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The Japanese art of gift giving, millions of twinkling fairy lights, and hilarious Xmas weirdness

Links to the DECEMBER 2020 Japanagram features

Author Jonelle Patrick in playing card kimono

Hello, friend! It’s me, Jonelle. I hope that the new year is bringing you all kinds of good changes and extra heapings of hope for you and yours! Here are the features that Japanagram subscribers enjoyed in December, and a preview of what they’re reading right now…

Sake bottles wrapped in Japanese furoshiki


The Japanese art of gift giving

If there were medals for gifting, the Japanese would own the gold and the Guinness record for owning the gold…read more

Yomiuriland Jewelluminations


Millions of twinkling fairy lights, dancing fountain extravaganzas, and glowing cotton candy, all served up on a roller coaster

Yomiuriland outdoes itself this year with all-new glittering lights and fresh spectacles of live dancers performing with choreographed water fountains…read more

Man dressed as sexy Santa at Shibuya Station


There’s nothing weirder than Xmas in Japan

Like most things in Japan, they get Christmas exactly, excruciatingly right, and at the same time so very, very wrong. Poinsettias are all the rage, lavishly-trimmed trees abound, and Santa and his helpers are on every corner, except sometimes they’re a little…off…read more

Marinated pork medallions with melted leeks


Marinated Pork Medallions with Melted Leeks

Want to try something new that’s guaranteed to have your guests begging for seconds? These marinated medallions of pork tenderloin always get rave reviews, even from people who “don’t like Japanese food.” (Bonus: they’re easy to make and turn out perfect every time)…read more

Cover of December 6 by Martin Cruz Smith


December 6 by Martin Cruz Smith

This novel is set in the hours right before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, capturing the moment from inside the world of the attacker. Seen through the eyes of one of the few foreigners in Japan, we watch from within as this tiny, insignificant country thrusts itself onto the world stage…click here

Bookshelf at Boise Idaho bookstore


There’s a book on this list for everyone on YOUR list

The gift of escapism is at the top of everyone’s list this year, and books are the perfect getaway when we can’t get on a plane ourselves. Here are books that your giftees probably haven’t read yet, in every category…read more


❄️In January, Japan dishes up all kinds of chilly delights, so read on and see what there is to look forward to as winter gets into full swing. If you’re not a subscriber, you can’t read these features until the end of the month, but it’s easy to join and get full access now for FREE! Click on the link at the end of each description or scroll down to the Get Japanagram button.

Here’s what’s in the January issue:

Dogs dressed in schoolgirl uniforms at Yoyogi Park


Dogs dressed in schoolgirl uniforms are just the tip of the iceberg

In the land with the most rapidly shrinking birthrate in the world, it’s easy to see where all that energy is going. Pets have their own fashion, transportation, spas, gourmet delis and more…(To read more, click here to get Japanagram)

Misotsuchi icicles lit up at night


A magical cliffside of icicles lit up at night

This secret Japanese pleasure isn’t a famous tourist destination—it’s really more of a pit stop along the way to other great places—but it’s so spectacular in an ur-illuminations kind of way, I just have to show it to you…(To read more, click here to get Japanagram)

Good on display at a table at the Setagaya Boroichi


The grand pooh-bah of Japanese flea markets

This treasure trove of a flea market only happens twice a year, but what a goldmine it is! Where else might you find a set of antique lacquer ozonibowls, a disgruntled workman doll, a pre-dial-era telephone, and a couple of courtesan’s tobacco pipes, all on one table!…(To read more, click here to get Japanagram)

Japan Jeopardy board


Let’s play Japan Jeopardy!

The questions will be easier if you’ve read The Last Tea Bowl Thief, but they’re all diabolically guessable. There are enough clues in each question that you can give them a pretty decent shot, even if you haven’t read or finished the book…(To play, click here to get Japanagram)

Cover of Out by Natsuo Kirino


OUT by Natsuo Kirino

A brutal murder is just the beginning of this dark thriller, where we watch an ordinary housewife and her friends cover up the crime with Ripley-esque practicality and utter absence of guilt…(To enter to win your very own copy, click here to become a Japanagram subscriber)

Jonelle Patrick is the author of five novels set in Japan

 The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

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!

4 thoughts on “The Japanese art of gift giving, millions of twinkling fairy lights, and hilarious Xmas weirdness Leave a comment

  1. I just read all of your books, Miss Jonelle. You have great potential as writer. I like your fine knowledge and first hand experience in Japan. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I hope you do more stories about Japan.

    • Thank you so much! It’s such a pleasure to met new friends who love the same things I do. I’m so delighted that you enjoyed the books (and yes, another one is in the works!) A happy St. Pat’s day right back atcha, and I hope you’re well and happy, wherever you are!

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