The story opens at the Komagome shrine, which is a red lacquer and gold leaf Inari shrine like this one…
A shimenawa rope made from rice straw hangs on this torii gate to show that beyond the gate is sacred ground.
This is the Komagome Police Station, where Kenji works.
Color in one eye of a Daruma figure when you make a wish, then color in the other when the wish comes true.
A pink Lolita, dressed for winter.
Sweet Lolitas dress in pastels or prints with “sweet” designs.
Gothic Lolitas dress exclusively in black and white, but with ruffle and bow designs like Sweet Lolitas.
Princess gals like Coco look like living dolls, with their bleached hair, doll-like eye makeup, and elaborate nails.
When it comes to dresses, Princess Gals love short girly styles.
Favorite Princess Gal accessories are sparkly and pink.
As you can imagine, even dialing your phone with nails like these would be a challenge.
Japanese eyes don’t naturally have a fold above the eyelid, so many girls glue them to get that wide-eyed innocent look.
Takeshita Street, where the fashion cults shop.
Ueno Park during cherry blossom season is packed with partiers from dawn to dusk.
A Monchhichi monkey, whose adorable features and countless outfits make it a favorite collectible of Japanese girls.
This “kimono princess” style outfit is what a hip young woman might wear to a benefit concert.
Anyone can stroll along this boulevard of Jizo figures at Zojoji Temple, near the fancy Tofu-ya Ukai restaurant.
These o-Jizo-sama are dedicated to the souls of lost children, their pinwheels sending prayers to heaven with every breeze.
The entrance to the Tofu-ya Ukai restaurant begins to prepare you for…
…the exquisite garden…
…the luxurious private room…
…the hand-brushed menu…
…the stunning arrangement in the tokonoma alcove…
…and the many small courses of seasonal delicacies.
Incense is burned for the dead at Buddhist wakes and funerals.
Akihabara is home to a variety of maid cafés
Maids invite shy young men into their cafes on the streets of Akihabara.
“Nyan, nyan! Welcome, Master of the House!”
Visual kei artists take the stage sporting outrageous hair, lots of glitter and chains. This is Duel Jewel, one of my favorite bands.
Fans at a “live house” club do a “parapara” handjive as the artists on stage dish up their favorite songs.
Goth boys in Tokyo wear brands like h. Naoto and Atelier Boz.
In the lobby of every love hotel is a board where customers can choose their room. The ones that are lit up are still available.
In the room at a love hotel, customer can control the room’s special features from a console next to the bed.
The walls of this love hotel room are covered with glow-in-the-dark shooting stars and rocket ships.
Shinto priests wear white linen robes, lacquered black mesh hats, and black clogs.
The giant torii gate at the entrance to the Nezu shrine becomes a spooky portal at night.
At the Nezu shrine, the main gate is flanked by two fierce samurai figures.
This is the entrance to the courtyard of the Nezu shrine. The main sanctuary building is beyond.
This lion dog stands guard in the courtyard, even in the rain.
Rikugi-en garden is a beautiful place to stroll and talk about difficult subjects.
The path to the maple grove.
One of the imposing torii gates at the Yasukuni shrine, with the grand gate beyond.
A view of the grand gate, from the spring where visitors purify their hands and mouth before entering the shrine grounds.
A stone lantern glows in the twilight, with the buildings of the main shrine beyond.
The sanctuary at the Yasukuni shrine is built of plain cedar, with gold fittings.
There’s a lovely koi pond, surrounded by a classic Japanese garden.
This is the viewing pavilion, on the edge of the koi pond
Visitors leave their secret wishes inscribed on ema prayer plaques…
…but what if a killer’s one desire is to snuff out the lives of innocent women, like candles in the wind?
Come along with English translator Yumi Hata and Police Detective Kenji Nakamura as they cross over to the dark side of Tokyo…
Here’s how fun and easy it would be to lead your book club in a discussion about Nightshade!
• Choose some questions from the Book Club Hot Topics discussion questions.
• Become an instant expert on exotic subjects by reading a few blog posts:
Baby, The Stars Shine Bright
Boys In Pink Hair and Eyeliner
Dancing With the Fangirls
What the Well-Dressed God Is Wearing This Season
• Bring along this slide show (images fill the screen and you click to advance the slides) or use the Nightshade automatic slideshow (images are smaller and cycle through by themselves).
• Read the first few chapters of Nightshade, to see if your group might like the book
Buy Nightshade from these online booksellers $4.99 (£2.66 in the UK, €2.77 in Europe, ¥378 in Japan)
To show these images as a presentation-size slideshow:
• Click on the first image. It will fill the window, with the caption at the bottom.
• Advance the slides manually by clicking on the arrow that appears at the right of the picture when your cursor touches it.
• To exit, click on the X in the upper left corner.
Don’t have a Kindle? Fear not! You can read ebooks just as easily on devices you already use every day! Here are easy directions and links to free apps to get you up and reading in less than five minutes: How To Read eBooks Without A Kindle
Other books in the series:
Book #2 Fallen Angel
Book #3 Idolmaker