Friday, April 11, 2008


Good title? Yeah, I think so too. Here's the dope on the latest Girlfriends' treat:

What happens when a young woman, fresh from Japan and too independent for Japanese society, finds herself suddenly lost in translation in San Francisco as she searches for her American Dream and the perfect dessert?

Wendy Nelson Tokunaga answers this question and more in her poignant comic novel, MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT, where we meet thirty-year-old Midori Saito, whose dream seems about to come true. A strong independent streak has always made her feel like a stranger in a strange land in her native Japan, but now she’s embarking on a new life in San Francisco. She’s about to marry Kevin, the perfect American man—six feet tall, with curly hair the color of marmalade. Unlike a Japanese guy who’d demand she be a housewife, Kevin doesn’t mind if Midori follows her dream of becoming a master pastry chef. Her life is turning out as exquisitely as a Caramelized Apple Tart with Crème Fraiche, until Kevin dumps her at their engagement party in favor of his blond, ex-fiancée, whom Midori never even knew existed.

Now Midori is not only on her own—with just a smattering of fractured English in her repertoire—she’s entered the U.S. on a fiancée visa that will expire in sixty days. Unable to face the humiliation of telling her parents she’s been dumped, and not wanting to give up on her American dream, Midori realizes she’s “up the creek without a saddle.” Her only hope is new acquaintance Shinji, 30, who long ago escaped Japan after a family tragedy, is a successful San Francisco graphic artist and amateur moon gazer, and who lets her share his apartment as a platonic roommate.

Soon Midori finds herself working at an under-the-table hostess job at an unsavory Japanese karaoke bar, making (and eating) way too many desserts, meeting a charming and handsome chef with his own restaurant who may be too good to be true, and trying to uncover the secret behind a mysterious bar hostess who looks strangely familiar. But Midori’s willing to endure almost anything to hang on to her American dream, and she just might find that the love she’s been searching for far and wide is a whole lot closer than she thinks.

Here's what some have been saying about M BY M:

“Tokunaga depicts Midori's determination to create her own version of the American dream with exuberance [in this] delectably frothy debut.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Tokunaga suffuses the book with warmth and lightness. . .Just as the right dessert hits the spot, reading this delicious slice of escapism makes for a perfect afternoon. But instead of suffering a sugar crash afterward, you'll muse for days about the characters you've left behind and why they matter so much to you.”—San Francisco Chronicle
"A great little romp on both sides of the Pacific." —Asian Review of Books

"A delightful debut novel." —Tokyo Metropolis

“[Midori by Moonlight] draws upon vivid imagery when defining traits of Japanese culture and really hits the nail on the head when depicting some American attitudes toward others.... witty and charming."—Charleston Gazette
“A surprisingly pleasurable read.”—Daily Yomiuri

“Midori is endearing, feisty, and funny: the novel is a delight.” – Ellen Sussman, editor of Bad Girls and author of On a Night Like This

“A delightful fusion of East meeting West, as if Banana Yoshimoto and Meg Cabot got together to create a romantic comedy.” - Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Vertigo


Wendy Nelson Tokunaga was born and raised in San Francisco. She attended Lowell High School and San Francisco State University, and is now finishing up her MFA in Writing at University of San Francisco. Her short stories have appeared in The Abiko Literary Quarterly Review, The Plaza, and Yomimono among others.

She is the author of the self-published novel, No Kidding, which won an award in the Mainstream/Literary Fiction category of the Writer’s Digest Best Self-Published Book Awards in 2002, and MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT, published in September 2007 by St. Martin’s Griffin. MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT is a comic, cross-cultural novel, which tells the story of fresh-from-Japan Midori Saito, who finds herself lost in translation in San Francisco as she searches for her American Dream and the perfect dessert, and also is in a constant battle to improve her English and better learn her “idiotmatic” expressions.

Tokunaga lives by the ocean thirty miles south of San Francisco with her Osaka-born surfer-dude husband, Manabu Tokunaga and their Burmese cat named Meow. Drawing on her extensive experience in studying the Japanese language and culture; living, working and playing in Japan, and her cross-cultural marriage, she explores the theme of why some people feel the need to trade their native culture for a new one.

MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT is available at your favorite bookstore or online at Amazon , etc. It is also available in Japan. You can get more info and read an excerpt at:

Think I'll give it a go myself.

A bientot



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