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TAT MASTER - Part 1 of 3

Naomi Hirahara

“What’s your real name?” GEISHA GIRL asked, picking up my business card after I was finished with him.

Japanese American National Museum Magazine

Master Artisans of San Jose: The Nishiura Brothers

Naomi Hirahara

If you’ve ever visited San Jose’s Japantown, odds are you’ve stepped in a building constructed by the Nishiura brothers. Born in Nara prefecture and raised in the shadow of ancient temples, the two brothers, Shinzaburo and Gentaro, learned their carpentry skills from their father Tsurukichi, himself a skilled craftsman. The …

The Last Days of Daikon Ashi

Naomi Hirahara

When my uncle in Tokyo spotted me in Narita Airport in Japan, he almost breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, you are like the old model,” he said, picking up my carry-on baggage.I was 21 years old, and too busy absorbing the rush of businessmen and tourists to register what …

Foreword from Nothing Left in My Hands

Naomi Hirahara

Although my parents and I visited Watsonville every summer during my childhood, I only became familiar with the name—Pajaro Valley—of this region on the central California coast much later, in my thirties. Before then, Watsonville was just the inaka, the country, where we would travel north several hours from Los …

Nanka Nikkei Voices

Nanka Nikkei Voices: The Japanese American Family

Naomi Hirahara

The Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California launched their fourth publication, Nanka Nikkei Voices: The Japanese American Family, in September 2010. The following is a shortened version of the introduction to the volume written by guest editor Naomi Hirahara.Introduction

Baishakunin, Inc.

Chapter Twelve—Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Naomi Hirahara

>> Chapter elevenAt least pretend that you’re happy to be here, I scold myself. My best friend Ginnie Lee is getting married. To a nice, decent man. What a concept—two nice people making a lifetime commitment. That’s the mission of my fledgling matchmaking company, Baishakunin, Incorporated, but while business is …

Baishakunin, Inc.

Chapter Eleven—Cold Imagawayaki

Naomi Hirahara

>> Chapter tenOf all the people that I decide to be completely honest with, it shouldn’t be him.  I should be confessing to my best friend, bride-to-be Ginnie Lee; my staff at Baishakunin, Inc; or the guy who I was just starting to date, my landlord Jake Martinez.  But no, …

Baishakunin, Inc.

Chapter Ten—Honesty Is the Best Policy

Naomi Hirahara

>> Chapter nine“You have to tell him,” says Ginnie, slurping the last bit of noodle in her large ceramic bowl. We are in Mr. Ramen on First Street in Little Tokyo. There’s a more popular ramen house a few storefronts away, but I opt for more quiet and privacy, especially …

Baishakunin, Inc.

Chapter Nine—Up in Space

Naomi Hirahara

>> Chapter eightI don’t know why I set up my ex-boyfriend with the absolutely best catch in my fledgling dating service. As my best friend Ginny Lee always reminds me, I despise Rick; I have the deleted digital images in my trash folder to prove it (I know, they should …

Baishakunin, Inc.

Chapter Eight—Match Game

Naomi Hirahara

>> Chapter seven“So who’s going to be matched with who?” Ginnie asks as she licks some green tea/blood orange yogurt from her lips.

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About

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.

Nikkei interests

  • community history
  • family stories
  • festival/matsuri
  • Japanese/Nikkei food
  • Japantowns
  • language

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