Welcome to The Daydreamer Detective Braves the Winter blog tour!
I am delighted to welcome back SJ Pajonas to Have Books, this time talking about Christmas in Japan (yes we know it’s only July!). This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 11th to 15th July, you can view the complete tour schedule here. There’s a tour wide giveaway during this tour, the giveaway can be found at the bottom of this post.
Firstly over to SJ…..
Christmas In Japan
There’s nothing like researching Christmas in Japan in the middle of summer! Though Christmas is a Christian holiday, and Japan’s Christian population is only one to two million people (about 1% of the Japanese population), it’s still a fairly popular holiday. For weeks coming up to Christmas, Tokyo and other big cities really bring out the dazzle! Ginza, a popular high-end shopping district in Tokyo, is usually decorated with bright Christmas lights and displays. Glittering trees line the streets and famous actors and musicians are called upon for tree lighting ceremonies in popular areas of town. There’s no mistaking the economic wonderland of Christmas in Japan, much like Christmas in the United States. People shop for bargains and department stores offer special mystery bags you can buy to give to your loved ones.
Since this holiday is not a religious holiday in Japan, it’s not a national holiday. No one gets it off of work. If you want to celebrate Christmas, you must do it on your own time. Christmas is mostly about spreading love and good cheer, so the holiday is geared towards lovers or children. Christmas Eve is considered a romantic holiday, and restaurants for a cozy dinner on this special evening are usually booked months in advance. Presents are usually exchanged with a stroll down a Christmas lighted street. How romantic!
Christmas Day itself will be a bit strange to most people! The day is for giving gifts to children, eating fried chicken (no joke), and strawberry cake. Kentucky Fried Chicken, a chain restaurant from the United States, has a wildly popular Christmas business in Japan. People will line up to get their bucket of fried chicken on this day and social media is often filled with photos of people eating fried chicken on Christmas! The traditional cake that’s eaten on this day is a layered vanilla sponge cake with white frosting and strawberries, usually both inside and on top. Bakeries battle it out for the best Christmas cake, but you can pick yours up from a 7-Eleven if you like.
When Christmas is over, the lights come down, and Japan moves on fairly quickly. While we in America may keep our lights and decorations up for a week or two more, Japan instead turns towards its most austere holiday, New Year’s Day, which has a richer, more diverse set of traditions to celebrate and enjoy. If you’re interested in learning more about New Year’s in Japan, please visit my blog
Excerpt from The Daydreamer Detective Braves the Winter
“If only I could do for others what I do for you, as a real job.” I sat back in my chair and stared at the woman making coffee behind the counter. “I don’t think I have it in me to be a nurse, nor do I have the qualifications to work in a nursing home, but there has to be something else.”
Murata hummed, picking at the napkin on the table. “You know what’s missing in Chikata? A gathering place for us older folks. It used to be that the community center was that for us.”
“Right,” I said, perking up. “You were telling me that last week.”
“What about a central place where people can do crafts?”
“Maybe they could do crafts, or sit and talk, or have tea. They could even have family gatherings there some days.”
“Yes, yes,” Murata said, nodding. “If you could figure out how to sell discounted meals there, too, that would be ideal.”
I slipped away into a daydream of this place. Several low tables and easy seating, crafts on designated days, birthday parties, and grandkids coming to visit, hot tea and discounted bento boxes. A place like this, central and catering to anyone over sixty-five, would be hopping with people. What if it also sold specialty items to help cover the rent?
“Mei-chan?” Murata sat forward, trying to get my attention. “Your smile is as wide as the ocean.” She laughed. “What are you thinking about?”
“I’m thinking about making dreams into reality.” I picked up our empty cups and brought them to the counter. “Let’s brainstorm some more on this on the way home. I just had a fantastic idea, and it’s going to involve a lot of planning.”
“Planning, young lady, is what I do best.” She snapped her hat on her head. “Let’s go.”
About the series
December has set in and just when the rural town of Chikata is recovering from one murder, Mei and her new boyfriend, Yasahiro, find their friend, Etsuko, dead in her apartment. Etsuko was sweet and talented, and now everyone suspects her longtime boyfriend killed her. Mei doesn’t believe it, though, and she vows to help solve the crime.
But Mei has more to think about than murder. With the barn gone and their vegetable stores destroyed, she and her mother are down to their last canned goods and no money for heat. Mei’s mom is fortunate to find work, but Mei must fend for herself, get a job, and keep their financial situation a secret from Yasahiro. In pursuit of paying work, she stumbles onto a new witness to the crime, and before long, the dead woman’s secret life unravels before everyone’s eyes. Half-starving and out of her element, Mei is on thin ice, and it’s going to take a whole lot of ingenuity and quick thinking to solve the crime before the killer gets to her as well.
Luck? Forget it. Mei Yamagawa is fresh out of it. She’s just been downsized from her 3rd job in five years and her bank account is dry. Now, to keep her head above water, she must leave Tokyo and move back to her rural Japanese hometown. And there’s nothing worse than having to face your old rivals and ex-boyfriends as a failure while starting life over as a farm girl.
But when her best friend’s father is murdered, and her best friend is named the main suspect, Mei turns her daydreaming ways towards solving the crime. Between dates disguised as lunches with the town’s hottest bachelor chef, searching for clues, and harvesting sweet potatoes, Mei has a lot of non-paying work cut out for her.
Will she catch the killer before her bad luck turns worse? Or will she fry in the fire with the rest of her dreams of success?
About the Author:
Stephanie (S. J.) is a writer, knitter, amateur astrologer, Capricorn, and Japanophile. She loves foxes, owls, sushi, yoga pants, Evernote, and black tea. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing or spending time outside, unless it’s winter. She hates winter. Someday she’ll own a house in both hemispheres so she can avoid the season entirely. She’s a mom to two great kids and lives with her husband and family outside NYC. They have no pets. Yet. When it comes to her work, expect the unexpected. She doesn’t write anything typical. Find her online at http://www.spajonas.com.
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of The Daydreamer Detective Braves the Winter. One winner will win a bundle of S. J. Pajonas ebooks. Including: Removed, Revealed, Washing Statue Wanderlust, and The Daydreamer Detective.
For a chance to win, enter the Rafflecopter