ナオミ・ヒラハラ

(Naomi Hirahara)

Naomi Hirahara is the author of the Edgar Award-winning Mas Arai mystery series, which features a Kibei Nisei gardener and atomic-bomb survivor who solves crimes, Officer Ellie Rush series, and now the new Leilani Santiago mysteries. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo, she has written a number of nonfiction books on the Japanese American experience and several 12-part serials for Discover Nikkei.

Updated October 2019

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Baishakunin, Inc.

Chapter Three—Let’s Make a Deal

>> Chapter twoEver since I turned 35 (two years ago), everyone has treated me differently. During every holiday dinner, my parents and my younger brother with his wife and two kids look at me pitifully, as if my expiration date has long passed. I’m no longer part of the cool 21-34 crowd on surveys and marathon categories, I’m now part of the 35-44-year-old crowd. Even bag boys call me ma’am and offer to carry my groceries to my car—what are they thinking—that maybe I drive a Super Stock Dodge, the classic Little Ole Lady from Pasadena wheels? All this time …

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Baishakunin, Inc.

Chapter Two—Eat Your Brussel Sprouts

>> Chapter one“You actually don’t look too bad, considering,” says Ginnie as we are seated at La Grande Orange Café, the new restaurant on the bottom floor of the Pasadena condo unit I live in. Now remember—Ginnie Lee is my best friend and about the nicest person I know in the planet, so for her to say not “too bad” actually meant I was wretched-looking. I finally took a shower this afternoon, after not taking one for three days. I had heard on Oprah or some other kind of TV show that Preparation H did wonders on the bags underneath a person&rs…

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Baishakunin, Inc.

Chapter One—The Games People Play

Jamie Kaneko carefully counts out fifteen sheets of toilet paper on her roll, tears on the perforated line, and hands the loose end to me with a smile. “Here you go—now don’t start until I tell you to.” A couple of young teenagers, holding their toilet paper tails with the tips of their fingers, giggle, while the grandmothers on the couch look a bit confused. The rest of us—veteranos—sit politely, but inside I feel like screaming—like, for once, can’t someone think of anything different— Jamie raises her arms and then dramatically swish…

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1001 Cranes: Excerpt from a new novel for young readers

The following is an excerpt from Naomi Hirahara’s middle-grade novel, 1001 Cranes, which tells the story of Angela Michiko Kato, a 12-year-old girl who has to spend a summer with her grandparents in Gardena, CA while her parents are going through marital problems. Chapter Ten The Great Gambaru [inline:cover_cranes_190.jpg] That night I go to bed early. Early, early at eight o’clock. I am sticky and my eyes are swollen, but I don’t bother to take a bath, wash my face, or even brush my teeth. And no one tells me I have to. Either they feel sorry for me or are afraid. Arou…

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The Nihongo Papers

Chapter 12

>> Chapter 11Carlos Yamashita’s favorite Japanese superhero was Kikaider. Half blue and half red, Kikaider was a humanoid robot created to save the world from a mad scientist, Professor Gill. Carlos regularly watched old Japanese Kikaider live-action programs broadcast on cable in Paraguay. One of his friends also brought back manga and cartoons of Kikaider from his family’s summer trips to Japan. They spent hours eating rice crackers and talking about the various cartoon panels that had the best action. “Chaaaange. Chaaaange. Switch on, one, two, three,” then a…

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