Cozy Spotlight on Kaerou by B. Jeanne Shibahara

In Japan…everywhere…red strings tie all people we meet together. Some strings are weak. Some have tangles. Some strong.
Meryl—Vietnam War widow—misses her grown son, feels left out after her father’s recent marriage. A WWII Japanese flag falls into her hands. The gentle push of a love-struck professor starts her adventure—take the flag home. From the neon of Osaka, to the ancient capital Nara, to the forests of Akita, the trail follows British and US expats, a newspaper reporter, factory manager, ikebana teacher, a Matagi hunter and winds through Japanese culture, past and present. A story of shared humanity and love“in the simplest things.

Available on Amazon.

Elliot always ordered for the teachers at the robatayaki. The Japanese words he knew were those for pleasurable sustenance.

Tonight he began with teriyaki yellowtail and buttered grilled potato.

The teachers and Meryl joined him. After Meryl admired the flatfish chopstick rests and answered yes when Fiona asked if she thought the hijiki seaweed looked like shiny black worms, the Master’s sister brought a dish that Elliot hadn’t ordered.

“The Master is giving us this for free.” Jo put her hands together in the customary prayer. “Itadakimasu.”

“He is?” Meryl asked.

Fiona told her to just say itadakimasu—


And was impressed; it had taken her five days to try to say it.

Darryl said, “Say ookini.”

“That’s easy.” Meryl looked over to the Master. “Oh-key-knee.”

Puppet eyes glittered. Circle lips opened wide. Laughter exploded like balls of fireworks at a summer festival.

“A delectable delight,” Elliot said. “Grilled lotus root stuffed with ground pork. Your son’s favorite dish. Put a little of that mustard on it.”

“Byron’s favorite? No, Byron’s favorite is mypotato salad.”

“That was before he came to Japan.” But Fiona really had no idea. “Try the lotus root. It’s very nice.”

“I didn’t even know you could eat lotus root.”

Fiona gripped one of her chopsticks as if it were a dagger, stabbed a slice of lotus root, and waved it under Meryl’s nose. “Eat anything you like. Even live shrimp if you want. Called dancing shrimp.”

“Because their legs,” Darryl said, “wiggle as they go down.”

“That’s here?”

“Relax,” Elliot told Meryl. “That fish bait is at a sushi bar. We’re at a robatayaki. Take a whiff. Everything’s grilled. Goes well with the beer. There’s also chilled sake.”

Meryl said she didn’t drink alcoholic beverages.

“Whaaawt? Byron always does.” Fiona took great satisfaction at the surprise and uncertainty in Meryl’s eyes.

Elliot passed Meryl a cup of sake. “Your son’s favorite, nice and cold.”

“No, thank you. But I’d like some water, please.”

Fiona drank Meryl’s sake. “You crossed the ocean for water? Next thing you’ll want a cheeseburger.”

Elliot ordered shochu and water on ice for Meryl.

The best shochu came from the island of Kyushu. The shochu served at the robatayaki was distilled from the Satsumasweet potato and had little flavor when the Master mixed it with water and ice. It tasted how water from the best mountain spring in the world should taste. The teachers named it H2Sho. After a blissful night of indulgence, each of them had woken up as fresh as a daisy…H2Sho never leaves behind the reminder of a merrymaker’s guilt—the hangover.

Elliot’s crescent smile hid his motives. 

Author Bio

B. Jeanne Shibahara has spent most of her adult life in Japan. She married into a family of calligraphy, ikebana, and tea ceremony teachers, shamisen player, kimono fabric artist, business entrepreneur, and architect. Their traditional family home (tatami mats, shoji, moss garden) is in Nara City, an ancient capital of Japan.

7 thoughts on “Cozy Spotlight on Kaerou by B. Jeanne Shibahara

Add yours

  1. Thank you so much, Nina! 🙂 It IS a great presentation. Rosepoint P., thank you for loving Shinko Yamaguchi’s spectacular painting. So happy the excerpt brings back memories for you! Stefanie, thank you! I also hope you enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

Way Too Fantasy

Speculative fiction book reviews and more!

The Bookish Hooker

Bookish Reviews & Chats

lilian's blog

lifestyle and humanitarian stories? is that what you looking for? you are in the right place

Author Julie Seedorf

Author, Columnist, Dreamer

Let's talk Pop Culture!

A forum for discussing all things nerdy.


Book Blog

the bubbles inside my head

My bibliophilic journey and more.


Book blog and book love

Laurie Woodward

An Author Promoting Peace Creatively

The Reading Chemist

Out of the lab & into the books!

b u g ∙ b u g


Leave Me Alone I Am Reading and Reviewing

Look Below the Keys for Books Reviewed by a Readaholic

Books and Bindings

Books, reads, writings, reviews, nonsense, silliness, and everything in between.

Just Simply Me...

This gal's thoughts on all things entertainment mixed with the simple things in life.

Creating Worlds with Words

Writers endeavor to create a world that you lose yourself in.


For Booklovers.

Ambivert words

Middle Grade and Diverse Fantasy Reviews and Recs

Combing Through the Pages

of Books, Family, Fostering, and Faith

%d bloggers like this: