Monthly Archives: August 2012

link round up! and KENSHIN!

it’s link round up time as i play catch up on general life stuff while waiting on edits, which should hit my inbox by the end of the week.

so some reading (how come it’s taken me this long to discover the monstrumologist series by rick yancey? it’s bloody fantastic!), setting up posts, responding to interviews for future dates. um, not much cleaning. at all. we are neat people, but even i’m surprised how quickly we’ve gotten used to living in a constant state of disarray.

and school’s back on in a week. i’m excited because it means a return to a normal work day. when your kids are going to bed at about the same time your husband wakes up to go to work, the hours just feel off…

ya writer john hansen featured me on his blog, incessant droning of a bored author. read it here. thanks so much for hosting me, john!

i previewed DUALED for fellow lucky and YA author lenore appelhans (LEVEL TWO, simon & schuster, jan 2013) over at her blog, presenting lenore. thank you so much for featuring me, lenore!

fellow lucky and YA author miriam forster (CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS, harperteen, feb 2013) read an ARC of DUALED when her bookstore received a copy. she wrote up a blog post about the importance of world building for her blog, dancing with dragons is hard on your shoes. i was really blown away when she referred to DUALED in her write up. thanks so much, miriam!

so. i made the decision a while ago to not link to reviews here on the blog. (editing to add that fellow canadian, author, and AWer peggy blair (THE BEGGAR’S OPERA, penguin, february 2012) recommends a tab linking to good reviews, which is a great idea. thanks peggy!) there’s going to be lots, good and bad. why i’m not going to link to bad ones is kind of self-explanatory; going on and on about good ones will get very tiresome, very fast. but i might make some exceptions here and there. like this one from kenny brechner, book buyer and store manager for indie DDG books in maine. it’s my first review outside of the blogosphere, and it very much made my day. thank you so much, kenny! come february, i’ll also be doing an interview with kenny for his column, which i’m very excited about.

also, you’ve probably caught me bemoaning the fact that we missed the premiere of the kenshin live-action movie by a matter of days when we were in japan. ads were everywhere. trailers were playing on a loop in every record and bookstore. it was torture. there’s talk of an international release. someone, please make this happen! in the meantime, here are the trailers, subbed in english.

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food. tokyo. food. part 2

we’re flying home from japan tomorrow! so while i’m looking forward to getting back for a number of reasons–seeing our cats again, hopping on the treadmill for some much needed exercise and off-loading of carbs, starting on revisions for DIVIDED–i will miss the food here so damn much.

here’s the rest of my tokyo food pics. warning, this post is super pic heavy! and part one is here, if you haven’t seen those. hope you guys enjoy!

also, i have so many more manga pics taken on visits to tokyo bookstores that i’m thinking of compiling them into another post down the road. click here for part one in the meantime.

grilled pork with negi over rice. side of miso.

pork breakfast set.

beef bowl with a side of miso. we’ve long lost track how many of these sets we’ve eaten!

the yoshinoya menu. i LOVE this menu. it’s like comfort reading.

the assortment of optional toppings for your beef bowls! the covered jar holds fresh ginger. this is at matsuya, another breakfast chain.

side menu at a local pie chain called mammies!

pie selection in the front cooler.

apple pie and chocolate cake. for breakfast, but only once.

this is a milk bar on a train platform inside akihabara station. you order your preferred milk and flavour and chug it right there!

bread in a can from the vending machine!

the middle two are chilled and sweetened azuki drinks. in the cooler months, they are sold hot, and the labels are red instead of blue.

pork katsu!

limited edition salted watermelon flavoured pepsi. it was blander than i thought it would be, like a diluted melon soda.

came across the best dessert place in ameyoko in ueno. this is sweetened azuki paste and mochi.

konnyake with arrowroot powder and brown sugar syrup.

matcha kakigoori with mochi on top of sweetened azuki beans.

salmon onigiri.

no clue what this onigiri is called, but it was veggie based–seaweed and sesame seeds.

plain rice onigiri with sesame seeds.

soda shrink wrapped with an anime-inspired label. really common here, even for milk and pastries.

not soba or ramen, but a noodle that was a hybrid of the two. came with side of beef stew.

pork soba.

panda cakes!

black bean sesame pastries. deep fried, so they’re more like timbits than buns.

cream cheese and blueberry danishes.

curry doughnuts.

fried potato and wiener pizzas.

chorizo sausages with salsa.

edamame sorbet. had to try this as soon as we saw it, and the taste was spot on! kind of strange at first, but really good!

tea and cream cheese flavoured ice creams!

a trio of sikuwasa (a citrus of some sort), red bean, and edamame flavours.

not sure what these are, but so pretty!

assorted bentos available for takeout. basement floors of fancy department stores sell the most amazing selection of gourmet groceries and take out foods.

a vendor selling hot takeout items.

meat on a stick!

filled buns, probably a with a sweet bean paste.

mochi in syrup on sticks!

assorted dumplings and rice balls.

even the picnic-style takeout containers are packaged with so much attention to detail!

fried whole fish.

lots of meats on sticks.

huge selection of onigiri.

more takeout bentos.

whole fish. i guess they’re meant to eat just like that? not sure…

darjeeling tea and coffee flavoured marshmallows.

wontons from a chinese restaurant in tokyo.

celery ramen!

this was an item we ordered by just pointing at the menu. i never figured out what the white chunks were, but prob seafood. the rest was celery and herbs in broth.

soft-boiled eggs sold individually as snacks at the local lawson’s (convenience store).

rolls of assorted maki.

blueberry flavoured milk!

assorted croquettes sold as street food. this place has line ups all day long…

…this croquette was filled with some kind of seafood paste as filling.

matcha kakigoori with an azuki bean base.

pork cutlet with curry rice.

zaru soba. my go-to noodle because of it’s low-or-no-wheat content.

pork tonkatsu sandwich bento. with inari, oshinko rolls, pickled vegetables as sides.

these fish heads were huge! about the size of a dinner plate!

chicken pho–vietnamese dish done japanese style.

spicy pho.

sesame pho.

the salad rolls are served with a clear, spicy sauce and not the regular peanut sauce we get back home.

additional goodies to add to your pho! sadly, we don’t get the jar of kakiage (fried tempura bits) at pho restaurants back home.

turtle buns!

assorted breakfast buns.

bananas are really popular in japan–covered in chocolate, as a fabric print, and in drink form. this was like drinking liquid banana custard.

warabi-mochi from the local convenience store, complete with brown sugar syrup and arrowroot powder for toppings and a mini skewer for eating!

green tea warabi-mochi.

the selection of rice crackers here is amazing.

a local shop has this little area off to the side where someone makes fresh rice crackers every day.

watermelon kakigoori!

ichigo and creme fraiche crepe.

peaches are one of the pricier fruits here, but i heard they were totally worth it.

udon with soft-boiled egg, tororo, and tempura.

kaiten sushi!

not sure what kind of raw fish this is. ginger on top.

kappa maki.

this fish was lightly seared with a blow torch.

more raw fish.

tamago nigiri.

green onion shoots. not sure what the red dab was, but i think that’s bonito flakes sprinkled on top.

chutoro negiri.

negi toro maki.

ebi avocado temaki.

tobiko maki.

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eating all the food here in tokyo!

my lovely, awesome, and super talented friend and fellow YA writer ellen oh (PROPHECY) asked if i’d be up for putting together a post consisting of food pics. i’ve been tweeting them off and on (#tokyofoodpics on twitter), but those only skim the surface. because the thing is, we’ve been eating A LOT ever since we arrived here in tokyo. and apart from manga and books (see my previous camera-happy post here), i love taking pics of food most of all.

zaru soba with a side of tororo (a kind of grated yam).

kitsune udon with a side of curry rice.

melon soda at kfc. the flavour is as popular as cola back home!

salted and spicy chicken yakitori.

salmon onigiri.

ramune (soda) flavoured alcohol!

tamago maki.

smooth chocolate (all melty from all the heat) infused with individual salt crystals…

…the pocky on the left is milk chocolate salty! really good, too.

hot matcha and sweet azuki beans with fresh mochi.

huge selection of onigiri for take-out from a shop at the ueno train station!

an assorted bento for lunch!

panda buns!

chilled matcha latte from the vending machine.

hot ramen from the vending machine. comes complete with plastic fork!

best guess to the kit kat flavour? black molasses.

choice of tempura toppings for udon noodles.

curry rice with a soft-boiled egg.

umeboshi flavoured potato chips!

beef bowl with grilled tofu. this is available as fast food in japan.

royal milk tea is delicious, and a favourite from the vending machine. it’s what i miss most about no longer eating dairy.

udon noodles are eaten for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner here.

a beef and salmon lunch set. miso and coleslaw sides.

cold soba noodles, done double decker style. YES I ATE IT ALL.

oden (stew) from the vending machine.

chicken karaage with grated radish and mayo on the side.

fried meats of all kinds! snacks on sticks make up so much of the street and festival food here.

chilled and bottled iced coffee at the continental breakfast buffet at the hotel.

beef and salmon breakfast set. with miso and pickle sides.

belgian style waffles are popular here! i miss the iced green tea ones they had last time, though…

…iced chocolate belgian style waffles…

…some of the flavours: chocolate, honey apple, maple, cookies and cream, plain.

hamburg steak with omelette rice.

take out meals available at the 7-11. LOVE the 7-11s here…

…selection of onigiri at the local 7-11…

…more to-go meals at 7-11.

cold soba salad.

both salty and sweet (caramel) popcorn are available at the movie theatre. melon fountain soda, too…

…you can also eat a pork rib sandwich while watching a movie…

…or even a spicy tomato curry hot dog!

fried savoury rice snacks on a stick!

this shop specializes in boxed confectionaries for gift-giving. omiyage (souvenirs) are a big deal here…

…but we ate these souvenir buns ourselves 🙂 best filled buns ever…

…azuki and lotus seed bun fillings.

salt and lychee drink.

grilled vegetable skewers.

cold tanuki soba.

i need to try the yellow watermelon before going home!

fried pork gyoza.

takoyaki flavoured crackers!

vegetable soba. there were fiddleheads in there, first time i’ve ever had them.

grilled pork on rice.

japanese bakeries are really wonderful. the buns on the top left are sakura buns and swirled with pink colouring.

inari with assorted fillings.

raspberry cream kakigoori (shaved ice).

eating okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) at the festival.

sushi, kaiten style. i wish we had more conveyor belt sushi places back home!

taiyaki! check out the cool pans…

…almost too cute to eat. ALMOST…

…the best taiyuki we’ve ever had was in sendai. azuki filling.

tokyo soup stock is this trendy chain restaurant that would fit in perfectly in vancouver.

sake in juice box form!

ingredients for frying our own okonomiyaki at our table grill.

frying up some yakisoba.

konpeito. eating this sugar candy makes me think of the anime stellvia each and every time.

dried kiwi slices from a street vendor in ameyoko.

assorted sausages served on sticks and piled into cups for carrying around during a festival.

more street food. grilled squid, assorted meats.

we’re pretty sure this is konnyaku, a flavourless jelly. here it’s been flavoured with a savoury sauce.

umeboshi onigiri!

chicken sashimi. yes, it’s possible…

platter of marinated meat for yakiniku, which is similar to korean barbecue.

konnyaku squares dusted with kinako (soybean) and green tea powders…


fried mochi on sticks. they tasted like fresh chinese donuts.

iced bananas!

beef bowl with raw egg.

eggplant nigiri topped with bonito flakes.

pork ramen with a soft-boiled egg.

whole grilled fish on a stick!

cold soba ready to be dipped.

assorted yakitori.

azuki and mochi balls on agar cubes to be topped with brown sugar syrup.

sliced mochi topped with kinako and brown sugar syrup.

pork soumen with egg.

silken tofu prepared with cream and sake.

a take-out bento of kalbi beef on rice for lunch on the bullet train.

soba set for breakfast.

green tea pastries.

azuki bean buns.

melon buns! these always make me think of the anime yakitate japan!

fruit and cream sandwiches.

chicken curry buns.

a platter of vegetables ready for us to grill.

skewers of fruit are another popular street food.

novelty ramune flavours: these are squid and kimchee…

…wasabi and tako flavours…

…and curry!

negitoro maki. the biggest difference (apart from freshness) is how less dense the fish seems to be here.

ebi and broccoli sandwich from the bakery!

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bookstores in japan, japanese editions of popular YA titles, and manga!

so i’m here on vacation in japan, and i’d forgotten how absolutely amazing the bookstores are in tokyo. the mass amounts of what they have in stock, the sheer number of volumes and editions, the lovely covers and artwork…give me some take out sushi and bottles of royal milk tea from the vending machine and i could happily stay in one all day.

apart from food, i’m finding myself taking tons of pictures of books here. manga, in particular; never mind that i’ve long forgotten my hiragana and katakana–the artwork alone is awesome. for a while, i read nothing but manga, to the point where i found myself running out of translated manga to read. i miss that time, and seeing so much of it all over the place here makes me want to try harder to find time for it again. also, i took lots of pics of what japanese editions i could find of popular YA books back home!

needless to say, this post is SUPER pic heavy! most of them were taken at maruzen, yurindo, and book-off stores in tokyo and sendai.

japanese editions of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy by suzanne collins.

j.k. rowling’s HARRY POTTER series. i don’t know why all the different covers. the chess inspired ones are very TWILIGHT-esque.

really excited to see one of my favourite series, CHAOS WALKING by patrick ness, on the shelf!

the INHERITANCE series by christopher paolini.

i’m guessing this is a children’s novel based on the pixar movie BRAVE.

lots of studio ghibli art books!

hayao miyazaki adapted MAJO NO TAKKYUBIN by eiko kadono into his film KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE. being big fans of miyazaki, we picked up the novel for a great souvenir.

FROM UP ON POPPY HILL is studio ghibli’s latest film, and it’s based on the comic of the same name, written by tetsuro sayama and drawn by chizuru takahashi. already a hit here in japan, it comes to theatres in north america in march, 2013!

39 CLUES! this is more middle grade than YA.

THE PRINCESS DIARIES by meg cabot, GOSSIP GIRL by cecily von zeigesar, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS by sara shepard.

found these really interesting editions of stephenie meyer’s TWILIGHT series. it’s been broken down into 13 novels; pictured here are books 1 and 13. cool how bella’s eyes change colour from one to the other.


the newest volumes are kept at the end of the aisles, or along the front.

before manga is collected into volumes, they’re released weekly or monthly in magazines.

KODANSHA BOXED is a new (or relatively new) line of boxed manga!

boys love manga, or yaoi.

BAKUMAN, NARUTO, and KENSHIN are some of the series we’ve collected, or are still collecting, back home.

vol. 12 of HIKARU NO GO. i haven’t read the manga, but the anime is awesome!

NANA’s up to vol. 21 over here! and over at a book-off in tokyo, i found a fan book of the series which has been labelled vol. 7.8. here are some pics of the artwork inside!

i’ve always loved the artwork of VAMPIRE KNIGHT (up to vol. 16 here), and here’s some pics of the artwork inside the fan book! this was 105 yen from book-off–so about $1.25 with the exchange rate.

and this is the infamous BOKU WA IMOUTO NI KOI WO SURU, which lightly translates into “i love my little sister”. it’s a manga about incest between twins and was a bestseller here in japan. when cuddlebuggery’s kat kennedy referenced twincest in a blurb about DUALED, this manga was the first thing that came to mind!

i’ve been trying to find vols. 9 and 10 of IMMORTAL RAIN (published in japan as METEOR METHUSELAH) by kaori ozaki. now that tokyopop’s US operations have shut down and it’s not likely i’ll be able to finish collecting the series in english, i thought the original japanese editions would be cool to have. no luck so far, but i did buy this related MM work. also, the hubs finally found kaoru mori’s EMMA vol. 5 to fill in for the now-out-print english edition!

in all honesty, i don’t think i’ll have the time or dedication to learn enough japanese to read any manga in its original format. but i do think i’ll be looking into picking up some new translated series back when i get home! hope you guys all enjoyed the pics!

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recharging, holidays, and a link round up!

i’m copying and pasting one of my tweets from yesterday:

Going to stare at a blank page while sitting on the deck in the sun. Am bringing peanut butter and spoon with me. #brainfood

and then this one shortly after:

I started the day thinking I needed to work on a new book, but now I’m tweeting about Pinkberry and eating PB from the jar with a spoon.

so it’s pretty safe to say the creative gears aren’t exactly turning right now. and as important as reading time is, i’m feeling a bit sluggish after a couple of weeks of doing nothing but working through my TBR pile. but holidays are just around the corner, so i’m hoping the restlessness will go away and the time will be great for recharging. not only for the revisions for DIVIDED that will be waiting for me when i get back, but maybe a new idea will spark while i’m away from the norm.

until then, some links! i blogged about books i wish i’d written over on the lucky 13s last week. as well, i’m now taking part in best book ever, a weekly feature on short and sweet reviews where authors, bloggers, and book lovers get together and post what they choose to be the best book according to that week’s topic. last week was series; this week is book-to-movie adaptation. also, i’m this week’s author on writer odyssey wednesday over on chasing the crazies. thanks so much to amy for hosting me!

the month of august is an exciting time for fans of dystopian ya! both presenting lenore and reader of fictions are running dystopian august, an event in which each blog features upcoming dystopian novels, reviews, interviews, and giveaways! i’m incredibly excited and flattered that DUALED will appear on both sometime during dystopian august! much thanks to lenore and christina!

and holidays! it’s supposed to be sweltering in japan right now. i can’t believe how much i’ve missed the joy of finding vending machines on every corner selling drinks for the equivalent of a loonie. in the spring, i went for hot canned coffee or heated red bean drinks; this time, it’s going to be chilled green tea.

random: listening to b.o.b feat taylor swift both of us; about to start reading REBEL HEART by moira young, the only thing i’m looking forward to during a ten hour flight. (it’s not out in north america until october, but this means you still have time to read book 1 in the dust lands series, BLOOD RED ROAD); watching olympics. nothing but olympics. getting my fill while i can, since i don’t know if i’ll be able to stream this overseas.

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