|At 15, the cartoonist-author traveled solo to Japan to stay with her grandparents who live in Kashiwa, a small city outside of Tokyo, to rediscover her roots. She was born in 1997 in Japan and lived there until 2003, when her American father and Japanese mother moved the family to the U.S. She explores Japan with her Baba (grandmother), but also ventures out alone. She visits the trendy Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo, where she enjoys a Japanese crepe. She rides the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto to see the ancient Zen Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kinkaku-Ji. Later, her family joins her and they travel to Tsukiji for sushi “worth waking up at 5 a.m.” for and to Shibuya to see the statue of the legendary dog, Hachiko. She is a smart observer. The book is a combination of expressive comics, illustrations, photos, and thoughtful and humorous prose. The title refers to her “somewhat feeling half at home in both Japan and America.” mjw|
|Title: Halfway Home: Drawing My Way Through Japan
Author: Christine Mari Inzer
Illustrator: Christine Mari Inzer
Publisher: Naruhodo Press
Original Language: English
Paperback pages: 102
Age range: 12 up
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fiction
Book setting: Japan
Author’s ethnicity: Japanese-American, born in Tokyo
Author’s residence: Connecticut, U.S.
Illustrator’s ethnicity: Japanese-American, born in Tokyo
Illustrator’s residence: Connecticut, U.S.
Awards: 2015 Benjamin Franklin Silver Award – Best New Voice: Children’s and YA (Independent Book Publishers Association)
Subjects: Coming of age, Cultural exploration, Grandparents, Identity, Memoir, Mixed-race issues, Travelogue