Summer Staff Picks Two - We're Turning Japanese!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Putumayo Kids Presents Asian Dreamland: World music snobs love to hate on Putumayo in the same way that foodies love to hate on Rachel Ray. There are some surface similarities - both produce copious quantities of cheerfully repetitive product, heavy on comfortable favorites that require little heavy lifting by the consumer. But I openly admit to enjoying Putumayo's CD's precisely because they don't require heavy lifting. I can certainly spend hours diving into iTune's World Music library and discovering obscure artists. But certain types of music (especially Asian music) are so difficult to access by the average Western listener that it helps to have Putumayo do the work for you, by presenting ten or fifteen interesting examples of the given musical theme. Asiam Dreamland is in heavy rotation in our house as soothing naptime music, but it would be just as suitable for big people to relax to.

Sujata Massey Girl in a Box: This is the 9th book in Sujata Massey's fabulous series about young Japanese-American antiques dealer turned amateur detective Rei Shimura. Each book in the series is wonderful, and if you're new to the series I would recommend starting with the first book, The Salaryman's Wife. Its not essential to read the series in order, but it will help you keep the secondary characters and their roles in Rei's life straight. While Rei is American-born, each book takes place in Japan. You will learn a great deal about Japanese culture and society, and enjoy quick-moving action and suspense at the same time.

Kirin Ichiban lager: One of my favorites. A light, bright lager that isn't too hoppy or carbonated. In my opinion, one of the most refreshing beers for summertime or along with spicy food. I always drink Kirin with sushi because it doesn't overpower the delicate flavors of the food, and doesn't sit heavily in my stomach.

Posted by oballard at 4:26 PM  

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