern for sale

SEASONAL SECRET

Souvenirs NOT to buy in July

The ultimate souvenir forever reminds you of the joys of being in Japan, in the season you were there to enjoy. Which is why you might be tempted to bring home one of these lovely handpainted flower lamps that are only sold during July and August (To read more, click here to get Japanagram)

Cover of Shinju by Laura Joh Rowland

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

Shinjū

What’s especially enjoyable about this mystery is that it drops us straight into the intrigues of samurai-era Japan. Riding along with the shōgun’s personal investigator, we encounter unexpected dead ends based on politeness, failure to secure the right introduction, and other aspects of Japanese society that still, amazingly enough, exist today (To enter to win your very own copy, click here to become a Japanagram subscriber)

Egglant with sweet and salty miso sauce Nasu Dengaku recipe

JAPANESE HOME COOKING

Eggplant with Sweet & Salty Miso Sauce

Dengaku sauce is one of those tasty toppings that makes even people who “don’t like Japanese food” beg for seconds. Everything from eggplant to slices of pork tenderloin to skewers of grilled chicken will disappear in record time when topped with this addictive delight (To get the recipe, click here to get Japanagram)
Racist NHK video

WHY, JAPAN, WHY?

Why did NHK try to Japansplain the global anti-racism protests with this excruciatingly embarrassing video?

You don’t have to understand Japanese to instantly grasp that this video produced and aired by NHK is how NOT to explain why anti-racism protests have exploded across America and the world (To read more, click here to get Japanagram)

Don’t miss The Last Tea Bowl Thief!

“Without question, the best book I have read all year.” —Susan Spann, author of the Hiro Hattori mysteries and CLIMB

In modern-day Tokyo, Robin Swann’s life has sputtered to a stop. She’s stuck in a dead-end job testing antiquities for an auction house, but her true love is poetry, not…read more

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly newsletter Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

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