Summery miso grilling sauce, a garden grown from 3,000-year-old lotus seeds, and what souvenirs NOT to buy in July and August

Here are the features that Japanagram subscribers have been reading this month!

Author Jonelle Patrick in cat face mask

Hello, my friend. It’s me again, Jonelle.

I hope it’s cheerier where you are, but it seems like nearly all my favorite things to look forward to during the carefree days of summer aren’t really happening this year. So, this month, let’s enjoy a different kind of summer delight: stuff we’re NOT missing! From divine flowers that everyone thought were extinct, to seasonal souvenirs you can be happy you didn’t buy, here are the features from the July Japanagram

But before we get to the July features, I’ve got some exciting book news!

Cover of The Last Tea Bowl Thief by Jonelle Patrick
Here’s a sneak peek at the cover of my new book!

The Last Tea Bowl Thief, will be published on October 20, 2020! It’s a standalone mystery—not part of the Yumi and Kenji series—with all-new characters who I hope you’ll come to love just as much. It’s not yet available for pre-order, but once it is, I’m going to be giving away copies, so stay tuned!

Now, on to the links to July 2020 Japanagram newsletter features:

Souvenirs NOT to buy in July

O-bon lantern for sale in Inari-cho

The ultimate souvenir forever reminds you of the joys of being in Japan, in the season you were there to enjoy. Which is why you might be tempted to bring home one of these lovely handpainted flower lamps that are only sold during July and August…read more

This month’s book review: Shinjū 

Cover of Shinju by Laura Joh Rowland

As the shōgun’s personal investigator, Sano Ichirō is assigned to look into crimes too delicate to entrust to the regular police. He not only has to use his wits to figure out whodunnit, he has to do it while navigating the devilishly tricky layers of privilege and obligation that exist to protect the powerful…read more

We journey to a vast and serene lotus garden frown from 3,000-year-old seeds

Lotus blooming at Gyoda Ancient Lotus park Gyoda Hasuen

Since time immemorial, these ancient symbols of “pure beauty that flowers from the muckiest mud” have uplifted the human spirit, and even in these grim times, isn’t it great that we can still wander beneath their green parasols and marvel as their pink perfection unfurls?…read more

Japanese Home Cooking recipe: Miso Grilling Sauce

Grilled eggplant with miso sauce Nasu dengaku

As the warm June rains arrive with the monsoon, this chicken salad is the perfect fresh and summery meal. It’s satisfying all by itself, or paired with rice and grilled meat for a heartier supperread more

Why did NHK try to Japansplain the global anti-racism protests with this excruciatingly embarrassing video?

Screen shot from NHK video explaining protests about racism

You don’t have to understand Japanese to instantly grasp that this video produced and aired by NHK (the Japanese equivalent of the BBC) is exactly how NOT to explain why anti-racism protests have exploded across America and the world…read more


🌻Trying to make this wild ride through the Wonka tunnel a little more bearable, this month we’re making a cool Japanese dessert, visiting an amazing waterfall you can enjoy without being there, and delving into how the Japanese have perfected the experience of eating, singing and traveling alone. If you’re not a subscriber, you can’t read them until the end of the month, but it’s easy to join and get full access now for FREE! Click on the link at the end of each description or scroll down to the Get Japanagram button.

And here’s another reason you might want to sign up now:

You can’t buy this book…but you can get it for FREE

Author Jonelle Patrick with It Was You Only In Tokyo Short

On September 1st, I’m giving away ten signed paperback copies of It Was You, an all-new, not-for-sale-anywhere Yumi & Kenji short! All Japanagram subscribers will be entered to win, and will also get a link to download the ebook for free. Here’s a taste of what’s inside...(To read more, click here)

Here’s a look at the rest of the August features:

Let’s visit the most refreshing waterfall in the world

Shiraito-no-taki waterfall in Japan

Just looking at pictures of this astonishing waterfall is enough to beat the summer heat, but being surrounded by its 180° music is one of life’s truly sublime moments. Come with me now, and experience it for yourself!…(To read more, click here to get Japanagram)

“Honorably alone”: How Japan has perfected the art of eating, singing, and traveling solo

O-hitori-sama dining at ramen restaurant

At some point, we’ve all had the awkward experience of dining alone at a restaurant— the mingey table next to the wait station, the studious attention to an open book so people don’t think we got stood up. It used to be like that in Japan too, but…(To read more, click here to get Japanagram)

Japanese Home Cooking recipe: Okinawan Brown Sugar Dessert Sauce

Vanilla ice cream with kuromitsu and kinako

Dessert is the hardest thing to decide on for a Japanese meal, which is why I’m delighted to show you how to make Okinawan Brown Sugar Sauce—a very Japanese delight that can top anything from ice cream to…(To get the recipe, click here to get Japanagram)

Book Reviews & Giveaway: Claws of the Cat and CLIMB   by Susan Spann

Covers of CLIMB and Claws of the Cat books by Susan Spann

This month I’m giving away books to TWO lucky winners! Claws of the Cat is the first mystery in Susan Spann’s delightful series featuring Jesuit priest Father Mateo, and Hiro Hattori, the shinobi who’s been ordered to protect him. And CLIMB is her brand new memoir, a wry and moving account of her quest to…read more and enter to win

Get delightful features like these every month and be entered to win the July book giveaway when you sign up for

(And, of course, it’s free.)

You can easily unsubscribe at any time, of course, using the link at the foot of every newsletter. And, just so you know, I hate spam too, so I’ll never share or sell your info.

Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, the monthly Japanagram newsletter, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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