Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dragon Beer and Banana Champagne

This was my local liquor store in Shizuoka. I was charmed by the crumpled Bud can sign, but Budweiser cost more than it was worth due to the import costs and currency exchange. I tried all the Japanese beers, and my favorite soon became Kirin Original. Good wine was beyond my budget, but drinkable French reds could be found on the back shelves. In the 1990's the popular drinks were icky-sweet wine coolers, and weird combinations that mixed champagne with flavors like melon or banana. I tried banana champagne. Once. I decided Banana Champagne would be a good alias for a Japanese character in a novel, but I did not end up using it in American Fuji.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

And the Winner Is . . .

Today is the anniversary of this blog. When I started blogging, my goal was to get hits from every state in the U. S. within a year. Well, I didn't quite reach that goal--South Dakota was the only hold out. (Why, South Dakota, why? Was it something I said?) What I didn't expect was to get hits from fifty-nine countries and well over three thousand visits. According to Google Analytics, this blog has trounced its benchmark!

To celebrate, I held a drawing for a signed copy of American Fuji. I used a randomizer program to assign numbers to everyone who emailed me. This morning, I randomized again to pick one. The lucky number was 33, and a copy of American Fuji is on its way to Jennifer in Michigan. Congratulations, Jennifer! I hope you enjoy the book.

Thank you all for stopping by and making this blog a success.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Live in Seattle

I'm blogging live at Seatac Airport before my flight is called. I stopped in at the airport Borders Book Store and saw copies of American Fuji on the shelf. So, that called for an unplanned signing! I autographed about 20 copies. I don't often get to the West Coast, so if you want signed copies of American Fuji, call the Borders at Seatac (206-444-4414)--you don't have to go through airport security; they'll get the book out to you. Time to shut down my computer and get in the boarding line. Beautiful view of the mountains on my way out, "looking east, heading home."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Off to Seattle

I'll be in Alex Thorne's home town this week--a family visit, but I hope to see the woodblock print exhibit while I'm there. When I return, I'll hold the drawing for the lucky winner of a signed copy of American Fuji. So, get your entries in this week! See the May 15 blog post for details.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pink Peonies for Gaby

Here are pink peonies from my garden this week in honor of the ones Alex sent to Gaby for putting up with him as her o-nimotsu (luggage, or obligation guest).

Just because Japanese take obligations seriously doesn't mean they enjoy them any more than Americans do. What Americans often don't realize is how much help they need from Japanese people to negotiate Japan, and the extent of time so many sacrifice to assist guests in their country.

Enter to win a signed copy of American Fuji in the June Giveaway! See May 15 post for details.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Favorite Fan

In American Fuji, Gaby Stanton carried a fan in her purse all the time. The purple one she used at the race track (Chapter 21) was a temple souvenir, a fan I also owned but which has since disappeared. I still have my favorite fan (pictured) which is made of sandalwood. This was a gift from a good friend who also taught me how to wear a thin hand towel discreetly around my neck in sweltering Japanese summers ( p.229).

Enter to win a signed copy of American Fuji in the June Giveaway! See May 15 post for details.