From Asylum to Infamy

This blog post originally appeared on the Murder Is Everywhere blog. He was the kind of man who disagreed with his government—and sought to reform its operations. He broke laws to spread his messages of unrest and felt forced to flee, lest he spend the rest of his life in prison. In search of shelter, … Read more

Love, Indo-American Style

Last weekend I took a long flight with my daughter to a fabulous Indian family wedding with all the bells and whistles. It was a four-day celebration. Although we missed the first night’s cocktail party, we rolled in the next night for the sangeet, a dance party with live Indian music, henna tattoos, a costume … Read more

Marjorie and Me

The other weekend, I was cranky and knew I needed a temporary getaway from my family. So I got in the car on a hot July morning and drove south to DC, savoring Saturday’s lack of traffic. Ever since I moved back to the Mid-Atlantic, I’ve longed to tour Hillwood, the 1920s Georgian mansion of … Read more

Independence Anniversaries

A year ago today, July 4, our family drove into Baltimore for Act III of our life here. It was quite hot–100 degrees plus–and broken cherry, elm and oak trees were strewn across the streets. A week earlier, a massive derecho storm had devastated sections of Maryland–and electricity was absent in half the steaming city. … Read more

The Road to the Right Cover

I just ate five chocolates to celebrate the fact that my book’s cover design is finally approved. This was more than a three month process. The talented artists at Simon&Schuster went through four designs before resulting in this one […]

I like the bold red and gold, the cozy, interesting vintage bed, and the opened book on it. And I’ve got to say, cover designs that match the writer’s dream don’t usually come together. Here’s how it happened.

The Next Big Thing

My good friend Naomi Hirahara, who writes the Edgar-winning Mas Arai series, asked me a few questions about the Next Big Thing in my life. So here goes. What is the Working Title of Your Book? The Sleeping Dictionary. In the 18th century, Asian women who were romantically involved with officers in the British and … Read more

The Gomi Pile

Gaijin going through Japanese trash–for personal gain. Excuse me? That’s what I said the first time I heard about “gomi-picking” or “gomi-hunting.” Apparently one night each month, in neighborhoods all around, Japanese residents set out used furnitures, TVs, stereos and the like to be collected by garbagemen (so they believed) while the real collectors were…eager … Read more

Member of the Club

Last week I put on my favorite Etienne Aigner heels and went out clubbing–that is, to the Minneapolis Woman’s Club. Housed in a handsome old red brick building near Loring Park at the edge of downtown, the club is one of my current home city’s most celebrated venues for weddings and concerts. I’m not a … Read more

Shimura Style: a fashion critique

So far, this spring has been a plodding one. I’ve been working so hard on the next Rei book for that I’m feeling a bit fuzzy and plan a shopping break tomorrow with my mother. Still, my thoughts aren’t far from Rei, who’s also experiencing the Ides of March, but in Tokyo. How I  wish … Read more

The Tohoku Tsunami, One Year Later

Sunday, March 11 marks the first anniversary of the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that killed over 20,000 residents of Japan’s Tohoku coast last year. Small cities and towns that few outside of Japan had ever heard of were suddenly world news. Tsunami waves, which at some points may have been 50 feet high, swept six … Read more